My life has taken me to some pretty intense highs, and some pretty low lows. And a lot of gorgeous cities in between. From Dubai to Omaha to Chicago to DC to..... my lucky number 5: Los Angeles.
In my last post, reflecting on my 25th birthday, I talked about how Los Angeles had come together as my own little miracle, a happy ending after an admittedly hard past three years. But as I wrote that post, I still didn't know quite HOW right I was.
So I'm writing this blog as my own love letter to LA. My city. My home away from home. A place of dreamers, of storytellers, of people who aspire for something greater than themselves.
Los Angeles is strange. When you think of LA, you probably think of Hollywood, of beaches, of tanned, fit and toned bodies, and valley girl accents. Lots of açaí bowls, hikes and surfer dudes with flowing blond hair.
I'd be lying if I say I haven't encountered these images, but that is not what comes to mind when I think of my Los Angeles experience.
When I think of LA, I think of a city of twenty and thirty-somethings living their own independent lives, yet coming together to form a community of their own in their own way. I think of my LA bestie hitting me up the minute I land in LAX to get Persian food because we NEED to catch up on the gossip. I think of USC and my colleagues, with decades more experience than me yet as close to me as family. I think of long walks on Santa Monica Pier, cute dates, board game nights with friends and winery trips, and laughter and kind eyes and a warm receptiveness in new friendships, I don't think I've found in any other city.
More importantly, I think about how the last couple of times I've flown home and come back to the US, there was always a sense of dread in coming back. Sometimes it was because of an overly taxing job, sometimes it was because of people I knew I had to let go of, and sometimes, because it just seemed like I was going back to a place I had outgrown.
But this time as I flew back to LA after a glorious two weeks with my family, I was excited. I had so many people I was looking forward to seeing, and there were so many more adventures I have yet to embark on.
One thing I keep hearing from colleagues, friends and family alike, is how surprised they are in the friendships I have made so "quickly." I'm not surprised at all. Los Angeles is a city of people from so many different backgrounds, having different jobs, different stories. All these people came to the city with a dream. And there is nothing more dreamers love than to put themselves out there and sharing that dream with a community bigger than themselves.
So by putting yourself out there, going to meet-ups, social mixers and social media hangouts, you are bound to find your tribe. It just takes being a little brave....and being yourself.
Because as much flak LA gets for being a supposedly superficial city, I completely disagree. It's a city with a lot of heart and people who are unafraid to be themselves. A city with neighborhoods as diverse (and sometimes scary!) as downtown to the more posh Beverly Hills and the more entertaining Hollywood and Venice Beach. And while commuting to these spread out neighborhoods can be a pain sometimes, it truly is worth exploring each and every corner of this glorious city.
All of this is to say, I'm happy, and LA is a big reason why. I think teenage me had the right idea, when she vowed to be back here one day. I'm glad we made it :)