I first moved to Los Angeles in October of 2003. My husband Mike and I left New York on something of a rush and an impulse. My dad was diagnosed with stage-3 colorectal cancer, and all that year I had been traveling back and forth from New York and Pasadena to be with him.
I had moved to New York at 18 to attend Columbia University and after I graduated I stayed in the city because I loved it. I was one of those people who moved to New York because I was weird and artsy and intense and I wanted to be where there were OTHERS like me. I wanted to go HOME to New York.
But when my dad got sick, New York didn’t feel like home anymore. I loved the city, but I loved my dad more.
My friends threw me a going-away party and they asked me WHY I was leaving (they understood about my Dad of course, but they didn’t understand how I could LEAVE). Mike and I were quintessential New Yorkers–you know those New Yorkers who say they live in the city and they never go to the Met? Or to the new restaurants? Or to the nightclubs?
We were not those New Yorkers. We went to a museum every week, we saw all the new exhibits, we waited in line, or on hold, to get reservations at the new restaurants, I covered nightclubs and parties and we were OUT EVERY NIGHT. We loved loved loved the city.
So we didn’t move to LA to be in LA. We moved to be near my family.
When Pop died three years ago, I awoke from this grief-stricken haze and asked myself the question, Did I want to move back to New York?
Because for EIGHT YEARS all I have done is complain about LA. I hated it. With a passion. I hated the one-note entertainment industry-culture, I hated that we don’t ever get the great art exhibits, I hated that I have to drive everywhere, that I can’t just spontaneously pop into my friends’ apartments. I hated that we basically had NO FRIENDS. Oh we had “friends.” But you know what I mean. I hated that every time we went to a nice restaurant SOMEONE WAS CELEBRATING A BIRTHDAY.
In New York, everyone just goes out to eat. It’s not like, A TREAT. It’s just LIFE.
Mike finally got fed up with all my whining and told me to DEAL WITH IT. WE LIVE HERE NOW. IN LA. STOP COMPLAINING!
So I stopped complaining. Then something happened this past year. Our LA friends are just friends now. Real friends. Our daughter is in a great school. We bought a house in Palm Springs.
I discovered I *LOVE* LA. I love that it’s sunny all the time and when it’s cold people wear scarves and flip-flops. I love that you can always get a reservation at a nice restaurant as long as you are okay with eating at 9PM (which we are). I love living in the hills and seeing hummingbirds and butterflies. I love that people here are easier to get to know, as they are all somewhat apologetic about living in LA (unlike the smug New Yorkers like me), and pretty laid-back all around. Also, it’s fun to see celebrities. At the grocery store. At the Starbucks.
I particularly love driving down Sunset Boulevard. It’s so pretty with the palm trees.
Last month I was back in New York, and for the first time, touching down at JFK, I didn’t feel that intense sense of “I’M HOME! I’M HOME! I’M HOME!!!” Which is good, because I’m not home. Our kid was home in LA. Our life is in LA now. The plane touched down and I thought “Oh, it’s nice to be in New York” and that was it.
‘Love the one you’re with’ is one of the cheesiest 70s song ever but it’s also good advice. I’m with LA now, and I love it.