Dreaming of the big wide world beyond Australia and creating stories was my way of escaping from the confines of suburbia. After completing a degree in film and television production I finally decided to take the leap. Following the childhood dream I headed to the city where glitz and glamour meet hardship and homelessness, the city of over priced housing and even more over the top people: Los Angeles.
Here I am again, sitting on the bus, legs wedged between tight seats and knees aching. Times like these make it tough for a human over 6ft. It’s peak hour (well actually every hour seems to be peak hour here) and the smell of perspiration and old socks waft through the warm, stuffy air. I feel like a cockroach trapped in a small plastic Tupperware container that a five year old has brought to show and tell; unable to breath and constantly being jolted back and forth. It was only yesterday that I witnessed a man getting on the bus with a face covered in paint and carrying a plastic zip lock bag full of syringes. How did I get in this situation? Why did I move halfway across the world, leave my large, mum-sized Ford Territory behind, to now be sitting on an overcrowded bus, which has taken two hours to get to a place that I could’ve walked to in 40 minutes?
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Since moving to the City of Angels it's hard to believe that three months have passed. Despite me complaining about the sketchy public transport scene, it really isn’t all that bad. In fact, I am thoroughly enjoying my time here and am constantly finding joy in the little things that occur each day. I’m in an unfamiliar country, full of new and exciting adventures, a city bustling with youth ready to mingle, network and entertain.
I’ve quickly learnt that life here will test your patience. Los Angeles is vast and rapid, constantly moving forward – big Hollywood deals are made over the phone in a heartbeat – but the more mundane things seem to travel at a rather snail like pace: traffic, shopping queues, finding solid friendships and relationships, traffic, finding a decent place to rent, customer service calls, traffic, cancelling my gym membership (once you’re locked in, it is insanely difficult to get out!), oh and did I mention traffic?
Honestly, L.A. is in a world of its own and extremely different to the rest of the United States. There are times I often think I am on another planet. I’ve seen people crawl along the Walk of Fame wearing fur ears and leashes, a man wearing a gimp suit strutting downtown, women walking their dogs in strollers, others taking their exotic iguanas, snakes, hawks and stick insects for strolls into high end boutiques. You name it, it’s probably happened in Hollywood.
Will my La La Land experience deliver all that I hope? Will I succumb to the daily grind of menial work, just for mere survival and a working visa? Will my prospective dreams come swiftly or with perseverance and toil? Whatever happens I'm determined to step into this abyss to test my destiny.
And with that, here are five of the quickest and realest lessons I learnt within my first week of living in LA.
- Safety is super important. Always be cautious when walking alone at night and buy pepper spray.
- Rideshare Apps are your best friends. Uber and Lyft come in handy as public transport is so unreliable.
- It’s much harder to spot celebrities. They’re very good at disguising themselves with caps and oversized sunglasses, blending in with us ordinary folk.
- Bring proper walking shoes. The footpaths are extremely uneven and I’ve stubbed my toes numerous times wearing thongs.
- Refrain from using Aussie slang. Nobody seems to understand a thing I say unless I speak with a more professional, British sounding accent.
Check-out more of Caitlin’s antics via her blog, An Aussie Abroad.
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