On May 1st, I moved to Los Angeles. It was a long time in the making and I was very strategic and responsible about the move. But I’m only three weeks in and this is already the happiest been in my life. I spent a lot of time here as a kid and always loved it, and being in LA has been a lot like coming home. I’ve been able to rediscover the city and explore it in a way that I could never have done as a child.
Although this lockdown sucks, it has given me a unique opportunity to get to know the city. Typically, I’d spend time reading at coffee shops or at museums, bookstores, or concept shops. Obviously, that’s not an option right now. So I have returned to my European habit of spending hours at a park, primarily at Echo Park Lake, Pan Pacific Park, and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I have come to love these places and will spend hours at any of them, every single day.
Each of them offers something unique. Pan Pacfic Park is a pleasant fifteen-minute walk from my house. It’s a major recreation center with tons of different sports courts, but most people have gathered on the grass. Little kids race through the grass, dragging bubble wands behind them and leaving a trail of sparkling bubbles to be carried in every which direction by the wind. Dogs of every breed are always running around, chasing and playing with each other, or walking up to random people to get a nice pat. Sweet Mexican men push carts of popsicles and candies around, honking clown horns to get people’s attention. Pan Pacific Park is a very wholesome place and is the easiest place to make friends.
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery has a sweet little lake with gorgeous architecture and foliage, but I also just genuinely love spending times in cemeteries. I know it’s weird. They just feels so calm and I enjoy the quiet. I know I’ll never be bothered by loud talking here (which can make it hard to concentrate on my books) but I still a lot of sound from all the animals who’ve made this place their home. The cemetery is home to dozens of peacocks and swans who are mesmerizing to look at.
Now Echo Park Lake is truly a feat of nature, with geese, ducks, turtles, giant koi fish, and brightly colored birds darting or wandering around the water. Lily pads larger than dinner plates can be found in large colonies throughout the lake and are frequented by turtles who, if you sit down on the ledge and dangle your feet down, will come to say hello and maybe nip at your toes a bit. If you stand on the furthest edge of the lake, near the statue, you’ll get a perfect view of the Downtown LA skyline. It’s been a wonderful way to spend my days.
Aside from going to lakes, I’ve taken to putting in my Air-pods and walking for hours. I like to zig zag through the side streets and main avenues that are within a one-mile radius of my house (in Fairfax/La Brea) or to park my car on Sunset, San Marcos, Hollywood, and Beverly Boulevard and just walk as far along them as I can. I make an effort to note the streets signs wherever I go, in order to orient myself with as much of LA as I can.
I love everything about it here. Even my just bedroom alone looks more me than any other bedroom I’ve had. Driving through these streets, big or small, my heart swells with joy. I’m not even joking or being poetic about it or anything; it truly does. I feel like this city is a heart-shaped cake pan and when I arrived here, I was poured into it like dough. These past three weeks have been me, slowly expanding to fill the mold of this heart. I fit perfectly. And it’s because I’m home.