Dear Ingrid of Two and Half Years Ago,
Move to Los Angeles. I know… I know…from Canada!? Nobody does that! Well, with the one exception being Pamela Anderson. She did it and look at her now.
The move from Toronto to Los Angeles is exactly 2183 miles away and in kilometers it’s even further. It’s so far from home and the logistics are incredibly annoying: packing, getting a working visa, making enough therapy appointments to calm your anxiety before moving…but it’s worth it. Or rather, it will be. It’ll be an all-consuming couple of months but get on that plane, march your tush across the customs boarder and cry out to the heavens: “Love me, America!”
To be honest with you… it will take some time. But everything worthwhile suffers a struggle. Look at Jewel! The girl lived in her car.
New Friends/New Family
You thought you’d move here and everything would fall into it’s perfect place. In a lot of ways, it will. But you’re still going to cry everyday and that won’t change for ohhhh, about…14 months. You’re going to miss your family a lot. You’re going to miss Chinese food on Sundays with your family even more. You’re going to long for the buddies you’ve had since childhood. The ones who respect punctuality. People are always late in LA– get over it now. You’re going to make new friends and constantly compare them to your old friends. “Can she be my new best friend?” No one is going to replace the people who’ve been in your life for 20+ years, but what you’ll soon realize is… you have room for more. One day you will make some really good friends in Los Angeles, friends who feel like family. So even though it seems like every person you meet just wants to go to weird parties in the hills, one day you will find people who hug you even when you’re not crying. And it’ll feel really good.
The Sun Will Always Shine
Rain/snow days are your jam in Canada! But let it go. Staying in bed all day, guilt free because there’s a blistering snow storm outside, just won’t happen. You will feel guilty for wanting to curl up on your couch with a bag of Baked Lays and re-runs of Law & Order: SVU but get over it and more importantly: get into it. Accept the fact that the sun will shine incredibly brightly every single dog gone day, the art of making a winter parka look sexy will hold no weight here and no matter how many rain dances you do… it will never come when you want it to. So take a guilt-free couch day when you need it and pick up the crumbs.
Find Like-Minded People
Go to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and sign up for improvisation comedy classes. Take a writing class. Write a one-woman show! Find a friend to direct it and put it up at the theatre. You have time, so much time, so use it before you lose it. You’ll find it much easier to make friends if you actually surround yourself with people who love and appreciate the same things you do. You dropped out of that print making class for a reason, let’s be real.
Set A Goal and Achieve It
Sign up to RUN (or slow, slow jog) the Los Angeles Marathon. That’s 26.2 miles, girl! Crazy in theory, I get it. Seeing as you almost failed PhysEd three years in a row, but hear me out. Setting a goal and achieving it is like picking up a perfect raspberry out of a box of mushy, rotten berries. It tastes like delicious, fresh, melt in your mouth sherbet.
There will be days in LA when it’ll feel like your career, your relationships, your future… everything is completely out of your hands. And that feeling tastes like the garbage disposal. So, I ask you this: is it going to be sherbet or the garbage disposal?
Sign up for the LA marathon. Train for it with APLA and you will meet up with a group of 45 to 60-year-olds (those are the people who are equally as healthy as you) every Saturday morning at 6am to train. You will tell them stories, they will tell you stories and for 6 months you will train and share your life with these people.
Ignore your entire family who is making long distance phone calls just to make fun of you, since you never worked out a day in your life and make this happen. The day that you cross that finish line will be one of your proudest moments. And lucky for you, you’ll have a group of friends waiting for you at the finish line.
You are the only thing holding yourself back.
Moving to another country (or another city, or even to a new apartment) is tough. Some people find change exciting. In your case, it’s really scary and that’s okay! And you know what? You can always move back to Canada and tell America to check itself. Nothing is permanent. And even though you’ll miss all your old restaurants and hang out spots, do you know what I think you might come to realize? You don’t love Chinese Food. You just love the memories attached to eating that Chinese food. And maybe one day, you’ll meet a group of people in Los Angeles who will start to feel like family and you can all go eat food together. Food that you actually enjoy.
That’s my hope for you, Ingrid.
Your Future Self.
P.S. Don’t be afraid to overdo it on the packing tape. You’ll always miss that one wedge heel that got lost in the shuffle.