Thursday, August 27, 2009

Homesick for the Better Coast

"Tonight I'll sing my songs again,
I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound"

Me: All these L.A. people have a stick up their butts. They all think L.A. is the most amazing perfect place and they don't want people from anywhere else. They think L.A. is the center of the universe.
Friend: Um, they sound a lot like New Yorkers.
Me: Yeah, but the New Yorkers are right.

Today, I hung up a small framed copy of this New Yorker cover under a collage frame of pictures of Israel before hanging up lots of pictures of friends.

I am not going to get used to driving nor am I going to learn to like it. I miss being able to read on my commute. I miss being able to get where I'm going without having to look up directions. I miss that superiority New Yorkers get every time they see a tourist—that snide sort of writing off of someone who so clearly doesn't matter because he is not at home in the only place that matters. I miss feeling at home.

I've spent too much time pricing tickets to New York, but the truth is, I don't know that I will get there before December (guests are welcome in L.A., though). On each class syllabus I received, the first thing I looked for was when the last requirement for the class was due so I could figure out the earliest possible time I could leave for the better coast.

And yes, of course, this isn't easy. How could anyone possibly think it would be? But how long does it take before a new apartment and a new city and a new school and new friends (I haven't found many of these yet) become home?

Monday, August 24, 2009

On My 25th Birthday, I Became a California Citizen

Well, more accurately: On my 25th Hebrew birthday, I received my California driver's license in the mail. I am not sure how I feel about this. Also, to invalidate my New York license, the California DMV punched a heart-shaped hole through it. A heart.

Saddest L.A. discovery: Trader Joe's pizza dough isn't kosher here. When I go home for winter break, I am taking some back with me. Sort of like when I had my mother send me a block of American cheese when I was in Israel for the year.

Also, as far as I can tell there is no good sesame chicken here. You know, the Chinese dish that involves chicken fried in sweet-ish sauce with broccoli on the side? Nope, haven't found any near approximation here. If it's not deep fried, it is not sesame chicken.

I am pretty sure I have spent about half of my time in L.A. thus far in Target. Yesterday, I went to use a rain check for a pot set (exciting stuff, I tell you) and the cashier couldn't figure out how to apply the rain check. I made a suggestion that worked. She told me I should work in Target. Which was exactly my career goal.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Toto, We're Not in Kansas Anymore

When I was trying to decide whether to move to L.A., people kept telling me, "L.A. isn't like New York; the people in L.A. are nice." Which was a particularly interesting thing to tell a New Yorker.

New topic.

To park anywhere within a 10-minute walk of my apartment for more than two hours or on the weekend, you need a parking permit (which required among other things a California driver's license, so I am officially not a New Yorker anymore. Sigh). So, until I got a permit, I had to park quite far from my apartment. (Which may have once involved losing my car in that I could not remember where I had parked it.)

While walking toward my car after one of these treks, I saw a piece of paper on the windshield and freaked out. A ticket, really? After owning the car for not even 48 hours?

It was a not a ticket. It was a note that said: "It would be helpful to me if you did not block my walkway." A walkway. Apparently L.A.-ers are all sweet and helpful and nice to pedestrians (seriously, cars stop in the middle of nowhere to let pedestrians cross the street) until you block their walkways.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Feelings Exactly

(Click for bigger image. Courtesy of a friend and another friend's blog.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

כל ההתחלות קשות

This is just to say I'm alive. Just barely and only with the tremendous help of my amazing sister. Beginnings are hard. Being in a new, scary city is hard. I miss my friends. I miss New York. I miss feeling in my element. I miss knowing where I am going and what I am doing. Here's to hoping it gets easier. And soon.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Deep Thoughts: The (First) L.A. Edition

"His wife was from California, the sunny part. My grandmother used to speculate that she had been one of those permanently tanned, bouncy blondes—a perfectly wholesome type, but entirely too easily persuaded that good health and boundless energy for good deeds were the natural results of clean living and practical values. No one had told her that health and energy and the Lord's work are harder to come by in bad weather."

I am currently sitting in a Coffee Bean, drinking expensive coffee and taking advantage of their free WiFi because I currently have neither a coffeemaker nor Internet, which is no way to live. My first thoughts from the other coast:
  • My mincha text-message alerts are still on East Coast time. So, I just got a text message saying shkiya is in half an hour. Except it's 4:30 (and I already davened mincha). I should probably rectify this. Though I am considering leaving my watch on East Coast time. And I have a MetroCard with 25 cents on it in my wallet. (Also, I apparently have to fix my Blogger time, since it says I posted this at 7:40-ish, which would be true if I were on the East Coast.)
  • It is really hard to unpack when you don't have hangers or a dresser.
  • It is really hard to get said things without a car. And it is really hard to get a car without already having one because, counter-intuitively, you need a car to get to the places that sell cars. (And it's especially hard to get a car when the girl who said she'd give you a ride is being a total flake and not picking up her phone.)
  • I am trying to decide how I feel about my ability to build shelves in my closet (in lieu of buying a dresser). This is a fantastic idea because I have lots of closet space, made less fantastic because it involves me using a hammer.
  • I can't wait for the part where this starts to feel like home.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Goodbye to All That

I have no meaningful or poignant or hateful essay to write on how I came to New York and it changed my life in some way, good or bad. I was born in New York City. I grew up in New York's suburbia. I went to college in New York. I got my first (and only for the time being) full-time, health-insurance-included job in New York. I work in New York now. New York was always the city. It was not around the corner but also not too far away. We would visit on school trips to museums, to go to work with my father, sometimes for doctors. In high school, being allowed to go into the city alone with friends was a milestone. I have spent most of my life in New York and its environs. New York did not change me so much as it is a part of who I have always been.


I love New York. The people. The pace. The public transportation. The ease of accessibility of pretty much anything you could possibly want (and lots of things you don't). I cannot imagine my life anywhere else because, indeed, my life has not ever been anywhere else (with the exception of a gap year spent in Israel and three summers in Washington).


And, now, I am leaving New York for the other, warmer coast to go back to school. I am excited for grad school and the research I will do there, excited for year-round flip-flop weather. And I am terrified. I have no idea how to live anywhere else, no idea how to live without all the friends and family I am leaving on the East Coast. Oh, I know I will be fine. I will buy a car and learn to park it. (I may or may not have called my father from the car in front of our house on the rare occasion that there was a parallel-parking need at home. He reminded me recently that he won't be able to come out and park for me when I am 3,000 miles away.) I will throw away my boots and down coat (which, in any case, could not come with me for lack of space). Perhaps I will even embrace a slower pace of life.




And maybe that's what terrifies me. I'm a New Yorker. I hate the cold, but I love complaining about the cold. (A friend has a running count on how many times I complain about the cold anytime we step outside in the winter.) I like the grit. I hate the tourists, but I love feeling superior to them when I cut them off (by foot, obviously) on a busy sidewalk. I take pride in all the iconic New York sites I have not been to because they are tourist traps, not places for real New Yorkers. Though I must admit that in my nostalgia-filled final weeks in this city, I have visited many of them (the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge). I wear mostly black.


I am convinced that New York City is the only true city, and I don't want to be convinced otherwise.


I've shipped about 400 pounds of stuff to Los Angeles already, and my bags are mostly packed. In three days, I will get on a plane to spend the next five years in what seems to me a foreign country. And I am scared that when I return (yes, I am confident that I will return in some capacity), I will have changed and the city will have changed and no one will even have noticed I was gone but I won't fit here anymore. Or there. Or anywhere.