This month marks ten years that my husband and I arrived in LA. A friend recently asked me if I was ever sorry that I lived here and not my hometown in the Midwest. No. I miss my family. I miss my friends. But LA is the place where I feel the most at home.
How do I love LA? Let me list the ways.
I love that LA is a transient city. People come here for something and then when they get it, get tired of looking for it, or decide they don’t want it anymore, they leave. If people really get on my nerves or become the “flavor of the month” in my social circles and I really do not like them, no worries. They will be gone soon. I will still be here. This is my home.
But sometimes I hate that LA is a transient city. So many of the people I love move away – to retire, to find more affordable housing, to be near grandparents when raising their kids, to get a “regular” job. It is hard to say goodbye but I remember what it was like to live in a city where I never felt like I belonged. I have to let them go.
I love the amazing food. Oh man. There is such good food of every kind everywhere. So many restaurants to try. So many calories actually worth the time it takes to work them off. But then I have to work them off. And pay the check when it comes. And even if I ate at one new restaurant each day for my whole life I just cannot get to all of them. That is just sad.
I love the weather and the beach. I swing like a pendulum. I force myself to forget about the beach and the almost always blue skies so that I actually get some work done. But then I have spent way too much time working and I should really take some time to get sand in my car. But I need to get some work done. It is a terrible conundrum. Just terrible.
I love the artists, the entrepreneurs and the immigrants. Many have such interesting tattoos. Those who will share their stories make a lasting impression on my heart. A few are jerks. My hand of friendship has been crushed a few times, but I am getting more skilled at discerning who wants a two way conversation. And those exchanges are priceless.
I love it that my husband loves LA. At least once a week he looks at me with a kid-on-Christmas-morning grin and says, “We live in LA.” This often comes as a response to the view of the snow on the mountains, a sunset on the beach, a pleasant encounter with a person so unlike us that we cannot help but like them, a fabulous outdoor meal (when we haven’t received the check yet), a concert we could not have imagined or a day at one of the many museums displaying world renown art. Once in a while it is a golden moment when the ramp from the 405 to the 10 is unpredictably clear and we sail on to our destination unimpeded. But usually not.
I love that in LA, my religion, Christianity, is counter-cultural and not the social norm. In places where Christianity is “standard” there are hidden assumptions that all Christians should dress, talk, act, sing and dance (or not dance) a certain way. There are assumptions about political affiliation, wine racks, career choices, home chore division, artistic taste and number of children. But in LA I feel free to pursue the theological and personal growth I am passionate about and still shop at the LA Fashion District. I find it refreshing that in order to grow in my relationship with Christ, I must actually think for myself and choose my own social and personal behavior. I have to decide if I am a Christian on a regular basis instead of assuming I am because I look like everyone else.
I love that my daughter and I are two of a very few natural blonds that reside in LA. The diversity of the people here and how they affect LA with their passion, culture, skills and family make this a magnificent city.
On the Fourth of July we were in Marina Del Rey waiting for darkness to settle so the fireworks show could begin. I took my daughter, now 5, on a stroll around the park to see the boats and pass the time. To distract her from her impatience I asked her, “What do you see?”
She waved her arm at the rows and rows of people waiting for the fireworks and said, “I see the world.”
Impressed with her comment I said, “You are right. There are so many people here. Some people with brown hair. Some people with red hair. Some people with black hair.”
She piped up, “And some people with blue hair.”
It was true. And I loved it.
LA, we love you!