LAX: Celebrating ten years in LA


In ten days I will turn 34. Although some—Hallmark, Facebook—might consider the fact that I have managed to spend 34 years on this earth to be some incredible accomplishment, this date coincides with what I think is a far more impressive anniversary. When I turn 34, I’ll have lived in LA for TEN YEARS.

This, I think, is a very special milestone. I have named it LAX.

There’s a funny saying about living in LA, and everyone here seems to have their own variation on it. But it goes something like: “Everyone hates living in LA for the first [insert number] years, but if you make it to [insert higher number] years, you’ll stay forever.” But this saying was never true for me. From the moment I sailed down the 101 into Hollywood with a U-Haul filled with my parents’ furniture, three months’ rent in my bank account, and no job, I was mesmerized. I fell in love with LA on day one.

I came here because I thought it would be an easy place to spend a year or two while I got my act together. Ten years later, I can’t see myself leaving (plus, I have yet to get my act together). LA made me comfortable and uncomfortable in all the right ways. And I wanted a way to commemorate that. Since some people I know are making all the other Virgos look bad by using their birthdays as massively successful charitable fundraisers, I, too decided to embark upon a mission to use this anniversary as a way to give back. So for the next ten days, I’m dedicating this blog to a decade of living in Los Angeles.

I want to tell you the stories about my favorite moments of living in this city. I want to point you towards the very best places. I want to show you what I think should be different here. And I want everyone to share their own ideas of what LA was, what it is, and what it could be, whether they’ve lived here 0 years or 75 years. Which would make them LALXXV.

So first, I want to hear from the Angelenos. What’s your LA story? How long have you lived in LA? Why did you come here? Why did you stay? Leave a comment or drop me an email alissa[at]gelatobaby[dot]com

And stay tuned for X more days of LAX.

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  • Carren Jao

    Wohoo! Great milestone! Looking forward to more LA stories. Mine is surprisingly usual. I found myself here because of a boy :) I wasn’t expecting to love it, but I did. It’s not a perfect city by any means, but that’s probably what I like about it. It inspires people to do something about their neighborhood precisely because has kinks to be worked out.

  • Christine

    I didn’t move here but was born locally. I have chosen to stay here all my life (more than 60 years) which I guess makes me LAXLX+. Not that there weren’t moments (and many of them) when I thought it would be great to be somewhere else (most notably, Italy). But that’s another story altogether. I have stayed because this is a great place for a world of art, culture, design, and food of every kind imaginable. I can grow or buy local foods all year long. I have built a business that is my passion here. And the people I have had the opportunity to meet and shares stories about and with has been incredible. I have built a life and home here in LA. A native, yes. One who grew up walking, riding a bike and taking public transportation, yes. One who still does, yes. I will continue to visit other places and try new things. Always. As long as I can. But I will always return home. Home to LA. Hopefully for many years to come.

  • d r e w

    congrats on 10 years! i will be moving to LA in the spring. maybe one of your “X” days could be about those that have yet to arrive…

  • Abby

    So true about the “Everyone hates living in LA…” comment! I’ve lived here for 3 years and the first two years were absolute hell. I hated my job, couldn’t get another one, and felt absolutely stuck in every way possible. I may never get used to cooking a Thanksgiving turkey in 75 degree weather but now, with two new jobs and a better outlook, I can see myself staying here longer than I had planned. Looking forward to reading the rest of your LAX entries.

  • Stuart K.

    Congrats!! My anniversary is  tomorrow!!! 33 years since I left the Big Apple to come to LAX. 

  • Alissa

    Thanks Stuart! And happy LAXXXIII!

  • Alissa

    Love that! And yes, we all dream of moving to Italy…

  • Heather Parlato

    i was born here! even my parents were born here. and all my grandparents, who were in chicago and buffalo, were working in some aspect of music, either playing it or writing about it or engineering sound or on the radio, and they all said “it’s cold here! let’s go to LA!” so they all packed up as soon as WWII was over, came here, bought homes in the valley and had my parents promptly in 1945.

    i love it here, and i love meeting other people who love it [especially fellow virgos]. angelenos grow up barefoot eating fruit right off the backyard trees and playing outside all year long. we get to meet people from all over the world who come here for vacation, or we get to hear our east coast friends visit and exclaim “everything is so relaxed here!” we are some damn lucky people.

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