11-Year Dream to Live Abroad
Contributing Author: Salomé Alverola
As a child I was obsessed with the United States. Everyday after school, I was turning on my TV and watching all the Disney Channel’s series and was telling myself “this is where I want to live when I grow older.” It looked like a dream to live there. Everything seemed so “cool” and I remember telling my parents about my idea, but they both laughed and said “Ok, we hope the best for you.”
Dreams of Living Abroad
Eleven (11) years later, I came up again to my parents telling them that I was ready to move to the USA and visit the country for the first time of my life. I wanted to stay there for a minimum of a year, but visas are not that easy to get. So, I started to learn about the different types of visas and the ones that fit me. After all I found the perfect way to come to the USA: J-1 visa as an au pair. This was the best option for me: One year in the freedom land, working, going to school, being fed and having a roof without paying a dime.
Arriving as an Expat
When I arrived, almost everything was exactly the way I expected it, people were very open minded, free spirits, the sounds of the sirens, the pier, the buildings, but human relations was the one hard thing for me to understand.
Six months later, the 20-year-old me hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan.
I right away felt that people were basing their friendship on their self interests. In other words, people friend the individuals that help them succeed. I felt that I wanted to understand more about that particular part, however English was my struggle.
Thankfully, few months later I met my now-husband and thanks to him my English was improved and learned more about the American culture and society.
At some point, I felt homesick, so I decided to create a blog and Instagram to talk about the places I go to and answer questions of the French and other nationalities who wanted to visit Los Angeles and who wanted to have the best experience and get local tips. Thanks to those social media outlets, I met a ton of people and made French expat friends.
Love Goes Strong
After almost 7 years in this city, I still love my life in Los Angeles; I live in the city where all the ideas, concepts, artists, architectures are born. Los Angeles is cosmopolite, I see it as an anthill with plenty of people working and seeking success. But probably what I love the most is that we can drive about one hour from the craziness of the city and be in peace with the nature. Surely, Los Angeles has my heart.
Places to Visit in Los Angeles
I love giving advices and helping the people to get the best memories of their trip. So if I can give few tips to consider about moving / Visiting Los Angeles it would be:
- Live in a good and fun neighborhood. I really like West Hollywood, Beverly. Hills and Westwood because it is in the middle of the city but you can also stay in Santa Monica, Century City, Silverlake, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey…
- Live close to your work or school because traffic in Los Angeles is a hassle.
- If you have kids, live close to good schools.
- Get a health insurance in your country, because hospitals are very pricey and you should do it even if you are on vacations, falling off an electric scooter can happen faster than you think.
- If you are visiting, to me the best period to come is from September to November. I just feel that the weather is perfect during those months.
- Visit the tourist places but don’t stay too long, there are much more to see somewhere else.
- And have a lot a fun discovering and enjoying the city and don’t be afraid to drive a lot!
Los Angeles is nice when you visit it, but it is even nicer when you live in it. There are plenty of things to do. Try and eat in the city of Angels and it is hard to get bored. Unfortunately, it also costs a lot of money.