I guess it’s called growing up.

I have gone through a whirl wind of emotions the last two weeks. From leaving Toronto, packing up 5 years worth of personal possession in Boston, saying goodbye to my friends and the city of Boston, to setting up my new life in California- including furniture shopping and leasing a car. I’m not quite sure how to process everything, but I do know that this is one of the biggest transitions of my life- and my emotions are definitely a reflection of that.

Let me start with my brief return to Boston- I had less than a week to pack and see friends. For those who know me well, you’ll know that I have various communities of friends in Boston and if I were to see every one of them, I would never have a minute to myself. Unfortunately, my situation didn’t allow me to see everyone but I thoroughly cherished the moments I got to spend with those I saw.

It took me down memory lane starting from 5 years ago when I first started at Emerson College as a freshmen. Ask me what I wanted to do with my career back then? I probably would’ve laughed at you. I had no idea- which could explain my eagerness to study communication. It’s a great skill but not necessary the most practical major to graduate with in this time and age.


With that being said, two years ago, I blindly applied for an internship with a hostel and it’s changed my direction for my career. Aside from learning an immense amount about hospitality and customer service, it’s also planted a seed in me for hospitality. The few days I visited Boston as I caught up with my friends and old coworkers, I found myself in awe of the passion I have as I talked about the hospitality industry. It was very rejuvenating and refreshing to know that I am going in the right path, that for the first time in quite a few years – I am starting to form a vague road map for myself.

Flying into LAX was a very surreal experience. After delays on both my flights and a total of 12 hours of travel, I finally arrived without a return ticket. My life was about to change, but what I didn’t predict was the roller coaster of emotions that I’d go through in the next week.

Moving anywhere requires a lot of investment, financial and emotional but when you’re a city girl moving to Los Angeles, a city where everything is incredibly spread out, all those investments seem to triple. Who knew Ikea, Walmart, Target, and Trader Joes could be so emotionally draining? Buying anything from a bed frame to kitchen knives, they’re all so important but sometimes all I wanted to do was dig myself a hole and climb in.

The emotional roller coaster climbed to the top and was about to fall into huge drop when I realized biking to and from school was not feasible. The image of myself carrying a huge backpack on a bike, going for 30 minutes partly through highway underpasses, and a large part uphill, terrified the shit out of me. Excuse my language.

I’ve hitch hiked in Amsterdam, I’ve missed my flights, I’ve crashed on a motorcycle, I’ve experienced a lot from decisions that were adventurous but not the smartest — and yet, here I am, feeling the most terrified I’ve ever been in my whole life. My head was spinning with images of myself falling off the bike, rolling down a hill, or worse of all, just giving up and sitting on the side of the road panting with terror. My heart was beating as if I’ve just ran a marathon. It was very uncomfortable, but I kept telling myself it’s all part of the transition and adjusting to change.

What came next was long, tedious and a wake up call:

Spending over 8 hours in the car dealership negotiating, waiting, and finally driving off with a car that is my responsibility for the next three years.


Perhaps I’m the only one that was having such a large emotional crisis in this situation, but let me tell you, when you never grew up with a car culture, know nothing about cars, and only acquired your license recently– having to make a decision on what car would be best for me — is not the most pleasant experience.

But it was growing up. 

I was growing up fast. I was being forced to learn, and take responsibilities I wasn’t ready to.

It was just what I needed, and to be frank, part of the reason why I knew I needed to come out here to a world unknown and unfamiliar to me. I knew myself well enough that if I didn’t submerse myself into discomfort, I’d never learn the way I did yesterday.

I cannot thank my family enough for the continuous support. They didn’t have to let me continue studying, move to LA where I’d have to invest in a lot financially, and more importantly, they could’ve saved me the emotional crisis if they had made it a requirement to move home. I’m the baby in the family, and I feel like I’m finally starting to grow up in a way I have never felt before.

It’s very uncomfortable but the best adventures in my life have always been through times of discomfort.

Published by Joanne Lam

📍 Toronto | STRONG w Joanne 💪 MovNat ACE & Agatsu Kettlebell Certified 🎯 Commit Confidence Consistency

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