A lot of people have asked me, "Why Los Angeles?" as a destination for my long winter trip?
At the beginning, the idea to come here was work-related. I'd been thinking for it for a while, in fact, I have been thinking of doing some work in the States off and on since I was in nursing school. I almost went to Connecticut when I first graduated, and then changed my mind and went to Northern Ontario instead.
This time, I came to a firm-ish decision when I was up in Grise Fiord last spring. It was a cold "spring" there (spring temps are still in the below zero zone at the best of times, but these were down in the -30's much later than one would have expected), and I was getting tired of my eyelashes freezing shut every single time I left the health centre. As I was walking amongst the icebergs frozen in the ocean (it's so cold there that last year's ice doesn't melt before the new stuff forms), watching for wolves and polar bears, I would think, "maybe I could give California a try."
Why California? Well, I wanted ocean, and I wanted less humidity than back home. That eliminates Florida and the Gulf of Mexico states. I wanted warm, which meant California rather than the more northern pacific states, and I didn't want Vancouver-like weather, so ditto there in the elimination department.
Now, why not San Francisco? If I had never been there before, I probably would have picked SF, but I was there last September, and I actually found it to be a little cold! It was a nice place, but it didn't grab me the way I expected it to, and I thought I might want a little warmer, and more beaches.
So why not San Diego, which I hear is a nicer city? When I did my research, it seemed to me that San Diego wouldn't be as interesting; it looked to have a lot of military, elderly, and more conservative population.
I really did want a big city, even though I'm not a big-city person in terms of wanting to live in one my whole life, as I get claustrophobic after a while. However, I've been spending so much time in Nunavut that I am ready to be out of the extreme wilderness for a while, and why not do an extreme city while I'm at it? Both New York and Los Angeles fit my idea of extreme urban, and New York was out for all the other reasons listed above.
Now, all that said, I would also have list of why NOT Los Angeles! Traffic, overuse of cars, city structured for cars, and pollution were biggies on that list. Also, being in America means health insurance is a pain (depending on employment), but I did want to try living in the States awhile, and am eager if I ever do work to see what health care is really like here from the inside.
Last but not least, when I looked at where the jobs were, lots and lots of interesting nurse opportunities seemed to be located here. So, after weighing the pros and cons, I decided to give LA a try.
Of course, wouldn't you know it, just when I get my act in gear for an American work stint, is when their economy melts down, so from what I have heard is that there are way fewer jobs open right now. I am willing to bet they are still hiring though, as they were needing nurses very badly before and health care doesn't just grind to a halt when the economy falters.
Another kink in my plan is that the bureaucracy is moving much more slowly in getting licensed than I had hoped, so I am still working on that. I think both that and looking for work (if I still want to once I have experienced life here) will go easier on the ground in California, rather than doing it remotely in Canada. It may not all get done though before my allowed time as a visitor (6 months) runs out, so I may have to go home for a while and come back later, which is OK too. I figured I might as well come for an extended visit now anyway, whether I ended up finding or even looking for work or not, just for the experience, especially of a winter in a warm climate.
It's fun to be here so far (I just loooooove the pool!), and I have found lots I like about the place, so we'll see how it turns out! Stay tuned!
I'll post more about my apartment and neighborhood next time... haven't wanted to do so too soon since I am still discovering the place.