Goodbye Los Angeles

*As we prepare to move from LA to Honolulu at the end of July, I’ve been reflecting on the place and people we’re saying farewell to. I’ve written several goodbye letters. Here is one.

Goodbye Los Angeles, my home of 15 years. 

You saw me from a small town Hawaii girl who stepped off an airplane, scared, hopeful, and in awe of the vast city. At first sight, I loved your urban sprawl of diversity and opportunity. My dream of “making it” as a film director and stage actress must have been laughably naive and predictable, but you allowed me to discover my way. It took me several years of residing here, but I really have come to love you. Much of who I am has been shaped here in this city. Now, as our family prepares to move to Honolulu, I bid a fond farewell to the City of Angels. 

Goodbye USC campus and neighborhood. I can’t think of a place more significant to me. It’s the place that brought me to LA in the first place. The place where my faith journey was solidified, where I discovered joy in college ministry, where I have poured out my heart and life on behalf of generations of students. It’s the place I met my future husband, where we were co-workers and staff partners. It’s the place we held our wedding reception in McCarthy Quad. Our kids have grown up in this place. It’s where we bought our home, and built a community with great friends. I have so many memories in this place, and it will forever be a part of me.

Goodbye amazing any-kind-of-cuisine you could ever crave. What other city can boast Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Little Ethiopia, Koreatown, Filipinotown, Little Armenia, and so many other ethnic enclaves that co-exist and overlap? Though I’m leaving for Honolulu, a diverse city in its own right, I will never find a replacement for our neighborhood tamale lady who calls, “Taaa-maaa-laaaaayyy” at strange hours of the day. Mexican food in Hawaii is a joke, so before I leave, I am determined to hit up every taco truck in South LA. Bring on the carne asada and al pastor. Also, I’m sad to say farewell to Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles (where Steve and I had our very first date), pancakes at the Pantry, and Scoops ice cream.

Goodbye freeways and traffic. Sadly, I will never get back those hours spent in my car switching between KIIS FM and the Frozen soundtrack, as well as compulsively using the Waze app to confirm the accident on the 5 that is keeping me from reaching Disneyland in a timely manner. Out-of-towners really despise driving in LA, but I know the secrets of survival. Don’t leave home without checking the traffic to determine a “green route,” find a job that doesn’t require a long commute, and never ever use the 405. A standard greeting among Angelenos is, “How was the traffic?” followed by a friendly argument over the best route from point A to point B. I’m moving from the city with the worst traffic in the U.S. to the city with the second worst traffic. So, onward and upward. But seriously, I will miss the exhilaration I feel when flying on the 110 carpool lane like I’m a NASCAR driver. 

Goodbye magical, perfect weather. People may complain about the lack of seasons, but I don’t care. Give me 80 degrees and sunny, and my day is an instant win. I love being able to wear sandals and tank tops year round. Mittens, ear muffs…what are those?

Goodbye LA weirdos. There is a special category of strange people in LA. A woman living in an apartment next door to us once threw a half-eaten apple at Steve’s head, and laughed like a maniac. Or there was the time I was riding the Metro Blue Line, and saw a man step onto the train and drop something on the ground. He bent down, and exclaimed, “Shit, I dropped my vagina.” Yep, on the ground was a huge rubber vagina. Not sure where all the crazy people originated from, but I’m pretty sure they all migrated to Los Angeles. 

Goodbye celebrity sightings. Every Angeleno has their list of spotted celebrities. My list includes Hilary Swank, Mario Lopez, Jay Leno, Adam Sandler, Dakota and Elle Fanning, and that guy who played Peter Petrelli on Heroes. Just kidding, of course I knew his name (Milo Ventimiglia) right when I saw his face. I’m so in. Tip: if you want to brush shoulders with a star, camp out at the Grove.

Goodbye hipsters and screenwriters drinking expensive coffee at Intelligentsia. Goodbye tattoo parlor on Sunset that inked my wrist. Goodbye ladies who carry their dogs in a handbag and dress them better than I dress my kids. Goodbye television show tapings. Goodbye people who say “I love the beach/biking/public transportation” way more than they actually do. Goodbye $15 burgers and $13 martinis. Goodbye Facebooking every time there may have been an earthquake. Goodbye Spanish Lattes at Urth Cafe. Goodbye fireworks and concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. 

Goodbye, Los Angeles. I’m grateful for my time with you.

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