For a while now, I'd been suspecting that - despite NYC's glitz and glam and attractive faces to kiss - I could really improve my quality of life by moving elsewhere.
Now that I've moved to LA, I think I've proven my point.
I left behind me a string of apartments riddled with smells of cigarette smoke, Mexican food, bug spray and garbage; of winter coats, boots, umbrellas, and ruined shoes; of people who have broken my heart; of underground subway rides next to perverts, drug addicts, thieves, and vagrants; of shattered dreams, sleepless nights, and devastating mornings.
It's so different now.
Every morning I wake up in an apartment with brand new hardwood floors, in a glamourous and charming Art Deco building from 1929. The sun shines through my window. Birds chirp in the trees outside. A neighbor brews coffee, the smell of which wakes me up better than my cell phone alarm.
I make breakfast in a giant kitchen with so much cabinet space, I use the extra ones to store my books.
I brush my teeth at a pedestal sink and shower al fresco next to an open window, worrying not about what neighbors are watching me (though I'm sure somebody is). The water comes down hot and hard.
I walk downstairs and outside through our front garden and hedges onto a palm tree-lined street, and move the sunglasses from atop my head to across my eyes.
I climb into a brand new Honda Fit, roll down the window, and drive. For 40 minutes on my way to Venice, I flip through LA's various radio formats along the dial - classic rock, old school, smooth jazz, pop, you name it - and sing to my heart's content, pounding my left foot and tapping my left hand on the driver's side door.
I go to an office where music is playing all day. I like my coworkers. There are delicious snacks and drinks in the kitchen. I sit at a desk in the corner, surrounded by Barbie dolls and various other toys that have been released from their storage containers.
I take lunch. I go shopping. I walk down Main Street and meet the neighborhood folks. I order a decaf low-fat cappuccino that comes with a beautiful leaf pattern designed into its foam. I chat up the barista, who is interested in every mundane detail of my acclimation to Los Angeles. I greet the dogs that pass with their owners, and then scratch the scruff of my boss's dog.
I leave on time, feeling confident and accomplished.
I meet up with friends or take myself out on a date. I meet new people. Everyone says "Welcome home."
I return to the apartment which is starting to feel like home, hanging the pink iridescent parking permit off the rear view mirror of my Honda Fit for the night. I listen for sounds of traffic or television or neighbors or bottles, but there are none. I turn out the light, and it is dark.
I sleep well.
And I wake up looking forward to the day ahead.
Sure, LA and I are in the honeymoon phase. Reality may come crashing down at any minute. But for now, while I can, I shall believe that it's all palm trees and sunshine from here on out.
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