This year marks my 3 year anniversary living in Los Angeles. I moved to LA back in 2017.
To celebrate this awesome milestone I wanted to share with you my experience living here in LA. This is going to be a very honest review from a person who is not from America, but from abroad.
I am from Vietnam. I went to ISHCMC and graduated class of 2013. Afterwards, I left Ho Chi Minh City and studied in New York. I was accepted to Sarah Lawrence College and dropped out after one semester. Sadly, the school was not a right fit for me and my dream of studying and working in New York completely derailed.
I then ended up moving back to Vietnam and attended a local university there which I felt even more depressed. I decided to return to America but this time not the East Coast but to San Jose, California. Living in the West Coast compared to the East coast, made me realize how much I love the sun. Having sunny weather not only improved my overall mood but made me very productive.
I lived in San Jose for 4 years while studying at De Anza college. When I was done with community college I got accepted to LMU. And now I am here! I did not get into USC which made me sad so it was between LMU or Santa Clara university. I wanted a change of scenery and so I made the decision to move to LA.
So far I love it. But, there are days where I absolutely hate it and dream of moving to somewhere more quiet and less crowded. It is a love hate relationship.
There is something for everyone: There is K-town, Manhattan Beach, Downtown LA, Pacific Palisades…and more. That is what I love about LA. There is always something for you. If you’re into fashion, DTLA, Rodeo Drive, Melrose is for you. If you’re into fitness, Venice the bodybuilding mecca is for you. If you’re into real estate, Malibu, Beverly Hills is for you. You like dancing? Drive to Studio city and enroll yourself at Dance Millenium complex. All I am saying is that there are so many opportunities here compared to when I was living in San Jose. San Jose was predominantly tech related because it was silicon valley. Nearly everyone I knew there was a software engineer or worked at Google. :p
Weather: You cannot beat sunny weather. You will never have a bad day with this beautiful weather. Although the weather can be a bit weird. Sometimes it’s hot, then cold, then hot, then cold again. It is hard to tell so I always make sure to check the forecast and literally stand outside my balcony to determine if I should bring a jacket. It is sunny just like Vietnam so I feel more at home here. I am more productive, happier when I have the sun. When I was living in New York, the weather was not my favorite part. It felt cold, gloomy and rainy all year round and I always felt tired, sleepy and more hungry. Here in LA I feel more active.
LA is close to all the fun destinations: Let’s say you want to escape LA and go to Orange County for the weekend, or go to Anaheim for Disneyland or even drive up all the way to Thousand Oaks Agoura Hills and get your hair cut …like me! Haha. But yes that is what I love about LA it is a city that has access to other counties so people work hard during the week and during the weekend you start seeing people driving to Long Beach, or Newport Beach or even Las Vegas to have fun.
Healthy lifestyle: Erewhon is going to be a new term you’ll have to add to your dictionary. People in the Bay area were not really into looks or fashion. But the moment I moved here, it was different. It reminded me so much about Vietnam. Here people definitely like to take care and groom themselves well. I like that because it reminds me of how I was brought up so it feels familiar in a good way. I love beauty and fashion so when I moved here it was refreshing to see more people who were into the same things like me.
Spiritual: Everyone here probably has a good psychic or naturopathic doctor. 🙂 I don’t blame them because I got into it as well. I love how people are so open-minded here to eastern medicine and being spiritual. Nearly everyone here is into meditation, doing sound baths, buying crystals for good vibes. I love it! Since I lived in LA, not only have I seen myself be in the best shape I can be, but how much I love being spiritual and believing that everything happens for a reason.
Los Angeles is a great place to live. Just like any major city it has it’s downside as well. I knew that coming here I was going to either love it or hate it, but I still had to push through because I knew LA would offer a lot of opportunities for me to grow.
Hard to make friends: Loneliness is a real thing here. I find it difficult to make friends here compared to when I was living in New York. I just feel like the people here don’t have the same taste like me.
Can be very superficial at times: While LA is known for health conscious fitness and lifestyle but it can get to a point where it is unhealthy. I don’t like that. Too much talk and emphasis on appearance and what car you drive. Whereas in the East Coast, I felt like people valued education more than LA. Here in LA your last name, status and looks can get you a long way.
Traffic and accidents on highways: When I first drove here, it was crazy! Going from point A to point B can be an hour or more. Plus when you have appointments you have to leave home early and find parking. Haha. Before the pandemic I was using uber when I got lazy. Now I have no choice and have to drive 😛
Everyone is busy: Don’t be surprised that the people who move to Los Angeles are here mainly for work and opportunities, so their free time is limited. It is hard to make time to see friends and go out because everyone is running on their own agenda and schedule. This can be hard to cope with at first but the positive is you learn how to be your own best friend.
You end up staying mostly at home and close to where you live: Because traffic is a nightmare you end up being close to home and driving to places nearby. People can get lazy (including myself) and do not want to drive far away.
Even though there is good and bad with LA I still love LA. I love Los Angeles because this city gave me so much opportunities for me to grow and be the young adult I am today. If I stayed in Vietnam I don’t think I would be challenged enough like I am here. So to the people and city of Los Angeles, I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU 🙂
How Los Angeles changed me:
Going to therapy: It is hard work but I am proud of myself for facing my fears, past and trauma and finding a place to be at peace within myself.
Lifting weights, meal prep and bodybuilding: Learning how fat loss works and working with a great trainer.
Horse riding: I love horses and I have never done horse riding before in Vietnam. So it was refreshing!
Being open minded: LA is very liberal and progressive. If you’ve lived here long enough I am sure people will tell you, you will run into some crazy people here. People can be so eccentric here. And if you came from a conservative country it will be a shock to you. But learn to embrace it and enjoy it. Only in LA.
Spending habits: You have to live within your means! You cannot overspend in Los Angeles unless you want to go broke. Be very careful with your finances here. Since moving to Los Angeles, I learned how to save and budget wisely. I no longer spend impulsively and think twice before I buy anything.
Thank you so much for reading my blog post. It’s been so hard for me to feel motivated to do anything under this pandemic. I think I was so hard on myself the past 3 months for not doing anything and not making progress. But I realized my god we’re living under a fcking pandemic we all deserve to give ourselves a break and really just do the best that we can. Life isn’t normal and we all are adapting.
This pandemic has been hard for me and I am sure you too. But I have hope and I know that there will a treatment and vaccine. Everything happens for a reason and my reason during this pandemic is to turn inwards, staying at home and taking care of myself, resolving issues I never wanted to face and really come out of this pandemic as a kinder, genuine and more loving person.
Goodnight from LA
Happy 4th of July.
I am working out tomorrow and then going to grab coffee, the farmers market then heading home :p hehe should be a fun 4th of july