I can't believe that I have already been in L.A./Pasadena for more than two weeks! While I really like it out here, I was surprised at how different it felt and how much I felt like an East-coaster when I first arrived (and still do).
I immediately noticed the laid-back and slower pace here. And everything seems more complicated and expensive than it needs to be in order to be unique or trendy. I remember my first morning in Pasadena. I wanted to grab a quick coffee before my orientation at The Huntington. I heard good things about Philz Coffee, so I decided to try it. I walked in and there was this weird line and seating area. When I finally figured out where to go, the barista called me up and asked me what I wanted. I ordered a small, light-roast coffee. I thought it was a simple order, but it led into a 15 minute conversation about what kind of taste profile I was looking for in my coffee (since they had a ridiculous 20+ roasts to choose from). Eventually, I just told the barista I was in a hurry and she could pick. Then they make you sit while they do the (very) slow poor over. But you can't pay while you wait, you have to taste before you can pay. Twenty five minutes later I had my coffee. In that moment all I wanted was my Dunkin Donuts lol.
That said, the laid-back mentality and attention to detail does pay off in lots of ways. Everything here seems to be on trend and well branded, they certainly understand the power of design and typography. The food is also super healthy and delicious. So many salads, so little time!
Speaking of health, there seem to be a gazillion ways to work out here. But, you can't just join a gym, you have to pick a workout trend -- The Bar Method, pilate machines, arial fitness, and Soul Cycle, just to name a few. I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and try Soul Cycle. I basically eye-rolled my way through my first class and marveled at how everyone's upper bodies seemed detached from their legs. After about a week of desperately trying to catch that beat, it finally clicked and I started to enjoy it. Although, I am still not loving the all of the spiritual uplifting early in the morning. Also everyone here is really into crystals. Not sure what to make of this.
In addition to everyone's obsession with being healthy and trendy, everyone name drops... a lot. And if they are not mentioning who they know, they are telling you about all of the amazing things they are doing. I guess this is natural, since there are so many famous people here, but I still find it funny (I am already guilty of this... Did I mention I saw Mindy Kaling?).
But the biggest surprise was how massive L.A. is. I was not expecting Beverly Hills and Hollywood to be an hour away (and don't get me started on the traffic, so glad I don't have a car here). In my mind, the famous sights like Grauman's Chinese Theatre, LACMA, and Melrose were all in the same general area. Nope, it is huge. I have spent much of my free time Ubering and riding the metro just to try and see the main attractions.
Overall though, I do like the L.A. area and I am fortunate to be able to come out here and work at The Huntington. I still have lots of things I want to see, so I am hoping I can make the most of my remaining free time.
What's on your must see list in L.A.?