My trip to LA was only supposed to last just over a week… Get into my Moving Journal posts to read more about how my vacation turned into a permanent move, and to learn about the setbacks and successes I encounter during my transition from DC to LA.
My previous post in my moving journal series left off with me on the hunt for new digs, primarily using Craigslist and the Roommates phone app. I matched with several people through Roommates, but when it came to timing the move in, preferred location, and other specifics, I ended up eliminating most of my matches. However, one girl I matched with messaged me about a living situation that sounded really promising. Her sister (who was also one of my matches) and she had just moved into a brand new, relatively large two-floor duplex. A conversation was born.
[Stage 1] She told me it was a newly built house, so everything was fresh. They were seeking a third roommate in the 4-bedroom house to alleviate their shares of the rent. They sent me several photos, and I thought the house looked fantastic -- I wanted to meet up with them as soon as possible.
[Stage 2] We chose a central location downtown to link in person and get to know each other. I met with both sisters, who are in their early 20s like myself and still new-ish to the post-collegiate professional world. We had a lot in common! One is a travel agent, and they are both into fashion and designing. I got really excited when they said they would teach me how to sew.
[Stage 3] Next it was time to see the home in person. It was spotless, perfectly roomy, decked in hard wood floors, complete with new appliances. My room would have been on the second floor, and it came with its own bathroom and a nicely sized closet. Again, the house was brand new. All of this, in addition to cool roommates, for an extremely reasonably priced monthly rent, sounded bomb. I wanted to say yes!
Its major downfall? Location. South LA -- too far from my job (via public transportation) and too close to the hood. I wanted so bad to ignore the risk of living there, but that would have been impossible. Right across from the Crenshaw Christian Center (huge domed church, impossible to miss from above as you’re flying into LAX), its surrounding areas are known for not being the safest. The sisters told me their neighborhood was quiet, and I figured it couldn’t be too bad if these Caucasian girls were okay with living there. However, after doing some research, I saw a few too many crime reports to feel comfortable living there without a car. On top of that, my ride to work would have still involved two buses and an hour and a half+ commute. It would not have been wise at all for me to live in an inconvenient, unsafe area.
With the inexpensive, newly built duplex on the south side out of the question, I took to Craigslist to search for other options, where I came across my current digs. Browsing Craigslist takes a real eye for scammy listings and creeps you wouldn’t want to live with, but it tends to have some true gems -- I scored one of them!
The listing I found didn’t even have any pictures of the place, but its location short of a mile from my job and its affordable rent had my eyes peeled. I emailed Jess, its poster, expressing my interest in haste, hoping she could send me photos. She asked me to tell her about myself, so we exchanged quick background information (have to make sure someone is legit and isn’t crazy before inviting them over of course), followed by a meeting to check out the house. I checked my email like crazy throughout this whole process; I was so ready to move in a space of my own.
I arrived to the house after work one day and fell in love.
Jess owned the three-story three-bedroom townhouse and rented out the two additional bedrooms on the third floor. It was a beautiful place in a contemporary complex, complete with nice furniture, ample space, washer & dryer, and everything I would need to live comfortably. I would be able to use the living/dining room, kitchen, any of the kitchenware as I pleased. Rent was priced $250 more per month than the sisters’ duplex, but this included all utilities, and overall, it came with a significantly better quality of life.
Being on the west side, I knew its location would be LOVE. It’s walking distance from work, two grocery stores, Walgreens, tons of restaurants; a fifteen minute drive to Santa Monica and the beach in one direction, and fifteen minutes away from the lovely Century City Mall in the other direction. I couldn’t have asked for ANYthing more. I knew that it was hands down one of the best options I’d be able to find -- I was pressed to move in. That is, if Jess liked me and didn’t have any other hopeful tenant candidates!
Jess couldn’t believe I’d come out to LA on my own, without having a car, knowing many people, or having a job prior to moving. “OMG You’re only 23? I would have never been able to do that on my own. How do you get around without a car? I would freak out. You’re so resourceful!” I never consciously thought of myself as deserving of commendation purely because I chose to move to a new city using limited resources. I’m thinking, I haven’t done anything special yet, I’m just out here challenging myself and trying to make it work!
Since I’ve been here though, I’ve heard a few women say that moving across the country on their own sounds too crazy. I guess it’s impossible for them to conceptualize themselves outside of their comfort zone. I went from living comfortably in my parents’ home and driving a nice car wherever I needed to go, to crashing with a friend in a new state, looking for a job and an apartment nearly by myself, relying on alternate methods of transportation to find my way around. It was most definitely a step away from my normalcy, yet I'm surviving and thriving.
I truly believe the key to growth and happiness is being adaptable. For me, embracing this new, challenging, exciting, roller coaster of a journey to success has already made a huge impact on my state of mind. I’m more inspired, more focused, and way less fearful of the unknown. I took a risk, and what happened?
I’ve become more driven as a result.
To get back on track -- I later met with Kim, Jess’s tenant who I’d be sharing the third floor of the townhouse with. We clicked as well -- she told me a lot about life in LA and a little more about how Jess likes to keep the house. Having the stamp of approval from both Jess and Kim, I was goooood to go!!!
Success… Craigslist for the win! The good news is, I’m absolutely loving living here. The sad part is, it’s only a temporary living situation. In a couple of months from now, I’ll take back to Craigslist, Roommates, and other apartment-finding apps if need be, on the hunt yet again. I’m a tad nervous about the possibility that I may not be as lucky, but I’ll remain optimistic and hope to come across another gem! And I will definitely keep you updated with all of my tips along the way…