In a cafe that creates good vibes, music, art, and novelty, I escape in search of equanimity. My mind can’t contain all it has taken in.
I now live in a strange place where the east meets west. The fusion seems vaguely familiar to home yet it is totally different. The bars and sports pubs that stay open ‘til late, the lingering smell of Korean barbeque, the sound of karaoke, the sudden whiff of hookah or probably ganjah when the wind blows, the thriving hiphop scene characterized by the headphones, hoodies, skateboards, pimped rides and pumped up kicks, the artfully plastered walls, the colorful graffiti, the hundreds of smiles that try to welcome you to a place which is not entirely their own- this is my home now.
I walk these streets every day and take in as much of it as I can. Los Angeles leaves you dazed and confused. Hollywood might be to blame. You meet real people but get to meet fake ones, too. The latter just makes your eyes roll, but the former makes you feel a deep connection to this place like palm trees to SoCal soil.
Over cocktails and beers, I've met different people to whom I've exchanged conversations with. Each one has an interesting story. Some tell it through their eyes; some through their strategically- placed tattoos.
Most would talk about where they're from and what they're doing here. I guess everyone has a love-hate relationship with this often misunderstood city. Like me, their real love is somewhere else but there is just this mysterious gravitation pulling us back.
We resolve to stay another day and try to learn more of the many facets of LA. The city is fun, vibrant and alive, but it can be too much. It has the nasty habit of biting you in the ass.
Emotions can run high on both directions. Fun, drunken nights will turn into a morning of hangover and loneliness. Bright, sunny mornings can turn into a cold night in bed filled with emptiness. There will be those that will abandon you and those that got your back. Such is the story of this city where bright lights, fake tans, plastic smiles, and excessive drama are the flourishing industry. You have to be careful on who you trust. You have to be cautious of giving your heart away.
With reckless haste, I have allowed this city to capture my heart, and because of that, it has taken me on such an emotional roller coaster ride. I’ve seen so much, and I felt so much, but I have only scratched the surface.
It excites and scares me to know what this big city has yet to offer. The question is not whether I can handle it but rather if it is worth it. Despite the heartaches and the occasional mind fuck, I still wouldn’t trade a single day that I’ve been in LA for the world.
My mind is a bit clear now. I just needed to reflect and write.
In this café where they played Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, I know- at least for now, no matter what, this is home.