Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fifteen Years in Los Angeles: I'm An Angelino

"Where are you from?" It's an easy question for most, but as the years tick by, it's become increasingly complicated for me.

I went to high school in Hawaii, and for years that was my easy answer. After all, it's where I spent my critical formative years. Where I had my first real journalism job, a paid internship at Hawaii Business magazine. It's where I learned to drive. Where I first got to DJ on the radio. Where my modern music tastes were formed (thanks, Radio Free Hawaii). Where I had my first kiss. Where I found my voice.

When I arrived in Los Angeles in 1996, straight from college in Chicago (and a quick five-month stint in Washington, DC), high school -- and Hawaii -- still seemed fresh. I was just 22, after all, and hadn't been an adult long enough to have put down any roots.

My first few years in Los Angeles seem like a blur now. Actually, whenever I hear Bran Van 3000's track "Drinking In LA" (above), it brings me back to living in L.A. in my mid-20s, in the mid-1990s.

But then I got older. And became more aware of my surroundings. I met someone, and she happened to live in Los Feliz (on Franklin Avenue, natch). Together, we began taking advantage this big, wonderful city. We spent time downtown. We explored via public transportation. We went to festivals, visited hole-in-the-wall restaurants and attended events big and small. We started this blog. We threw two races around Los Angeles. We chronicled the demise of landmarks like the Ambassador Hotel (and helped throw a wake in its honor). We started an annual walk that traversed the city. We got married, bought a house, had kids.

Hawaii seems so long ago now. And hell, so does drinking in L.A. at 26. But as I age and put down all of those roots, I feel closer to Los Angeles than any other place I've lived in my life. (Granted, I've lived in Los Angeles three times longer than any other place in my life.) It's been an amazing, transformative 15 years, Los Angeles. I'll keep laying down those roots, if you don't mind, as an Angelino. (By the way, according to D.J. Waldie, that should actually be AngeleƱo. But I honestly feel like I'm still working toward earning such a title. Maybe in another fifteen.)

Previously on Franklin Avenue:

Decade in Los Angeles: Go East, Young Man (June 2006)

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