Tag Archives: check-in

A Year in LA


This past Tuesday marked a year that Darin and I have been in California. I wanted to write about it, but I’ve been too busy. That’s been the theme of the past few months. Go, go, go.

Los Angeles keeps us moving forward. Back in Wisconsin there was sort of culture of contentment – many people were happy to work stable, stagnant jobs, unaware or uncaring that there’s something bigger and better out there. They’re just not hungry for more, for adventure. I was becoming one of those people, unmotivated to change and discover. Why run fast when you can make a living walking? Then we took the plunge and moved across the miles to a place where complacency isn’t viable.

This is a city of immigrants. Hungry people come from distances great and small to be a part of it’s pulse. Like most immigrants, the people are full of ambition, and they’re prepared to go hard, not go home. People out here are chasing and making and doing and they’re definitely not walking. Being a part of the rush is invigorating and exhausting all at the same time. We work hard (9 to 5 is a dream fast-fading) and we play hard (exploring this city is a dream half-realized). I feel it’s all worth it, though.

Darin asked me one rainy night on the balcony what I want out of life. The SparkNotes version is that I want a beautiful life bursting with adventure and exploration. I want the kind of life someone could write a book about. I want to look back in my sunset years and have a library of stories to tell of past days and doings to keep my fire ignited.

That colorful life is what I’m beginning to invent out here.  I’ve met people from across the globe, and work within a company that pushes me to constantly expand myself. I’ve watched the night city from above lit up like a bustling galaxy. I’ve breathed in the vast ocean air from the top of a mountain. And I haven’t even scratched the surface.

How do you conveniently pare all that down into an answer to “So how’s LA?”? I guess the short answer is “It ignites me.”.

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Filed under Author: Jack

Jack’s 6 Month Check-In


Last night marks 6 months since our arrival in California on St. Patrick’s Day. So far we’ve kept our heads above water and we’re adjusting to Los Angeles life pretty well.

For instance, on our visit back to Green Bay I thought anything below 75 degrees was frigid, and I wore a sweatshirt around inside my parents’ house. It steadily rained overnight while we were there – something we experienced only once so far in California.  I left the window open just so I could listen to the rain while I slept. While I don’t miss the rain, I did find myself missing petrichor. I also missed empty streets.


I’m still working from home as a graphic designer for the job I held in Wisconsin. I’ve applied to a few jobs out here, and had a few interviews. I’ve been rejected, and even rejected an offer myself. So far nothing has been the right fit. While it’s a little disheartening not to find what I’m looking for amidst a sea of available jobs, at least I’m (for the moment) still gainfully employed, doing what I love. Working from home has it’s perks (dressing comfortably, not having to style my outrageous mane, short commute), but it also has some disadvantages that are especially obvious in a new city.

I’m not meeting new people through work, or socializing/leaving the house at all most days. Making friends has been tough – though not impossible, even for me! The lack of social contact means my Skype/Google Hangout/[Insert Chat Service Here] dates with the people back home are all the more valuable. I’ve considered joining some kind of group or club, but I’m too chicken to actually do it. *Queue panic attack.*


Our place itself has grown on me, despite it’s tiny size. It turns out we didn’t need a lot of the space in our last place, and in a city with places crammed in everywhere our condo seems pretty par for the course. We toured a 2-bed, 2-bath condo recently and I was blown away by how huge it seemed. Then we saw the listing – it was the same size as our place in Green Bay was. Man, how perspectives can change.

People often ask how our cats are adjusting. I’m happy to say they’re doing quite well, and seem to have no opinion at all. I will mention that due to the hardwood floors (we had carpet before) they seem fairly reluctant to run/skid around. I worry they aren’t getting enough exercise, but they seem to be maintaining their weight. They’re so adaptable it boggles my mind.



The city itself is a strange mix of wonderful and crazy. There’s a ton of stuff to do at any given time – a lot of it free/inexpensive (beaches, museums, markets, etc). The trouble is getting there. Traffic is a hindrance if we want to leave the valley,  so we’ve spent more than one weekend using it as an excuse to Netflix binge. Honestly, sometimes we feel like parodies out here.

The struggle is real.

The struggle is real.

We have gotten to see some really amazing things, though. So far I’m pretty partial to the beaches up in Malibu that are less populated and more geologically interesting. In the valley, I’m really a fan of the Arclight cinema near us. It has assigned seating, and offers 21+ shows where you can drink and watch movies without children screaming and moving about. (Instead, adults are drunkenly cheering and laughing appropriately.) The tickets are pricey ($15.50/each) compared to any cinema in Green Bay, but then again – so is everything else. I’m also a huge fan of the Goodwill that’s a few blocks away. Such good deals.

Ventura boulevard, the main drag where we are, has a ton of great restaurants on it. We’re only a block off of Ventura, so sometimes it’s hard to make the better choice of staying in and eating healthy when you’ve got so many great places in walking distance. Most weeks we hit Chipotle at least once (it’s about two blocks away and totally a “healthy” choice), and then go out a few times on the weekends. It’s great to sample all the places – we haven’t even made a dent 6 months in.


One time it rained. Another time it was hot. The rest of the time has been incomparably beautiful. It’s making us soft, but making my natural hair fabulous.


Naturally fab


I think we’re pretty optimistic about our future out here. Everyone asks if we’re ever going to move back to Wisconsin, or if we’re Californians for life. Honestly? I don’t know. It’d be hard to beat the opportunities and weather out here, but it’s also hard being away from family and friends. Our trip back to Green Bay made us realize how quiet it is there (freakishly quiet), and it was both comforting and tedious. Maybe as we age (oh my god 30 is coming in just over a year, where is my eye cream?) we’ll find some need to settle down. But we’ve only been out here six months, and we’re not old fogies yet, so we’ll be out here carpe-ing the crap out of these California diems.


Filed under Author: Jack