I’m really grateful that right now I get to live in Los Angeles for a lot of reasons.
I know this city has its bleak side, its cold and cruel aspects. I know that it is a hard place for a lot of people, the entertainment industry chews people up and spits them out, it is a place of contrasts and false fronts and horribly inflated everything. A lot of people hate it. Sometimes I hate it. But it has taught me a lot, and I love it more than I hate it, most of the time.
Southern California has taught me that my preconceptions can sometimes be terribly wrong. As a dyed in the wool Northern Californian, this was the one place I always swore I’d never live. Now I have been here for 15 years and it’s hard to comprehend trying to live anywhere else. I’m grateful that something I said “no” to for so long has become such a “yes.” I’m grateful for the roots I’ve put down in this place.
I love the vibrant cultural mix. Little Ethiopia, Little India, Little Armenia, Little Tokyo, little whatever we’ve probably got it. There’s a bit of everywhere here in Los Angeles. I love the crazy food trucks (Portland has more but we’re catching up), the art and life and excitement. I love the hills and the beaches. I love that you can get pho or bacon wrapped hot dogs at 3am if you know where to go looking. Love the subway (wish there was more of it) and the light rail (wish there was more of it) the farmer’s markets and the bike shops.
I love that there’s a Ren Faire 20 minutes from my house. And Disneyland is another 30 minutes down another freeway, and y’all, Disneyland is where I go to have my birthday party every year, even if I am going alone. A whole party just for me, even if the other guests don’t know they’re helping me celebrate. With fireworks and princesses!
I love that I know where to find miniature golf that offers Mongolian BBQ. And another one across town that is glow in the dark (the golf course, not the BBQ).
I’m grateful that my kids grew up here, in this community that is SO alive and so exciting, that they could go to museums, the zoo, learn to ride trains, haunt little indie record shops and spend hours on Venice Beach. Sure, it’s provided its share of challenges in the parenting dept, but overall I think it has been a positive.
Sometimes I bitch about the weather. It does get hot, especially in the Pasadena and foothill areas, where I live. But you know the best thing about the weather? Right about now, it gets perfect. Days are sunny and balmy, nights are cold, leaves are turning gold and red (this is amazing to me because I grew up in a place full of evergreens where leaves didn’t turn color in the fall or drop in the winter). It is December, and I can still go meet my friends for coffee at a sidewalk cafe in the morning, and wear short sleeves – though I confess I wear a sweater anyway and just sweat because dammit, it’s sweater season.
You know the thing I didn’t realize until after I’d been here for a long time and one year someone pointed it out and I realized I was totally taking it for granted?
We have flowers all year round. I love that. I’m grateful for the fact that there’s such simple beauty all around me, all the time. I guess that holds true no matter where you live, but I really do like flowers.