Before I moved to Newport Beach, I had some preconceived notions of the kind of things I would find there.
And while a lot of these ideas fulfilled my expectations, such as the fact that beach volleyball is an epidemic and sand is literally everywhere (even in my bedroom), I did discover a few things while living and working in California that I did not expect to find.
- I am super not cut out for a 9-5 office job. Nope. Not at all. And I hesitate to say that because it makes me sound slightly lazy and immature, like I can’t handle the hours being an adult demands. But when I start to eat stale donuts every 40 minutes just for an excuse to get up and go to the break room, there’s this little voice in my head that says, “Julia, you are better than stale donuts.”
- Hollywood is like the unkempt stepchild of what you actually think it will be. Hollywood, like the real Hollywood strip, is not pretty. It is not gleaming and ritzy. There are people dressed in saggy Cookie Monster costumes trying to get pictures with you and generally pushy “musicians” who just really want you to buy their CDs. Oh, and Nicolas Cage has two stars on the Walk of Fame. If that’s not a reason Hollywood is a disappointment I don’t know what is.
- Going to parties in LA will in fact make you feel as cool as you think it will. Yes, I dabbled in exactly two LA parties. And yes, I will tell everyone. But before I went I was all, “I won’t fit in. And everyone will know because I still think hoop earrings count as dressing up.” And while it is true that almost everyone at these parties had better fashion sense than me, just being there upped my coolness level by at least 15%. Plus when you go to parties in LA you get to meet really interesting people, like indie actors and the nice food truck man who gives you free garlic bread.
- World of Color at California Adventure will change your life. Prior to going to Disneyland and discovering this for myself, I was skeptical of World of Color. People who had seen it described it as this laser light show and I was all, “Big whoop. My grandpa has a light-up fountain in his pond that is probably almost as cool.” FALSE. World of Color is a 20-minute rainbow explosion that will make you feel like Walt Disney himself is tap dancing on your heart strings.
- Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to make a career of it. After spending almost four months running social media for a nonprofit, I know I can hold my own in Facebook posts and scheduling tweets. But just because I’m good at this doesn’t mean I should feel obligated to only pursue jobs in this field. I’m really good at eating Oreos too, but dedicating 40 hours a week to this activity probably wouldn’t make me that happy. Probably.
- Don’t try to take cute pictures of stuff while riding a bike down a crowded boardwalk. Just don’t.
- Running on the beach makes you feel super epic. Sometimes I even listened to really melancholy music on my iPod at the same time. I just like pretending I’m in a movie, okay?
- Everyone has some fangirl in them. I’ve always hated those videos of people bombarding celebrities. Like, really? Leave the poor Biebs alone. But it turns out that when you see a celebrity, this crazy animal instinct takes over and the only thing in your mind is, MUST INSTAGRAM SELF WITH FAMOUS PERSON. I basically accosted Mark Zuckerberg’s sister. As in, I didn’t let her leave a building until she had taken a picture with me. And she’s barely even a celebrity.
- Acai bowls. It’s like a glamorous version of fast food. Only they don’t taste like shame.
- Seek to get out of your comfort zone. Foster different friendships. Initiate coffee with your new boss. Run naked into the ocean even if your bikini bottoms get washed away. Pushing past the familiar opens doors to little adventures and awesome stories.