Los Angeles. Home of the stars, fashionistas and thee place to be if you want to make it in life, apparently! Today I’m going to tell you all about the experience I had living in Los Angeles and some things that people didn’t tell me that I wish they had 🙂
Moving from a small town in rural Ireland to any city is a big deal never mind one that’s thousand’s of miles away. So you can imagine my family’s shock when I told them I was going to be studying Cultural Studies in Los Angeles! The summer before I left was the longest summer of my life! For once I couldn’t wait for September to come around 😀 I will never forget my excitement the day I flew out, it was a direct flight to LAX so was pretty long. The first thing I remember was the sun hitting my face the second I got off the plane, the heat felt amazing and the breeze smelled of the ocean , which definitely confirmed to me that I had in fact made it to the City of Angels 🙂
I couldn’t wait to get to the beach. The sun, the sand it was glorious and much better than any of the beaches we had back home. I fell in love! And from that day on it was very hard for me not to be at the beach every chance I got! Venice Beach is a must see and you never know what you will come across 🙂 The Pier at Santa Monica and the 3rd Street Promenade were places I had seen many times in Movies and TV, but it was SO much better in person! I remember standing at the top of the Prom by the water fountain and thinking ‘am I really here’! Seeing the lights on the Pier at night is amazing, and if possible I recommend you go and check them out you won’t be disappointed 🙂 Of course a visit to downtown LA is not complete unless you go to Hollywood. The Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater are a sight to see, but can be very busy and full of people trying to get you take pictures and go on tours, so if it’s an option try go at a time that is less busy because it will take away from the experience.
Once I’d done the major spots the touristy feel of being in LA wore off and the realization that I was here for the long haul set in. The biggest thing no one tells you is that although you may see what America is like from Movies and TV, you may share a language and a general understanding of how things work, doesn’t actually mean you will grasp how things are done. I thought moving would be easy on so many levels, but it was the hardest culture shock I’ve ever experienced. Not only was the way I did things different, the way I spoke was too and caused some offense on many an occasion. Having to change the way you’ve said something all your life was hard, but I had to just carry on and eventually it did get a lot easier.
At this stage, I was seriously missing home! I’ve always been a free spirit and never minded not being at home, but now with everything that was different I just wanted some normality. Lucky for me I had a relative who lived nearby who could help with that. It was so nice to have someone who understood what I was feeling and how much I missed home. They showed me this lovely little English food shop in Santa Monica, that I’d actually never seen before and had a lot of my favourite foods from home 🙂 I’ve never been so glad to taste the sweetness of Heinz Salad Dressing and the full body taste of Barry’s Tea. Just having that little bit of home made the rest of my stay a whole lot more enjoyable 🙂
When Thanksgiving came around I was never so thankful to have my dad come over and see me! Learning about the reasoning behind this massive holiday was interesting and I got to understand the very Historic nature it holds, although I think nowadays it is lost by Black Friday, which I’ve never seen the like. I have to admit, the thrill of going shopping on black Friday was great fun and if you’re lucky you can find amazing deals, but word of warning, people go a lot crazy! So be aware.
The next couple of weeks and months flew by and before I knew it, I was due to come back to Ireland. After all my missing home and almost hating the change of being in America, I found myself getting sad thinking about leaving 😦 I learned so much in my time away from home, not only about other cultures, but also about the day to day lives of middle-class Americans, and what it’s really like living there.
As I’ve said America is pictured to the rest of the world as being totally different than it actually is and until you go and experience it for yourself it will be hard to explain it to you fully, but if you are hoping to travel/live in LA or another part of the USA I hope that this will help prepare you for the change 🙂
If you’ve been to the USA or are currently living there and have anything to add that might help others please leave a comment 🙂
If you Live in Santa Monica or nearby and want to try out the Olde English Shop I was speaking about here is a link to their website so go check it out 🙂