I landed in Los Angeles three years ago, on my way to a sumptuous house in the Hollywood Hills. I was immediately struck by the million scents that greeted me that night; it smelled like summer, love, and life. By the next day, I knew this was home. I fell in love almost instantaneously, infatuated by the beautiful skies, the natural light, the mountains, the beach, the diverse neighborhoods, the abundance of vegan food, the sense of lust for life that I encountered.
The city of a billion lights had me by my heart. Abandoning my old life back home was the hardest thing I ever did, and what followed wasn’t easy. I worked myself crazy. I made lots of mistakes. It took me a long while to understand how this city works, how California works, how to make this place my own. I got married and divorced in under two years, and believe me when I tell you divorce is one messed up disaster.
But through all of this, Los Angeles had my back. I know this is the city of flaky people, horrible traffic, high taxes, high rent, expensive everything. It’s also the city where dreams come to change, and it’s ok. You can start off thinking you’re pursuing one thing, and then find yourself mutating your desires and changing paths and living another life in between traffic nightmares on the 405.
What kept me together, what pumped blood in my veins, was this strong sense of belonging, this immense love I feel for this city. Looking outside early in the morning and seeing the beautiful colors of the skies, while birds chirp away their joy. Chasing squirrels in the park, taking the metro red line to DTLA and being met by a fusion of cultures and accents that resemble traveling the world without leaving the city.
Being liberal among your own, being liberal among conservatives who are able to see things from your point of view, watching marchers fight for science, dancing to mariachis in the street, driving to Coachella for a surreal fest like no other.
Los Angeles is this beautiful entity that has kept me sane for the most part of my tribulations.
I know home is where the heart is, and the love of my life keeps reminding me that people, not places, make a home. He is right. He is my home. But my love for California is unwavering, and it will always have my heart.