Welcome Home Carly Walker
I grew up in Utah and I went to school at BYU-Idaho. Our idea of a main street closes at 10 and the most dangerous place I have ever set foot in is the Rain Tree Hot Tub. So you can imagine my culture shock when 4 liquor stores and a family reunion of homeless locals were waiting outside my apartment to welcome me to the one and only…Los Angeles, California.
Oh I’ve Been Afraid of Changing
You may be wondering how I got here or why, and to be honest its all a blur. I woke up one day with my bags packed driving off with a pair of knock-off Ray Bans to cover my goodbye tears. It’s like Stevie Nicks said, “I’ve been afraid of changing because I built my life around you, but time makes you bolder, children get older, I’m getting older too.” I have always wanted to move by the beach, but didn’t want to leave the people I loved and had built my life around. Luckily time makes you bolder. Change is a scary thing, but if you stare at a cliff long enough you are bound to jump at some point. This was my ultimate leap of faith. Enough sap…lets get to the good stuff. LA has so many surprises for a young and naive Utah local. Here are my top 10.
1. Winter in California is a Joke
Every morning is the same thing. I peel away my curtains, the Beach Boys start singing, and a pack of California sun beams shower my skin. As my old roommates would say, “It’s a tender mercy” and I swear it’s not real life.
2. Inglewood Is Up To No Good
One of my first nights here, I ran out of gas in the wrong part of town. I soon learned what Dr. Dre meant when he said Inglewood was up to no good. Without thinking I got out of a car in a dim-lit empty gas station. Out of the shadows emerged four gangsters and I was surrounded. Terrified, tears-welled up in my eyes as they made their demands…a bag of potato chips. Someone should tell Ruffles they have a huge fan base in the hood.
3. The Street Doesn’t Sweep Itself
Speaking of hoods, this gem was on my hood the next morning for blocking a street-sweeper.
I learned the hard way that it’s cleaning services are highly valued by the state of California. I wish LA gave you the opportunity to hand sweep the section of curb your car blocked, because for 68 bones I would have made that thing look like gold.
4. If it Once Moved, You Can Eat It
My menu of beef and potatoes is quickly expanding. There are food trucks and restaurants everywhere serving anything from octopus to chicken on waffles. Kissing the chef would be an understatement of my affections.
5. Ikea Furniture is Cheap for a Reason
Imagine playing a game of charades but instead of guessing a word you had to guess how to build a 12-piece set of furniture. Thanks to Ikea’s pictures-only instruction manuals, this nightmare is a reality. The worst part is: You can’t get those five precious hours of your life back. It’s not in their return policy.
6. Blondes Run This Town
Being a small fish and moving into a big city has been overwhelming. One night, I put my head in my hands and sighed,”I’m just this little blonde girl.” A sassy neighbor replied, “Honey, blondes run this town.” Dolly Parton could not have been more inspiring and I have held my head high ever since.
7. The “F” Word is an Adjective
The “F” word is highly valued in Utah. People have been saving up this swear word their entire lives in case they ever need a way to describe a catastrophic event. If they get the urge to use it for anything less than a disaster, they use a swear-replacement such as “F,” “freaking,” “flip,” etc. So the first time I heard someone casually say $%^#, I thought something terrible had happened. I have since learned that this word is used for many different creative purposes and does not require me to rush to the aid of every single person that uses it. I have also learned to cover up my wide-eyed reactions by pretending something is in my eye.
8. Men Here Are Beautiful
I have never seen more good-looking men in my entire life. I knew the first time a guy turned to me at Marshalls and said in a low voice, “Hey, that lamp is fresh,” I was in trouble.
9. Honking Isn’t a Good Thing and There is No Such Thing as a Shortcut
In Provo, the only time you hear cars honking is when a sedan crammed full of freshmen boys see a girl for the first time. California is the opposite. Getting a honk is not a compliment and can mean anything from “You should have ran that light” to “I had a gut feeling you were about to cross the road.” It is similar to a game of Operation where even breathing in the wrong direction results in a chorus of beeps.
Unsolved mysteries should really try to tackle why no matter where you are or how far you are going, it will always take you 30 minutes to get anywhere in LA.
10. LA is Home to the Free Spirited
One thing I love and can’t get over is that everyone that I’ve met here marches to the beat of their own drummer. They aren’t scared to be themselves and it’s a strict “no fear” policy. If you want to stand on a ladder in a public place with a loin cloth on….you do it. In all honesty, It’s an amazing environment to be in. Without fear holding anyone back, people are doing incredible things with their time and the energy is contagious.
“You Are Like an Alien That We Get to Show the World”
I have been so surprised from my move to a city, but I have to say I am in love. As terrifying as the move has been, it’s amazing waking up and knowing that each day is going to be a new adventure. So bring it on LA, bring it on.