Welcome to L.A. @allisonkc! I hope you’ll find that the best way to fight the consumption and vapidity (which, I’m loathe to admit as an Angeleno, does exist in various degrees) is to really get to know the part of town where you end up settling – at least start there, and then just keep going. There’s so much more to do and see here than any one post can do justice to, and you can literally find something new to experience (and even more important, something new to eat! ) close by every day, where-ever you are. Find yourself a local go-to taco stand, dim sum joint, public library, dive bar, coffee roaster, art gallery, pocket park, what have you. If you don’t find something that fits right away, just keep looking – I guarantee you’ll find it here eventually, whatever “it” happens to be. Then get to know the people there looking for the same “it” and they’ll be more than willing to guide you to whatever else you’re looking for (…we’re friendlier than we look like on TV, but it’s true that we never shut up about the traffic…).
The wealth disparity doesn’t have an easy answer, and you’ll probably get a front row view of some aspect of that every day as well, but maybe we can all combat that to some small degree with the same strategy – be where we are, experience and appreciate what’s around us – I find that’s the best way of pushing back against the bad kind of gentrification.
OK, I should stop talking now, but I’ll leave with this: Just keep your eyes open, and you’ll find lots to love about this place (which I suppose is true of any place, not just L.A.). But you’re an AO reader, and you probably already do that, so I have faith that you’ll get your footing here soon enough. Also, really do keep your eyes open because there are a lot of cars out here…