i (heart) los angeles

Jillian apologizes in advance for the sloppy writing in tonight’s entries, which are back to back as one is protected and one is not. Both, however, are poorly created because I’m too tired to write better, but won’t get the thoughts down if I don’t write them now.

I went downtown tonight to see a friend’s new loft in a converted factory building, south of downtown, close to the artists quadrant. On the way there, coming from where I’d been in West Hollywood, I took the 101/5 past the east side of downtown and through what used to be Boyle Heights. I suppose it still is, but the freeway destroyed the old neighborhood. And Boyle Heights was where my grandmother and grandfather first lived, with my then two year old mother, when they first came here from Brooklyn.

Los Angeles, after all, is in my blood. My mother insists that the street map is in my DNA. Nights like tonight, where I was able to successfully navigate without a Thomas Guide across parts of the city I just don’t know that well, I think she’s right. I repeat the litany of street names to myself as I drive the city, as I pass the streets going east. And as I cross each street, I visualize where it goes, where it connects. My grid of Los Angeles expands constantly.

Driving home tonight, re-crossing the boundary into West L.A., I thought about how happy I am here. How much I love biking to work, how my heart still leaps when I glimpse the ocean at the end of the street when I cross into Venice. How I love working so close to the beach, to the end of the continent. How I still get a little charge of adrenaline when I see the skyscrapers of downtown. How I keep learning new neighborhoods, visiting them, seeing the history under the streets. How I crossed and recrossed the L.A. river, captive and ruined in its cement banks, but still the main artery of the city’s blood, heart, of the city’s story.

I love how every time I set off into Los Angeles, I see it at a slightly different angle. I love that there are still whole sections of the city that I haven’t seen, places I haven’t explored, things I’ve heard of but haven’t visited.

I still love this city. I still feel like I belong here, like this is the right place at the right time for me. I still have to tell myself each day, in shock, in wonder, I live in Los Angeles. And I’m still in love with the city.

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