Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Being Back in LA

I can’t say they didn’t warn me. At the Sydney Uni international student orientation, they graphed the emotional sine function we’d experience during our time abroad (sad to leave home, excited to be somewhere new, frustrated with cultural differences, content with your new home, sad to leave all the friends you made, etc).

I’m happy to see my family and everyone here, even though my sister and most of my friends aren’t in LA this summer. A lot of the time though, I miss being abroad. I had great friends and loved Sydney. More than anything, I miss the thrill of seeing and doing something new everyday. Home, I have to say, feels especially dull after that.

There’s a lot to love about LA. The weather is great, it’s got a beach, lots of life. My favorite thing is the variety — and I say this about Sydney too — it can be whatever you want it to be: posh, urban, bohemian, rugged, lively, serene, a party, a home...With all the cultures, different neighborhoods, and varied landscape, you can feel somewhere different every day, or multiple times in one day. Any kind of people, food, scenery or experience you’re looking for, you can have it. I respect LA a lot for that.

But a few things bother me. I hate that a car is a prerequisite for most things here (especially since I don’t have my own). I can’t stand the traffic I submit myself to when I do drive. I like a city where I can walk and feel free.

I wish we didn’t have that heavy layer of smog. The city can be picturesque — when you can see it. And I’m tired of the attitude from people living the in vacuum Los Angeles can be.

Maybe it’s easier to say these things because it’s where I grew up. The better you know someone, the more flaws you notice. On the other hand, I probably wore rose-colored glasses the whole time in Sydney. Still, for me everywhere else seems so new and exciting. Home can feel so suffocating, can’t it?

I love LA when I’m doing something different, when I discover something I didn’t know about it. After so much exploring in Sydney, you think I’d want to approach Los Angeles the same way. I do, but it has been hard to find the same motivation. I don’t have my study abroad cohorts, ready to do whatever random thing I find to do, not to mention walk however many miles it requires. Also, like I said, I don’t have my own car here, and public transportation isn’t convenient. From my house it’s a 25-minute walk to the nearest bus stop, which only two bus routes pass.

So it’s tough sometimes for things to be so familiar, plus not being surrounded by my 30 housemates all the time. It’s quiet and I'm rather listless. Is it weird I think I'll feel better when I go back to school in Missouri?

(The top photo is from a while ago. You can see Catalina Island under the haze. But since I’ve been home I’ve barely been able to see the city, let alone the ocean, because of all the brushfires.)

1 comment:

Chris in Happy Valley said...

Living abroad, even for a short time, permanently changes you. You'll never look at the U.S. the same again. It also makes you different from the bulk of your peers, more open minded, more worldly. It's kind of a blessing and a curse.

You may also be permanently infected with the wanderlust virus!