An English Woman in LA – A brief look back at 2015

Alright, that title is a slight cheat, as I only spent just over 10% of the year in LA (38 days out of 365), but hey, its the second longest period I spent anywhere, so…

Fine, the year started off badly, when in mid January, I was told that I was being made redundant (again, 3rd time) by the company I’d worked for, for 6 years, so this time I decided to take the hint, and take the money and run. No, thats not the video, or the one you might be expecting from the blog title. See, been told lol! I actually left there at the end of March, and if you’d told me that 9 months later I would still be out of work, well…ah well, too late now!

The main thing that allowed me to do, was extend my stay in Hollywood, in April. To be honest, I wondered how I would take to life in ‘Tinsel Town’, but took to it like a duck to water. Fine, 10 days wasnt enough (would have been 7), and I pledged to return. Fine, I wasnt expecting it to be 6 months later, but more on that shortly.

I came back, and started job hunting, with no success. It might be age, but more likely, its the current recruitment infatuation with competency based questions that didnt help. Thankfully, I had the money to help me cope with this. Anyway, by August, I’d reached breaking point with this matter, and was about to snap. So despite having a week in Cape Cod with a US friend booked for mid September, I took a dramatic step! I booked a 4 week stay, in a rented apartment in Hollywood, up in the Hills, best thing I’ve ever done. Oh, and that is so much more fun than a hotel room, even if the place isnt (strictly) your own. Oh, and btw, 38 days in LA still isnt enough, but anyway…enough on that, plans are already in hand, should the chance arise!

The one thing that wonderful trip stopped me doing sooner, was changing my name, as I’d had planned for a couple of months by then. But straight after I got back, the deed was done, and my name is now officially Harlean, even though to some, I will always be Steph, or Stephanie, I guess. Main reason I kept Stephanie as my middle name, rather than Jean lol!

Now, finally (due to needing the passport as ID for job applications) the old passport has gone back, and the last trace of Stevie Nicholls will be no more. Yes, I’m really looking forward to going to the US, as Harlean, when money, and time permit.

So fine, what have I been for a lot of this year? A California girl, just maybe? Yes, its the Katy Perry song, but its not Katy! Its a rather excellent parody by Sarah Gregory, and Mark Douglas, whoever they may be? It is rather good, mind.

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Becoming a California Girl

OK, so lets catch up on things so far. Not that there was really much to report for the first couple of days, but after today, there’s more than enough lol.

Wednesday: Flights were smooth enough, the bit in between was entertaining though. Now I knew that when I got to Atlanta, I could go to the automated machines to pass through Immigration, and that was the plan. Only…I ran into Miss Jobsworth, who insisted I had to go join the lengthy queue to go through Immigration in the old fashioned way. So, 15 minutes took an hour and a half, only to be told by the guy on the desk that I neednt be doing this. When I told him I knew that, and told him what had happened, his comment was something akin to “You must have run into…”, and he passed me through very quickly. Then when I finally got to security, something set the machine off (I have no idea what?), which slowed me even more. Eventually a 2.5 hour gap before boarding for the LA plan, ended up being just under 20 minutes!

Oh, and the shuttle. Now, whether the guy had given the right address or not (I think we ended up dropping him at the East address, and he’d given it as West), but the sat-nav didnt want to go in the right direction. Eventually the guy sorted out where he wanted to be, and we dropped him off. Finally (3rd drop in van), we got to me, but despite telling her we were at the right place, she sailed by, and in a narrow road, it took her a while to find somewhere to turn round. But finally, about 9.30, I arrived.

The apartment is cute, and I love it, but the bed really is something else. I knew I had to climb up (literally) to get into it, but its even better than the picture suggested. I will have to move the cases, and take a picture sometime! That was it, grabbed nightwear, and to bed. Bed is very comfortable, btw.

Yesterday, really little happened.I got unpacked, and settled in. Did some shopping, caught up on the net, and…not a lot else. I did go down to the Boulevard in the afternoon, but principally for a very nice ice cream, and that was it. I did go and visit Jean’s prints at the Chinese Theatre, and her star across the road, but that really was it.

So to today. The one main place I wanted to visit last time, and didnt get to, was Long Beach. Mainly to see the Queen Mary, but it looked an interesting trip anyway. Oh, right, for those with a memory, the metro line goes through Watts, and Compton. Made for an interesting crowd on the train, shall we say? Yes, I survived, and got to see an English lady, far older than me, the Queen Mary! No, I didnt go on board, I am trying to be sensible with money, and $27 minimum to get on board (for not that long) seemed a bit daft to me. But I paid my respects.

The weekend should be relatively calm, though I will have to go shopping for bread, if nothing else tomorrow. Beyond that, a little college football on TV is quite likely. Hopefully, my team (Kansas State) against Kate’s team (Oklahoma State), but not sure if I will get that here? Sunday, a mix of NFL on TV (there is a game in London, which kicks off 6.30 am, my time), and meeting up with someone I met in April early afternoon, is promising me a tour, which I suspect is either going to be going up near the sign, or more likely something Jean related. More on that on Monday or Tuesday, I’m sure. I may, or may not get to the Dodgers baseball tomorrow night, we shall see.

Fine, the video. Well, I could cheekily say this is about me!