A Toast To Twenty-Somethings

January 31, 2008

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The lovely expanse of water behind L and me is her boyfriend JT’s grandmother’s backyard. Last weekend L came down from San Francisco with her boyfriend JT, who is originally from Newport. His grandmother, an amazing woman, lives right on Newport Bay, on Balboa Island, to be more specific. JT took us out in his grandmother’s boat, into the bay, and later into the ocean. We would have stayed out for a long time if the day hadn’t been so cold and rainy.

Can I just tell you how amazing it was to see L?!?! I’m not even going to try. I love her…love her.

I could write so much more about the weekend, and I hope to soon. Right now, however, I don’t have a whole lot of time to compile good enough writing to describe what a great weekend we had last weekend. The whole weekend, I felt so fortunate to be young. It felt so fabulous to be with L, and so right when we got together with JT and D and just spent time together. And then there was this picture of JT’s grandmother when she was young:

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L and I are going to take pictures similar to this one this summer. It’s our tribute to our youth. I feel so young and fabulous right now. I totally have a job on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. I can see the ocean while I’m driving to work. We also landed a fantastic apartment today — we just need to go in and sign the paperwork and hand over the money. It’s perfect. We’re excited.

Oh, youth, how I love thee.

Quick Update…

January 31, 2008

It’s about 12 minutes before I start my second day at work. It’s going well — thanks so much for the well-wishes. Yesterday after work I went for a walk by the beach, which is about a mile or less from work. Then D’s brother G, one of G’s friends, and I went to see 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Arclight theatre on Sunset Boulevard. 2001 was great, but I never want to see it again. It’s bizarre. As a lover of bizarre movies, I did not mind it’s bizarre-ety, but as a tired working girl, I had to hold my eyes open to stay awake.

I’m so behind on blogging right now — there’s so much I want to write about, but the past few days of moving to yet another friends’ home, looking for an apartment, and starting a new job have taken up quite a bit of time.

My great news of the day is that I got to work in 30 minutes today because I left earlier than yesterday and took a different route. Traffic was no problem.

I’m off to the ol’ daily grind.

It’s amazing how just seeing your best friend can fill your life with an aura of calm that you have not felt for a long, long time. That aura of calm definitely enveloped me when best friend L arrived on Thursday evening. It increased its envelopment of me when, on Friday afternoon, I received a call from my future employer, offering me a job.

Beginning Wednesday, I am employed as an assistant by a small, privately owned, organic juice company in Santa Monica. My work place is about four blocks from where Roommate J works and about a mile from the beach.

Oh, the exuberance. I am not a screamer nor a jumper, but if I were, screaming and jumping would ensue. Over the weekend, Roommates J and J and I also found a promising apartment.

I’d like to tell you a lot about all the incredible things we did this weekend, but that will have to wait until I have more time. Thanks for reading, friends and family, and thanks for praying for me. I appreciate your support and excitement.

Hugs.

Yesterday, while searching for a specific apartment in the Los Angeles area, I realized that in the past three weeks, I’ve learned a ton of stuff. It hasn’t been the book learning that college gave, but a multitude of city smarts that have rained down on me because I’ve had to use them. They always say the best way to learn something is to immerse yourself in it.

So, without further ado, here are a few things these last weeks have taught me:

– Where NOT to look for an apartment in LA. Before this, I had a general idea, which basically came down to NOT COMPTON. There is a certain rapper that Roommate J uses as her guide. “In one song, he does shout-outs to different parts of LA,” she says. “Any place he shouts out to, we should not live.” Just the same, I have a much better picture now of what is shady and what is acceptable from actually driving through the places.

– How to use a Thomas Guide. Before coming out here, many people recommended that I purchase a Thomas Guide for both Orange and Los Angeles Counties. I did so. At first it was quite confusing, but I figured that there must be something to it because everyone loved it so much. Gradually I am learning how to use it. A Thomas Guide is a huge book with maps in it of every street in LA, even the little itty bitties. My recommendation to any LA newcomer is now, also, to get a Thomas Guide.

– The directions of each of the highways and which are the worst for driving. (I’ve even begun placing the Californian “the” in front of highway numbers, as if each highway is an entity unto its own.) Stay away from the 405 and the 5 as much as possible. The 10 West turns into the Pacific Coast Highway.

– Parallel parking. I’ve always known how to parallel, but man I’m good at it now. I can even do it on the left.

– Excellent interview questions to ask. Roommate J’s aunt gave us advice on this, and so far it’s worked — I got called back for a second interview at a job where I asked the following questions: What process are you using to choose the candidate for this position? What does the timeline look like? Where do you see the company going in the future? Based upon the qualifications, experience, and skills we’ve discussed today, how do you think I fit into this position? That way if they are hesitant to hire you because of something, you can answer their fears right in the interview.

– The general commute time for most LA people is about 45 minutes. It’s rarely less. I can do this. I’ve done it before.

– Don’t try to get anywhere when it’s rained. Any type of weather will freak out the Californians. Accidents will occur. After work, go to a restaurant and wait it out, otherwise it will take you one hour to drive three blocks on Santa Monica Boulevard.

– If you go in to Westside Rentals to start an account, be sure to speak of your financial situation loud enough so that an innocent bystander will hear your plea, slip you a note, and offer to let you use his account free of charge. Then quietly sneak out a few moments after him, meet him up the street, and have a new contact in a guy who has lived in LA for the past seven years and is in a band that once opened for Alice in Chains. And as a thank you, give him some publicity on your blog. Click here.

The Storm After the Calm

January 22, 2008

It seems that each time ultimate trust and hope and faith wash over me during this moving process, the day after is twice as harrowing. This morning I got a hold of the person I needed to talk to for that initial museum job that I had applied for, and that one is a no-go. However, I did apply for four other positions there, and she said that my information is currently under review. So, more waiting. More patience. More diligence. More trust. More faith.

You’d think faith would get easier with practice.

Today I am calling the landlords of that apartment we really, really want to negotiate some more.

In other news, D gave me a cold. Drat.

How amazing would it have been to live in Hollywood during its golden age, back when it was all about fur coats and glamor and long cigarettes and coifs, before people acknowledged that Frank Sinatra was a jerk and Bing Crosby beat his children, before Marilyn Monroe committed suicide (or did the Kennedys kill her to prevent the scandal of her involvement with their sons?) and before Lucy and Desi split? Now it seems odd to think of this place as the setting of what went before it. It is about dollars and producers and shallow connections, connections you could later shove downward to elevate yourself. The street cleaners don’t really clean the streets anymore. They just give the city an excuse to hand out tickets.

This morning the street sweepers came between 8 and 10, so I got up early to move my car from its parking spot on the left side of the street to the right side. A tree had dumped woody gunk all over my windshield. It rained last night. I looked in the back seat of my car to pull out my planner – I have to call the Director of Human Resources at that museum today to see what the next step is in the job process – and had to dig through a bag of stuff. Yesterday roommate J and I became nomads.

Though living in suburbia was quiet and calm and clean, it wasn’t the Los Angeles that J and I sought. Now that Hollywood Boulevard is just a block away (I had to park about a half mile away from the apartment where we’re staying) the city has emerged all around us. We’ve already been advised to purchase safety clubs for our cars. We will take the advice.

The area we are in is residential and full of well-kept houses with middle- to upper-class cars out front, so it doesn’t appear to be dangerous. Still, we adhere to the street smarts we know: try not to go out alone at night, call to check in, lock your car doors while you’re driving, bring a boy. D encouraged me to get some pepper spray to carry in my purse, just as a precaution. Perhaps I will go on a safety shopping spree and get the club, the pepper spray, steel knuckles, chaps, protective glasses, a gas mask, a flame thrower, and a helmet all in one trip. You can never be too safe.

Today is a holiday for many workplaces, so plans are on hold. I spoke to the landlord of the apartment we are dying to have, and I negotiated a little. I’m a good tenant, I told her. Just call my references. I have plenty of money in my checking account. I will soon have a job. I have never paid rent late. I have excellent credit. I can give you additional rental references and even character references if you need them.

Last night before J and I left my relatives’ home, where we were previously staying, they told us that if we really wanted the apartment, we should pray over it when we handed in our paperwork and claim it. “Have faith that God will give it to you,” they said. “You have his favor.”

They made the distinction between faith and hope as if hope is a fleeting, ungodly thing, and faith is complete trust in God. I could’ve prayed over that apartment when I was there. I could’ve claimed it. But what if God has something else? I am not putting my faith in that apartment. I am putting my faith in God, and I will not set up limitations for him in my mind. It seems like the perfect place, but in the past, many things have seemed perfect that weren’t: that guy I hoped to someday marry, that make and model of car I really wanted, those plans I had in college. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. I hope that we will get this apartment. I have faith that God will take care of us, even if we don’t get this apartment.

And the same goes for this job. This museum job would be amazing. Every time I’ve mentioned to someone that I had a phone interview there, they blink a few times. “Seriously?” I was shaking with excitement when I got a call to initially schedule an interview. There? You’re calling me from that place? Seriously? Roommate J’s mouth dropped when I told her. “Ann,” she said, “that’s prestigious!”

I hope for this job. I repeat, it would be uh.may.zing. But my faith doesn’t lie in a job. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

Yesterday J, her friend A, and I went to First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. This is the fourth church I’ve been to since my arrival here. Each church has been distinct. First there was the sparkly, white-toothed, high-fashioned church that I will not go back to. I left disheartened that a church could focus more on the accumulation of things, on judging God’s love according to his bestowal of material wealth, than on the sacrifice of Christ.

The church of yesterday was a complete 180. Amid Hollywood’s moral crumbling, all the drunkenness and prostitution and dishonesty and violations and selfishness rests a church that is dynamic because it has to be. The homeless use its steps to sleep. This church is attractive because yesterday we applauded a woman who had attended a Martin Luther King, Jr. march in 1965 and helped one of the first African American families find a home in the area. It’s about doing more than talking. It’s about building a future that exemplifies the innate dignity of all people, home or no home, wealth or no wealth, and it builds that future in the name of Christ.

In every church that I have attended so far, in some form or another, a lyric has shown up on that big screen, a lyric that became part of my legacy back in high school, back when I was deciding if I was going to really pursue this belief in God or turn the other way: This is my story, this is my song. At this time in my life, when I am untangling all these unknowns, it is good to know that all this is my story, and all this is my song, and I am praising my Savior all the day long.

…patience and diligence.

Definitely patience and diligence. I keep reassuring myself of that truth because I just need to be patient and wait because the right job and the right apartment will come. They just may not be as soon as I’d like them.

Today we handed in paperwork for an apartment we really, really want. It’s in the perfect location, at the perfect price, with the perfect amount of character and the perfect amount of closet space. The only problem is that I don’t have a job yet, so the landlords, understandably, want a co-signer. It’s a three-bedroom apartment, so Roommate J recruited her friend, who is also a J, to fill the third spot. The only problem is that the co-signer has to agree to pay the full price of the apartment, not just the chunk of money that would cover one person. We could all get our parents to co-sign for each of us. But none of them, understandably, want to sign for all of us. So, that’s where we’re at. I just keep praying that something will happen, and happen quickly. On Monday, I will find out if I made it for a second interview at one of my original interviews, and I am also calling back the Human Resources Director at that art museum to see where we’re at. If those fall through, it’s back to square one.

Patience and diligence. Patience and diligence.

And naps.

The cool thing is though that Roommate J and I are moving up to Hollywood this weekend to couch surf until the jobs and apartment come together. Roommate J got a job in Santa Monica, so she needs to be close to it (it’s a 2-hour+ commute to Santa Monica from here) and because I need to be close to her so we can make plans, I decided this would be a good time for me to move up there as well. I will probably be better able to search for a job from Hollywood.

So, that’s that. I’m about to pray for more patience and diligence (and for that apartment), and then I’m going to take a nap. Then pack up my stuff. Here we go again on another step of the adventure. Sometimes I wish I weren’t so cautious because I am often filled with anxiety, but I just have to keep reminding myself that doors have been opening from the beginning, and any time a door has closed, another has opened.

Darn cliches.

Second job interview down, who knows! how many more to go.

The funny thing about looking for a job is that you never know where you’ll end up or what you’ll get. I had another interview today, and while the interview practice is certainly beneficial, it always amazes me the incredible diversity of jobs that lie in highly populated areas.

Today roommate J and I are in Santa Monica. The perfect little deal worked out for us. Last week I scheduled an appointment for an interview at 9 a.m. this morning. J and I went shopping one evening for an inexpensive article of professional clothing for me (I scored a terrific black suit coat at express for only $30, and it fits me like it was tailored for me), and while we were driving to the mall, she got a call to come in for an interview at 9:30 on the same day. So, today we are spending the day in Santa Monica, interviewing, looking for apartments, looking very successful and business-like (part of the fun for us is definitely dressing the part), and finally getting a glimpse of what this move really means for both of us. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here. I am still a little nervous about finding a job. Out of all the resumes I’ve sent out, I’ve only gotten two calls back. The person I had a phone interview with at the art museum encouraged me to also apply for some of their other positions, and to CC her in the application e-mails, so I hope that I have a connection there that might help me get my foot in the door.

The job I interviewed for today is only half a mile from where J is interviewing. Today we are looking at an apartment that is only five miles from both these places. We discovered this when we were up late last night preparing for our interviews. It was very exciting to us. It would be so terrific if we could commute together.

A few things have happened in the last few days that have filled me with a significant degree of anxiety. The most significant of these happened yesterday evening, and I have another bump in the road of this whole moving situation to overcome. I know these types of hurdles will always emerge in any situation with much change and many unknowns. Still. I have talked to my mother and my boyfriend and Roommate J about the situation and have a degree of certainty of what I will do. I can’t talk about it because it concerns other people, but again, if you are the praying kind, please lift me up. I am about to go through yet another huge change.

My first official interview took place this morning.  I wore my pajamas to it.  And it took place in my car.

It was a phone interview.

It went well — at least I think it did — but it’s hard to tell with interviews.  I was surprised that I had gotten a call about the job because I figured the competition would be the highest at this particular museum. The person who interviewed me was very kind, and she encouraged me to apply for a few other positions as well. That gave me some hope, but we’ll see.

Roommate J got a call last night for a job interview in Santa Monica. Her interviewer wants her to come in at 9:30. The funny thing is that I also have a job interview tomorrow in Santa Monica at 9. We are going to go up there together for the day, and we’ve set up a few appointments to look at apartments. I’m excited. It’ll be fun.

Now we’re going for a walk. Thanks for the encouragement and the prayers. Now it’s just a matter of seeing what happens.

…and it’s only for the most beautiful, biggest art museum in Los Angeles.

I just got a phone call to set up a phone interview for tomorrow. I have flutteries in my stomach. If you are the praying kind, please lift me up.

Thanks.