Week 11: Overwhelmed in L.A.

I have lived in L.A. for nearly 10 months, and I feel like I have made a tiny, minuscule, almost undetectable dent in all that there is to do.

I have lived in Los Angeles for nearly 10 months, and one of the biggest sentiments I feel about this place is that it is overwhelming. Still.

Why?

1. Because L.A. has something for everyone — more than anywhere I have ever been, let alone lived — and that means L.A. has a whole, whole lot. You want great restaurants? Got ’em. You want fun bars? Got ’em. You want museums? Got ’em. You want beaches? Got ’em. You want tours? Got ’em. You want hiking? Got it. You want biking? Got it. You want shopping? Got it. You want sports? Got ’em. You want shows? Got ’em. You want celebrities? Oh yeah, we have those too.

I know the area where I live quite well. I have explored a lot of bars and restaurants on the West side. I have made a decent start on beaches and an OK start on hikes and shows. And — shocker — I’ve been to all the sports venues. But that’s about as far as I can go.

2. Because L.A. is really spread out. It’s hard to get around. Things are far apart. You can’t jump all over the city in one day; you actually have to organize your plans based on locations. And thanks to traffic, it just takes longer to get where you’re going than it does in most other cities, so time is eaten up with the drive. Not to mention, many L.A. activities are day trips or all-day events. Exploration here is very “one thing at a time.”

3. Because I work nights, and the majority of my free time is during the day, when almost everybody else is at work. There are some things — beaches, biking, musicals, going out to lunch — I’ll happily do alone, but for most of the things I want to do in L.A., I need some company.

4. Because, oh yeah, I have to work — a lot. And I have to sleep. And run errands. And work out. And clean my apartment. And … you get the idea. Living in Los Angeles is not actually the equivalent of a perpetual vacation in Los Angeles.

And that, my friends and family, is where visitors come in. With visitors, I go do these things. I have someone free to be with me during the day, I have a guinea pig to try places with, and I have that extra motivation to spend the day out and about exploring, rather than on my usual combo of yoga, errands and reading. With visitors, I do things I already know and love, of course, but we also try the new things I haven’t gotten to.

I am thinking about this because my brother arrives Saturday for his spring break, and I have a week full of L.A. activities planned (it’s going to be so great!). After that, I tentatively have someone visiting every month of the year (!) except April and December (when I’ll be traveling myself). That’s a lot of time hosting a lot of my favorite people — awesome! — and it’s also a lot of time doing things on my L.A.-to-do-list — doubly awesome!

It’s safe to say I am excited. I am excited to see these faces I love, and I am also excited to stay put and actually, finally, really get to know this place I have lived for nearly a year.

It’s about time.

Endnotes:

Currently watching: FRIENDS, season 7 (never gets old)

Currently reading: Going Clear by Lawrence Wright

Song of the week: Jason Derulo’s “Want To Want Me”

Plans for the weekend: My roommate’s parents are in town, so I’m doing a Sony tour with them on Friday and going whale-watching with them on Saturday. Then, Saturday night, my brother arrives and the exploration fun begins!

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