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L.A. Affairs: How did I find my amazing apartment? I went on a terrible first date


“Simply be certain to not order an excessive amount of meals, as a result of I solely introduced a sure amount of cash with me.”

My date stated this to me after the waiter at Bossa Nova handed us our menus. It was a Saturday night time in Hollywood, and this was my first date in Los Angeles after being provided a job at UCLA. I had been trying ahead to a date with a sizzling new man to have fun my accomplishment and my impending transfer to L.A.

I had lived in San Diego for 20 years. I moved there from Chino, my hometown, to attend San Diego State College, and I spent a few years as an government assistant in larger training. Through the years, most of my closest buddies relocated to L.A., and life in San Diego turned rather a lot lonelier. Between 2016 and 2018, I misplaced my father to Alzheimer’s, a boyfriend to drug dependancy, and my confidence and enthusiasm for assembly anybody new and reliable.

In 2021, after nailing my UCLA interview, I used to be lastly prepared to maneuver to L.A. I used to be absolutely vaccinated and had stimulus checks saved in my checking account. However which L.A. neighborhood would I name house? I couldn’t presumably afford the deluxe properties of Brentwood, however I additionally didn’t need to spend hours in site visitors attempting to get to my most popular Eastside and Valley neighborhoods — Eagle Rock, Glendale or South Pasadena.

The week of my UCLA interview, I crashed at my buddy Kim’s home in El Sereno. Whereas at her place, I used to be chatting with Antonio on the relationship app Hinge. He was of Brazilian descent, tall, darkish and good-looking, and he was a professor from Mid-Wilshire who was very charming through textual content. Because the daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, I used to be excited to fulfill a fellow South American.

Rising up Latina in Southern California however not of Mexican descent has all the time made me really feel like an outsider. Residing biculturally comes with many distinctive challenges, resembling translating paperwork to your dad and mom whereas attempting to finish your Shakespeare homework and explaining to your dad and mom what promenade is and why it’s vital.

Then there’s that further feeling of not belonging to a selected tradition or place (for instance, telling my Mexican American school roommate that I grew up consuming pan as a substitute of tortillas and ají as a substitute of salsa verde). This has been my lifelong wrestle, and the potential of discovering an individual who may empathize in my soon-to-be metropolis excited me that afternoon in El Sereno as I exchanged messages with a good-looking stranger.

As I strolled the world behind Cal State L.A. with Kim, Antonio known as and requested if I’d need to meet for dinner that night time.

“I stay at Park La Brea. You understand it, proper?”

“Umm, no,” I stated, “however I can Google it.”

“You possibly can park at my place, and I’ll drive us to the Grove.”

He appeared a pleasant sufficient man, and I preferred that he had a plan — a rarity on this planet of relationship apps — so I agreed.

Seems that Park La Brea is a behemoth of an house complicated. It took me not less than quarter-hour to determine tips on how to enter the complicated itself, after which I drove round looking for which constructing Antonio was in. I lastly discovered him. He wore a flowing, button-up shirt excellent for the nice and cozy July night time, and he had a large smile on his face. He guided me the place to park in that beast of a car parking zone, after which we have been on our solution to the Grove.

Though a local Angeleno, Antonio didn’t notice that the Farmers Market subsequent to the Grove closes early. After seeing the meals stalls locked and the dimmed lights, he advised we go to a Brazilian restaurant.

“It’s actually good. I feel you’ll prefer it,” he stated.

As we waited to get out of the Farmers Market car parking zone, there was an idled black BMW in entrance of us blocking the exit. I figured the motive force was on the telephone. As a substitute of giving a light-weight faucet on his automotive horn, Antonio put his Jeep in park, jumped out of the motive force’s seat and walked as much as the motive force’s aspect of the automotive.

I ought to point out that Antonio was a bit of over 6 toes tall, with a muscular construct and shaved head, and he had a bravado about him that will make anybody nervous, particularly if he stood outdoors somebody’s driver’s aspect window at night time.

The BMW sped off, and Antonio hopped again within the Jeep.

“What occurred? What did you say?” I requested.

“Aw, he simply wanted a bit of wake-up.”

At that time, I ought to’ve requested to be taken again to my automotive, however my need to keep away from battle and my starvation outweighed my apprehension at Antonio’s bizarre habits.

We arrived at Bossa Nova restaurant on Sundown Boulevard pretty shortly. Whereas searching for parking, I observed how good a few of the house complexes on Hawthorn Avenue have been. I noticed twinkling lights hanging from a balcony and big blue and gold flags waving within the mild summer time breeze that introduced “for hire” prospects for buildings not usually recognized to have vacancies. I may scent jasmine within the air, and I noticed the little white flowers bursting from the deep inexperienced bushes that adorned the entrance of the previous Hollywood buildings.

“That is type of a cute neighborhood,” I stated.

Antonio gave a fast look round and stated, “Eh, it’s kinda trashy.”

As soon as Antonio made it abundantly clear that he had little interest in spending extra on me than you’ll at a Farmers Market stall, that he was an anti-vaxxer, wasn’t actually a professor however a karate teacher and was in between gigs, I known as it quits with him — however not with that neighborhood.

Hollywood is a chaotic space, however my charming Nineteen Forties house with crown molding and picket flooring is strolling distance to Bossa Nova. It has been a fantastic first house in L.A. It’s the place I lived after I accomplished a long-distance grasp’s diploma and after I switched jobs from UCLA to USC. And it’s the place my present boyfriend snuggles with me on the sofa as we browse Zillow listings for the following place I can name house.

The creator is a contract author and graduate of UC Riverside’s low-residency MFA program. She is engaged on her first memoir and novel, and she or he proudly lives in L.A. Comply with her on Twitter: @MichellePoveda

L.A. Affairs chronicles the seek for romantic love in all its wonderful expressions within the L.A. space, and we need to hear your true story. We pay $300 for a broadcast essay. E-mail Yow will discover submission tips right here. Yow will discover previous columns right here.


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