Confessions on Why I Might Actually Like Los Angeles

I’ve never really like LA. I suppose this is a confession, but not surprising from a woman who grew up in Portland, Oregon. I could list all the reasons I’ve never enjoyed Los Angeles, the cultural clash that caused a cognitive dissonance.

But that would overshadow another confession I feel compelled to make –

I also kind of like LA.

I should clarify – I like pockets of LA. The distinct neighborhoods that patchwork together into the gigantic urban sprawl quilt that makes up Los Angeles. Temple City, on the eastern edge where my aunt lives, is a perfect example. Once upon a time created as a suburb for affluent whites, it’s now a changing tapestry of ethnic groups, currently a mix of Asian cultures. Elders gather in the park to practice synchronized tai chi and coffee shops serve sushi. It may take an hour by bus to get downtown or three agonizing hours to get to Griffith Park (I cannot fathom how long public transit would have taken to get to Santa Monica – I didn’t try), but it was eye-opening to live in a Los Angeles that exists beyond the typical tourist fare of Hollywood and crowded beaches.

My LA is the jaw-dropping collection of The Huntington Library in Pasadena, with everything from pivotal astronomical first editions to hand-written drafts of Jack London’s White Fang to a Gutenberg Bible on display.

My LA is a satisfying bowl of udon in a Little Tokyo restaurant tucked away in a shopping center and crowded with Japanese-Americans expertly slurping noodles with chopsticks.

My LA is stumbling across Last Bookstore, a den of the written word brushing shoulders with tacky pawn shops and run-down grande dames of theater.

I still wouldn’t live here, but I might visit more often.

To view my photo slide show, click on the link: Los Angeles, May 2015

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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