This post is intended to put into perspective the shocking experience I have lived adapting myself to live in LA. I come from a very small town called Ayacucho, which lays in the center of Buenos Aires province in Argentina. Ayacucho has a population of 18 thousand people. Yeah, just 18K. Let me show you the size of the city:
Yup, that’s it. It is smaller than Downtown LA. I am studying a Masters in Computer Science with Specialization in Data Science, so I love statistics and to see everything compared with numbers. Thus, let’s put this into numbers with some examples, so that to get the dimension of such a change:
- According to Google USC has more than 40K students, more than 200% more people than in Ayacucho. Wow. The university where I got my undergrad has approximately 1000 students, and I thought it was huge.
- The Staples Center has capacity for 21K people, ie, we could gather all the people living in my town and there would be some extra space, lol.
- We have two very well-known cafes, and a small bunch of clubs where you can buy a coffee, whereas here we have a Starbucks cafe every two blocks. This is nothing compared to Manhattan, where the number of cafes increases exponentially.
- According to this post a person living in LA spends an average time of 81 hours per year stuck in traffic jams. You can literally make 324 round-trips to Ayacucho in that time. Such an astonishing number. This is really frustrating because it took me no more than 10 minutes to go from my house to my friends’ houses, while here I spend no less than one hour in Uber or public transportation to go to wherever I want to (Hollywood, Griffith Park, Santa Monica, and so on).
- The most popular sport in Argentina and, hence, in Ayacucho is Soccer (Football for us). The team that gathers the most amount of people to the field is Club Sarmiento, which in its glorious times had more than 200 people supporting it. Here, USC’s football team has more than 40 times that number of supporters.
- Finally, a funny fact: There are more than 1500 flights going in and out LAX per day! What is more, according to this article there are more than 200,000 passengers per day! Yup, the entire Ayacucho population can take a round-trip 5 times to reach that number. Now I understand why it was so overwhelming to be in the airport.
The list can be endless, since you can find examples for everything else, but I think that is enough to measure how shocking it was to come here for the first time in my life. So whenever someone asks me how the adaptation was, you can understand how difficult it is to explain. I think several people have lived something similar, but living it in first person can be really tough. My wife and me struggled to feel that we fit into the society, but once we got used to it we started living the best of our experiences.
For the next post I am going to write about my experience during the first semester, on which I did a lot of things from going to ski and trekking to meeting my favorite NBA player (Manu Ginobili, of course) in person and being filmed by ESPN at that moment. So stay tuned!