If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I’m an L.A. kid who through life events eventually made her way to North County Coastal San Diego, where I’ve been for almost ten years now. While I absolutely love my San Diego home and the beauty, beaches, and laid back vibe it has to offer, there will always be a special place in my heart for L.A.
The good news is that it’s only about a 2 hour drive to get to L.A. so I can go any time I want…and I do. I’m up there pretty often visiting family or hanging out with friends these days, so it’s not like I never get to see my big, beloved city any more. I have free beds to sleep in all over the L.A. area whenever I want, so many a weekends are spent up there.
The thing is, my L.A. weekends these days tend to be more about the visiting than the city itself. Time is spent having barbecues in back yards, maybe taking a yoga class with a relative, or just chilling in the neighborhood doing things like riding bikes, taking walks…you know, normal stuff. I do look forward to my visits with this little cutie, though…
When it comes to L.A. I’ve seen it all as far as the “big attractions” are concerned. I spent childhood weekends being driven around by my dad to places such as Malibu, Hollywood, and of course…Disneyland (which is technically in Orange County, not L.A.).
We attended Broadway shows on tour at the Pantages and ate at a lot of great restaurants. I’ve been to the beaches and I’ve explored the museums. I’ve marveled at the Griffith Observatory and I’ve certainly cruised on roller blades down the Venice Beach boardwalk. To put it mildly, I’ve “done” L.A.
The thing is…I never get tired of L.A. There’s always something new to discover. There’s always a fun event going on or something new and interesting opening up.
For somebody like me who thrives on discovery and exploration, Los Angeles is the perfect city. It’s big. It’s loud. It’s gritty. It’s often times ugly and congested. But it’s also….perfect. Irreplaceable. It’s the city we all love to hate, or hate to love?
When I moved to North County Coastal San Diego (Carlsbad, to be exact). It was a rough adjustment period. Sure, the beaches here are much nicer than the beaches in L.A., and we have more flowers and hills and lagoons with interesting birds.
There are squirrels running around, for crying out loud. This place is a postcard. It’s a charming idyllic little postcard, and I do love it here…but for a long time I hated it.
I hated how boring it was. I hated that I couldn’t get Ethiopian food or Korean Bibimbap on a whim. I hated the tidy little streets with the tidy houses with their perfect gardens and white picket fences. I felt like I had been transported from one of the most awesome cities in the world to….Leave it to Beaver-ville. Bo-ring.
Of course, I was 23 when I moved to Carlsbad. That’s peak excitement seeking time. I wanted nightclubs and concerts and nonstop excitement. Carlsbad was not exciting. Sure, we have downtown walk-able areas with dive bars and cute little cafes, but where was the grit? San Diego was marginally more exciting, but still paled in comparison to it’s behemoth neighbor to the North, and I resented it here.
Now in my 30’s and infinitely more interested in getting to bed at a reasonable hour than the me of days past, I appreciate Carlsbad. I appreciate the beautiful, pristine beaches. I appreciate the hills and the walking trails lined with flowers. I love that I don’t have to fight for a parking spot at my home every night. I love eating a leisurely brunch in a delightful open-air cafe.
I love San Diego’s attractions. Balboa Park, the Zoo, Coronado…these places are great. I love being able to walk to the beach and relax there any time I want. L.A. isn’t like that. It’s hectic. Going anywhere takes forever. Parking is a nightmare. There’s dirt and grit and a good number of questionable looking characters running around.
Still, although I’ve come to enjoy my suburban postcard of a home, I still find myself longing for the city where I came from.
Every time I come back for a visit, I long to leave the backyard barbecue and venture out to discover new things. I long for the diversity. I long for the food. I long for the….weirdness. I’m weird, and although I’ve made a lot of friends in San Diego, I’m the weird friend. The weird L.A. friend.
That’s why I have decided to start playing tourist in my hometown. Thinking about my situation, I really have no reason not to. I only live two hours away, and I have free places to spend the night in different areas of the city any time I want. When I go to L.A. it’s usually to stay with a friend or relative and hang out with them the whole time, but why not come up Friday night, go out and spend Saturday doing something fun and exciting, then spend Sunday hanging out with the family and coming home Sunday night? This is going to be my new routine. There is so much to discover and so many new things that I would like to experience in my beloved city.
It’s a big mess, but I love it…and it will always be home.