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Why I Miss Los Angeles (Because It’s F***ing Awesome)

Why I Miss Los Angeles - title


Los Angeles may have just battled a furious sand fire roasting a good 38,000 acres, and sure, the city can reach a toasty 100+ degrees Fahrenheit on an average summer day, and yes, the word “drought” is as ubiquitous as the word “juicery”—in fact, Los Angeles has all the ingredients for a wasteland (no, not the Melrose thrift store). And yet it’s not. Entirely.

It’s been over a year since I last left LA and moved to Jeju Island, “the Hawaii of Korea,” to teach English and travel. And though I’ve left Los Angeles hundreds of times, I’ve never quite experienced this kind of homesickness. And I’m starting to think it’s not just angst over where to wear my WILDFOX Bel Air sunglasses. After all, I’d moved to Florida, Thailand, and Prague, and never really looked back while living in any of those places (except Florida).

So What’s Different Now?

Well first of all, I now have two adorable, fully sentient and lovely and brilliant and wonderful and charming niblings (yes, it’s a thing!) whom I miss dearly—my dancing/twirling/singing 4-year-old niece, Beia, and my cheerful sometimes-Spiderman-sometimes-sweater-vest-clad 2-year-old nephew, Mason. But also, those last few post-collegiate, post-21 years I spent in the city allowed me the time to really appreciate the specific melting pot culture highlighting LA’s character, and the varied delights it can offer.

Sunset Blvd, LA

The LA Some Know

The Los Angeles many non-LAers know is a cut-and-paste grid of Rodeo Drives and Santa Monica Piers, a “land of plastic,” of Calabasas TV stars and Beverly palm trees and Chatsworth pornos and Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster-coated faces (#OBSESSED btw) and red carpets and Whole Foods to-go boxes. But this isn’t the LA I know. (Entirely.)


My Los Angeles is an LA of grit.

A golden grit that clouds your lungs and your eyes and your judgement in the best way and the worst way. A grit made from the particles of a gamma-ray burst shooting from Jim Morrison’s infamous urine stream on the bar of WeHo’s Barney’s Beanery. A grit trekked through Hollywood gutters and Walk of Fame stars on wedge booties, encrusted in the tires of Valley SUVs, fairy dusting those red carpets that look so much dirtier in person, and in the sun-beaten face lines of the people who aren’t plastic.

The Secret to Cheap Flights


My Los Angeles is an LA of many.

Latino, Filipino, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Ethiopian, Thai, Indian—my LA fits so many worlds in one city. So many worlds, representatives flashing red or white in an almost constant ribbon down the 405. After all, nobody walks in LA (unless it’s from bar to taco truck).

Chinatown, Los Angeles

So many worlds, and with so many people, my LA is a city of Angels (and demons).  And no, it’s not perfect. And as sunny as it may be, its eyes are nothing like the sun. And maybe the LA I know will cease to exist in the next few years, reduced to rubble in some San Andreas tantrum. But it’s home. And there’s this: it’s f****ing awesome.

Good Times at Davey Wayne's, LA

My Los Angeles is home.

I’m an LA girl, born and raised until I was 11, then returned to every summer until my 18 year-old brain decided to move back to the mistress that will always have my heart. Sure, LA’s got a lotta haters. But they’re slanderers and you should ignore their heinous dribble. And it may be dry and drought-ridden and dusty and smog-covered, but no wasteland I know offers such Edenic sprawls of glistening produce, such global variety in fruits and vegetables so easily taken for granted until it’s no longer there. Supermarkets here on Jeju Island regularly play mean tricks on us, selling produce shipped over from California (but for 10 times the price), though we can find some wicked Jeju green tea fields and Jeju tangerine trees.

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Los Angeles Palm Trees

My Los Angeles has something for everyone.

From beaches to city life to music to free events to fantastic hikes to cheap exotic produce to magical sunsets to eternal warm weather and easy and cheap access to global cuisine to all things both incredibly basic and legitimately incredible, my LA really does have something for everyone. After all, LA is the entertainment capital of the world.


So off-with-their-heads to all y’all haters, I’m an LA girl. And in case you need more reasons, here’s this.

The LA Caveat

(I’ll only add one.) While I wholeheartedly believe everyone should have their pants dropped by LA in their lifetime, it’s not the easiest city to penetrate in a short period. The second largest urban region in the U.S., Los Angeles is a big, big [beautiful] girl, and her public transportation leaves loads to be desired. To really feel LA, you kinda gotta stick around and let it feel you. So screw it. Come on down, spend a few months in the City of Angels. Make an ass out of yourself at an open bar app-launch party or break in your leather Zana Bayne bondage-mask and a very risque body harness at a Rhonda or a Bar Sinister. Shake your very Venice Boardwalk high-waisted denim booty at a Houston Bros bar or leave that hoity-toity crap behind for some elbow-brushing with a few Hell’s Angels at a valley dive. And when it’s all done, watch the sun rise over the Santa Monica mountains with a belly-full of greasy tacos before your infrared sauna sesh and Thai tea macaron ice cream sandwich pickup at The Milk Shop the next day.

The more you sound like an asshole, the more it’s working.


Lauren at Venice Beach, LA

Additional LA Guides

Want some further suggestions to help you plan a trip to Los Angeles?  Have a peek at some of these dope posts (or you could always just check out our LA Pinterest board)!

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  • Reply
    August 2, 2016 at 8:35 am

    This was so poetic and exuberant, with gorgeous pictures, I really fell in love with your Los Angeles! Thanks. My home is Long Island, just outside of New York City, and I love it for the beaches and quiet near home, and the great shows, museums, and hordes of people from all nations in the city.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      August 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      You’re too kind, Candy! I’ll have to make it ’round Long Island again sometimes soon–it’s been awhile!!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2016 at 10:41 am

    love this post! I plan on visiting LA/Cali in the future and this post made me more excited about it

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      August 2, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Glad to get you excited, Yuliya! Hope you enjoy your trip!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    It is a dream of mine to visit LA mostly for the pop culture and possible gigs i can go to. I also have a relative there so it should be nice 😀

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 1, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      Yeah it’s a blast! Let us know if you ever need any tips!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I totally agree with you! There’s so much to do in Los Angeles! 🙂

    Chloe //

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Oh so much, and so many free things to find as well!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    This is a great insight from a native Californian, your words are beautiful. I’ve never been to LA but would definitely like too. I’ve not got to the stage where I’ll call somewhere home no matter where I am x

  • Reply
    Juliette | Snorkels to Snow
    November 16, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Ha! I love this post. I will always think Christchurch is my home, no matter how broken or cold it gets and the years I spent trying to leave it, it will always be home.

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 1, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you for sharing, Juliette!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2016 at 2:02 am

    I think L.A. will be our next home. We just moved from NJ to SF Bay Area a year ago and because it is crazy expensive here we’re looking to make our move in a year or two. Looking at photos of all the awesome places our friends have in L.A. for the same amount of money we pay here for rent has made us quite jealous… 🙂

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 1, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Yeah SF is definitely pricey! Of course LA isn’t the cheapest place in the world, but this city is a lot bigger and more spread out, so space isn’t at as much of a premium.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    I went to LA a couple of years ago, and it was the most amazing week of my life! #missIt

  • Reply
    bianca nunez
    November 19, 2016 at 10:22 am

    I really need to visit! thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Lauren West
      December 1, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      I’m pretty sure you’d love it, Bianca!

  • Reply
    Television of Nomads
    March 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    […] Why I Miss Los Angeles (Because It’s F***ing Awesome) […]

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