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My First Month In LA

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Victoria Marie“Life happens while you’re busy making plans.”

Once quoted by John Lennon I lived and breathed these words down to the core during my first month in LA.

The plans I had set forth for my first month couldn’t have been better. I would use this time to “get settled.” Given I would arrive the end of November I knew December would be a great month to unpack, organize, get my new apartment in order, do some light decorating, find all my “go-to places” – the gym, cleaners, grocery store, Petco, take-out, bank, post office etc. And of course get the ever important internet service hooked up, along with my new LA phone number, get the change of addresses done, plus visit with old friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages, and of course get my money jobs lined up. This would all serve to lay the foundation for my new life in LA so that come January I would be ready! Ready for classes, head shots and finding an agent. The ever so important elements to my entire purpose in moving to LA in the first place. Oh, if only….if only things had gone according to plan. Well, needless to say that is NOT how it went down at all!!! The reality was nothing like the “plan.”

And it must be said my “plan” was nothing short of fantastically on point. I had everything figured out and I mean everything at least 2 months prior to me leaving. I mapped out my drive across country (Nov 14th-Nov 19th); booked all my hotels; planned a dinner with a girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in more than 20 years who lived in Texas; planned down to the day of when I would start working at my “money jobs” (Nov 25th); planned out I would find an apartment, wire the money and sign the lease before I even left Florida so that I could just drive right up to my new apartment as I arrived.

Well…that is not exactly how it all happened. The biggest game changer was the apartment hunt.

About 6 weeks before my departure date I started “looking” for an apartment. Mostly on “craigslist,” but really every site and lead on the internet that listed apartments. I followed up on everything that was remotely a possibility. I sent emails, I made phone calls, I contacted people on Facebook all with the idea I would sign a lease before leaving FL. Although not ideal I was prepared to take it sight unseen. I wanted to hit the ground running so waiting to look for a place until I got to LA seemed counter productive. I also enlisted the help of two long time friends whom I knew from NYC but who were long time residents of LA to guide me on which areas to look and which to stay away from. One of my two friends even went to see several apartments on my behalf and everything turned out to be frighteningly bad. The problem was that my budget did not fit my wants. I’m sure the lament of many before me. I had a budget that was not impossible but almost. In Florida I lived (by myself) in a very spacious and luxurious 2 bedroom, 2 bath with a full size washer/dryer in my apartment, dishwasher, stove, refrigerator, microwave, central AC and heat, huge screened in terrace and free parking right outside my front door. I knew I would not get all this but still I needed a nice place that wasn’t a two hour drive. This turned out to be a HUGE challenge, so much so that not only did I NOT have an apartment by the time I left Florida but once I arrived in LA I had to stay in a hotel (burning through my limited money) for more than a week while I looked. I ended up finding a great apartment BUT it was in an area that I originally had determined I would not look and most likely had I seen it early on I would have passed on it.

To say I was obsessed with finding a place before I left is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. On countless occasions I would literally wake up out of a deep sleep at 2 and 3 in the morning and get on the computer while still in bed…searching, searching…searching. I just couldn’t let it rest. I was determined. And searching until I fell asleep again with my laptop sitting on top of me. This total dedication and obsession set me back on when I actually left Florida. I did not leave in the early hours of my departure day (Nov 14th) as “planned” but instead left late that afternoon. This meant I had to change all my pre-booked hotel reservations, change the day I would see my girlfriend (although this unfortunately never came to fruition-just not enough time) and I essentially lost a day meaning I would arrive a day later (Nov 20th) than originally planned (Nov 19th). I had spent so much time looking for an apartment in the weeks leading up to departure day that I did not pack as much as I should have so come departure day I was not ready, at least not first thing in the morning…as I had “planned.”

Then……having to stay in a hotel for more than a week once I arrived in LA threw everything off. Instead of feeling relaxed and excited I was stressed beyond words. I was burning through a lot of the money I had set aside for my new apartment plus I was due to start work just days after arriving. The stress mounted which ultimately caused a domino effect of misfortunates. One notable one was 48 hours after arriving, while out looking at apartments I crashed my brand new car. Mind you I had just picked my car up from the dealer 3 weeks prior. Plus I have never, ever been in any type of any accident, never, ever filed a claim but all that changed 48 hours after arriving in LA. So off my brand new car went to the repair shop and into a loaner car I went- for 4.5 weeks. And then as if that was not enough the very next day while in my girlfriend’s car (she was driving) while out looking at apartments someone rear ended us while sitting at a red light. CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS??!! I’m still trying to figure out what kind of message the universe was trying to send me.

Beyond the challenge of finding a suitable place to live there are and were other challenges that were defiantly NOT part of the plan:

  • When I got here it was freezing. High 30’s at night, low 40’s during the day. Long time residents said in the 20 years that they lived in LA it had never been so cold. Coming from South FL I was just not ready for such weather.
  • As of this writing I am still looking for the right personal training job that will fit with my need for a very flexible schedule.
  • The drive itself had some funny now/bad then happenings that added flavor and texture to the drive. Such as on the 2nd day of driving as it’s pouring rain, a car in front of me had one of their tires blow out. Tire pieces went everywhere, smoke, the car went skidding. Thankfully the car was about 3 car lengths in front of me so I was ok…just a little shook up.
  • And my very first night in a hotel and I check into the Bates Motel. Well ok a little melodramatic BUT there were pubic hairs everywhere from the previous guest including on the sheets as I pulled the covers back. Totally disgusting!! Of course had them practically go out and buy me a new bed and I got a free night’s stay in one of their sister hotels. Yes this really happened.

    So the lesson is this. If you are thinking about moving to LA it’s a must to have “a plan” but have a flexible one that is loosely formed because as sure as I write these words it is the universes’ plan to rework your plans so don’t hold onto them too tightly and be ready for anything. Because rest assured “anything” will happen.

    Til next time…Victoria xox

Victoria Marie

About Victoria Marie

Victoria is an actress on the move. Starting her career later in life she realizes the odds are stacked against her but as she puts it “I just don’t care. I’d rather die trying than say I shoulda, coulda, woulda.” She is inspired by Kathryn Joosten’s journey and even has her picture as her main photo on her phone to remind her every single day of her journey. Victoria’s journey is being documented on her YouTube channel aptly named ‘Baby Boomer Actress.'