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NewlyNested: I Hate(d) L.A.


a blogumn by Debra Goykhman
Photo Credit: Jeff Turner

Photo Credit: Jeff Turner

I am a girl from Pittsburgh living in San Diego who always thinks she wants to go back home.  Yes the weather is beautiful in San Diego, but home is filled with some many wonderful memories like long girls nights out, family dinners at our local Italian restaurant, and Steelers games. I am always nostalgically planning  trips back to the coast where I think I belong.

The problem is I really haven’t lived on the East Coast for a while and until recently I have never really thought of Southern California as my home.  I’ve only lived in San Diego for a couple of months, but I lived in Los Angles after I graduated college and later when my now husband was relocated there for a few months.  I never thought I would want to visit somewhere on the West Coast with the same nostalgic intensity as Pittsburgh, but recently I had been dreaming of going back to visit Los Angeles to see some sites, eat some yummy food and visit some great friends.  This is strange because while I was actually living there, I  hated LA — the traffic, the people, the crowds, and the cost.

Going back to a place you once hated is kind of like going to a high school reunion.  Sure the memories of high school were bad, but couldn’t it be fun to take a trip down memory lane?  I thought the same about LA; it was going to be fun to experience the city during a different time in my life.

The drive was easy , except for the brief amount of traffic on the 405 just as I got to LA (here in San Diego people always complain about traffic and I just want to spend a working day in LA so that they’ll know what real traffic is).  After struggling for a parking space in Culver City I enjoyed some yummy Italian food at Ugo.  Before I would have been stressed and annoyed with the car situation, but now I enjoyed the fresh (somewhat) sunny air as I gossiped with an old friend.  Then it was time for more food with another friend at Urth Café in Santa Monica where I sipped on some yummy boba and enjoyed the relaxing beachy vibe that Main Street has to offer.

When I returned to my car there was a $50 parking ticket waiting for me.  Surprised?  Yes.  Still happy?  Yes.  A ridiculous fine wasn’t going to ruin this LAstolgic day.  Lastly, (and the whole purpose to my journey) I went to Crumbs in Beverly Hills to pick up my anniversary cake and did a bit of window shopping, since I was in the glamorous zip code in America.

The day itself wasn’t too exciting, but what was different was there wasn’t a moment where I said “I hate LA.” As much as I hate to admit it, this nester might actually be becoming a Southern California girl.  Or maybe I just really like the food LA has to offer.  Regardless, traveling to a place you once lived is a lot of fun.  On my way home I thought of all the great elements LA has to offer — Trust me when I say that when I lived there this list never went through my head: great food, interesting people, interesting jobs, beautiful parks, beautiful beaches, and some sweet shopping.

Visiting a place you once hated is kind of like getting a do over.  You can enjoy a city in ways you never were open to before.  Next I am going to be going back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. We’ll see if my nostalgic travel results will be the same.