Firstly, I am sure not everyone has the same misconceptions I did about Los Angeles, and I am in no way meaning to cause offense with my views. This is just a light-hearted, tongue in cheek look, at the worries I had moving from the UK to LA, and how happily I was proved wrong.
- Everybody will be glamorous/beautiful/dressed impeccably every second of every day.
Although I enjoy shopping and putting together outfits as much as the next girl, I did have a few reservations that my high street wardrobe, and tendency towards Primark rather than Prada, wouldn’t cut it here in La La Land. It turns out that people are more relaxed and casual about their attire here, than in any of the major cities I have lived in, back in the UK. I am sure this is partly dependent on which area in Los Angeles you happen to live in, (this place is huge) and given that we opted for Redondo in the South Bay, known for its beaches , surfing and farmers markets, we should have expected a slightly more bohemian way of life. People are still unreasonably attractive and in amazing shape – but it is quite acceptable to go an entire day, and on to drinks in the evening, wearing nothing more than a t-shirt, yoga pants, and sandals. Granted the yoga pants are designer and probably cost a month’s rent back home, but the emphasis is still placed on comfort and practicality over style. I am sure if I were to venture into Hollywood or shopping on Rodeo Drive, then it would be a different story, and it’s nice to dress up now and again for special occasions – but I am enjoying embracing a more laid back style; I just need the surfboard!
2. I will have to learn to live off green juices, kale and sushi.
This one is about fifty percent true. It is a strange mix of health conscious cafes and fast food burger places here in LA, and you’re never more than fifty feet from either. There isn’t much of a middle ground in my opinion, which means my diet has been split into either extremely virtuous or heart attack inducing, depending on my mood that day – probably not the healthiest lifestyle, but I’m still working on finding a balance. I have come to love (much to Nic’s disgust) the occasional green juice, and I love how easy it is to find wholesome, organic produce. One word of warning is how expensive it can be to eat healthily here – Nic and I naively wandered into Wholefoods during our first week here, filled our trolley with a weeks worth of groceries, and ended up paying well over $300 for the privilege. An $8 punnet of strawberries quickly becomes a luxury, rather than a basic, and it turns out that you can put a price on the smug self righteousness of ‘clean living’. On the same road as Wholefoods, there is a McDonalds, KFC and In ‘n’ Out; and we are fully embracing the American junk food scene as well- perhaps too enthusiastically! Overall it is wonderful to live in a city with so much culinary choice; Nic and I are big foodies, and having access to burgers, pizza, sushi, salads, Japanese barbecue, and tacos, delivered to our door at pretty much any time of the day is great – and a big step up from Rugby’s options!
3. People will be so beautiful/confident/successful, that they may be a tiny bit judgmental.
This was a terrible generalization to even cross my mind, and my only defense is that it was at least somewhat intended as a compliment. My magazine cover/movie screen images of LA and the people who live there, were so jaw droppingly gorgeous and intimidating, that I genuinely worried they may not be interested in a plain Jane from the UK. In actual fact, Los Angeles is just a place, and the people here are just people; they come from all over the world, from all walks of life, and have the same problems as anybody else. If anything I’ve found people are even more welcoming and positive here than in the UK. (sorry, but that’s the truth!) I often have strangers chat to me and offer advice, and they throw compliments around like glitter. Within 15 minutes of leaving my apartment last week I had 3 separate people compliment me on my perfume, my shoes, and my bag. Yes, we could argue that this is superficial and disingenuous, but it brings a smile to my face, and to many others; and often these compliments evolve into longer conversations. The outgoing nature of Americans can be a little daunting at first, because we are so much more reserved in England, but it’s actually lovely to interact with people more, and their positive attitudes have allowed me to grow in confidence when chatting to strangers and meeting new people.
So there we have it- three reasons why you should never judge a book by it’s cover, or in this case a postcard.