Actually, it's been years. Two years, but years nonetheless. No better time like the present than to pick this back up! Lots of things have changed since I last wrote here. Here's the condensed version:
1. I am no longer a Valley girl. I am in spirit and in place-of-birth (Northridge Hospital represent!), but as of May 2012, I traded in my Valley residency for West Hollywood. That change included a lot of subsequent changes, such as really being limited by transportation (or lack thereof), even beyond how it was in the Valley. I used to complain before about buses in Lake Balboa, but nothing hit me harder transportation-wise than moving somewhere where everyone - and I mean everyone - expects you to have a car.
Now don't get me wrong - West Hollywood is ideal for walking on days where you don't necessarily need a vehicle. If going to brunch or the bar or to a local show on the Sunset Strip, there really is no need to get there on four wheels unless carpooling. I absolutely love that about my new city. But when it comes to work or events or being somewhere in a hot second, don't depend on the bus to do it for you, even though it does run more often than in the Valley (depending on the line, of course). Now with car services like Uber, Lyft, and ZipCar, it's been made a bit easier to get to a car if you need one, but --- well, rest assured that there will be more to come about my new home in future entries.
2. I no longer have a bicycle. My bicycle was locked up in my apartment's car port for about six months before I considered riding it again. By that time, however, my bicycle got rammed into by a visitor's car, and I had to give it up. It was a sad day, to be honest. But I found at the point that I didn't really have the motivation to do so in this city.
There was a time where I used to poke fun at cars with bicycles strapped to their backs, but after living here, I fully understand it. It's more than being able to get out of town and ride one's bicycle --- it's about finding somewhere bicycle-friendly in which to ride.
The Valley's bicycle paths ingrained in its infrastructure (on the streets as well as alongside the Orange Line Busway) are among the things I miss greatly, now living on the other side of the hill. There is absolutely nothing like that here. There are bicycle lanes, yes, but it does not behold the relatively safety that some areas in the Valley provide. On top of that, it is quite hilly and truth be told, drivers don't know what to do when a bicycle is sharing the road. A common remark I hear when in conversation with an LA cyclist (avid or out of necessity) is: "It's really not so bad; I've only been hit once." Yeah, once isn't an odd I'm willing or comfortable to take.
Eventually, I will get another bicycle. But I'm very sad to say that I will not be riding it within a 5-mile vicinity of my home. Rest assured that this will come up in future entries as well.
Now for the bigger development. Drum roll, please.......
2. I have a car!
It's a 2012 Honda Fit Sport, the newest to me car I've ever had, and I absolutely love it. It's been a pain sometimes and a drain money-wise, but I really do love having a car. I bought it back in February, and even though it's only been eight months, sometimes I have to remind myself to not take it for granted. I really do appreciate the experience I had without a car (nine years' worth, and before that, six years), as I feel it truly gave me an edge on how to behave on the road. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and unpredictable drivers/situations are all things to be aware of, and it is all too easy to forget that. Actual commuting is a different experience, especially since it has been so consistent. Plus, parking, hello! I have only now gotten the hang of parallel parking (something I'm more proud of than ashamed). But all in all, it is more of a love situation than a not-love situation.
I won't lie, though: there are a lot of things I miss, like not worrying about parking (and not paying for parking, in particular), or having two or so hours every day to read, catch up, or chill out while on the bus to and from work. But the major trade off regarding the latter point is that I get where I need to go in a more time-efficient manner, and that has really helped with my home life. Specifically, I don't feel so exhausted at the end of each day. Waiting is probably the most tiresome thing a person can do without really doing much of anything.
There is however a good and bad to things being so predictable, however, a topic that will likely make the rounds in forthcoming entries.
Well, that's it from me for now; I look forward to posting here, soon and often, taking you on some new adventures on the other side of the hill, as well as my experiencing from visiting home from time to time, and my new relationship with LA on the whole. Thanks for joining me!
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