OCTOBER 19, 2015 by Jordan Terra
The blazing southern California sun peaks over the rolling hillsides of Glendale. Beaming rays shoot across the sky scattering light through suspended ice crystals littering the low atmosphere. The view steals my breath as I drive a path carved out of the sloping highlands coated in green. The highway, nestled amongst nature and blanketed in fog, curves to reveal rooftops lining the landscape between treetops. My heart, pumping blood, beats faster, and warmth spreads through my body. My first day in Los Angeles, and I’ve already fallen in love
This city opened its arms and swallowed me in its embrace. Ardent but unarmed for the journey that Los Angeles had in store for me, I was pulled under and drug along the bottom of a river of misfortune. Luckily my love was strong enough–not once during my time spent under slum lords, amongst cockroaches, homeless, and penniless, was I tempted to turn and take off.
My first apartment was run by a literal slum lord. My boyfriend at the time moved in, and only weeks into our cohabitation did the health hazards and code violations unfurl before us. The roof was bowing between support beams and stained with water damage that the owner had painted over prior to my arrival. The flat rooftop collected stagnant water and our light fixtures leaked. Uninsulated walls screamed with sounds from every neighbor, our oven billowed scents of downstairs dinner, and, one night, the place almost burned down from a broken stove top that the manager was ignoring.
We escaped in the dead of night. Packed all of our stuff into a loading van and ran. Sleeping in the uhaul for several nights was a welcome relief, but the impending court case that we were mounting against our manager stayed a constant nag in the back our minds.
We finally found a place that seemed too good to be true…
Only one night in, and our 6 legged pests made their first appearance. Constantly counting cockroaches became our life–we could never eat at home, had to check our bed for bugs at night, and spent most of our free time killing an innumerable amount of roaches. The walls were also paper thin, and our bedroom was right next to a 100 year old elevator that would creak and clank through the night. Our place didn’t come with a parking space, so we’d have to walk miles to and from our cars, usually at 7 am before street sweeping left tickets. Our pride made it hard for us to admit that we had moved from one bad situation into a worse one, but after 3 weeks, we had had it. We threatened the landlord, and he let us go.
We spent a whole week slowing packing to absolutely ensure that we didn’t bring any cockroaches with us. We threw out EVERYTHING with the slightest possibility of infestation–our couch, our bed, a quilt that my mom had made me as a child. We loaded up a Uhaul one item at a time once it was checked, shrink wrapped, rechecked, and rewrapped. It took an entire week–usually a one day job. Once we were done, we split, we were free, but the mounting van rentals and moving expenses had us flat broke and homeless.
Cheap motels became safe havens. I would do as much homework as possible at school, take it back to the hotel, and finish everything that I could. We were constantly looking for locations to relocate, but we were terrified. We shot down one place after another. Finding signs of roaches, water damage, and incompetent managers at every turn, our hopes were low and our enthusiasm was fading.
FInally, we found something–a gated condo, with a parking space, ample street parking and no street sweeping, right on the edge of a quaint sloping hillside of southern Glendale. It seemed perfect which made us wary, but, after a night spent in the place, we were hooked, and we could finally breathe.
I was not prepared when I moved to Los Angeles–nothing was perfect and everything was rushed. However, 26 years on Earth has made me realize that nothing ever is perfect. If I hadn’t dived into the unknown head first, took that terrifying first step and let the universe take me on a wild ride, I wouldn’t be here today. If you wait for everything to be in alignment, you’ll never move. The universe pulls us forward in time, but we must steer our own ships towards the destiny that we desire.
Take a leap of faith, don’t be afraid of failure, and trust that something will eventually turn up…