La La Land
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Los Angeles, CA
More than half-a-decade ago we had a choice of moving to Los Angeles for work. Although it never was a serious offer, the thought process that went to deciding against it was downright easy. We didn't want the culture, the smog, the people, the pace and the overall thought that someone wants to know why I'm still driving my car when the rest of the neighborhood has upgraded or why I'm not enrolled in this gym nor jog in the morning.
We just couldn't get it.
I arrived in LA last Tuesday and went straight to the office to see my officemates for the first time in 7 months. Whereas in 2005, I practically was in this office for more than a dozen times in 6 months, I only visited LA for 4 times in the last 18 months. The buzz was different. People have lost weight as I learned that they jog in the morning, cycle in the afternoon, and play tennis at night. I got pressured to do a hundred crunches because in the room of think-tanks, you know who really is the tank among everyone.
Despite my disdain in the culture, the weather, the people and the lifestyle, in terms of memories created from one single place, LA ranks number 1. Here is a rundown of memories:
1. My first trip in October 2001 was punctuated by the fact that we were one of the few tourists to arrive after 911. It was my first visit and my first time to see an NBA game in Staples, Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Road trip to Vegas and Hollywood.
2. My second trip in October 2002, was exactly 364 days after the first one. I should know since I bought an annual pass at Universal Studios and Disney the previous year and was able to use it again on its last valid day, a day short before expiring. Of course, the Lakers made the trip memorable, and a drive down to Vegas became customary.
3. My around the world trip in 2003, Manila to LA to Paris to Manila, was memorable. I never saw our house for more than 2 months. That was the longest time I was away from the Philippines not until we migrated. From Manila, I worked for 2 weeks in LA, went to Paris and stayed in Switzerland for 5 weeks to be with my wife and left for home with our dogs not even recognizing who I was.
4. Our first trip after migrating to Canada happened a week after we got our Permanent Resident cards and the easiest prey was to visit LA. This time I was with
Mitzi. Short of a honeymoon in Vegas, we walked down the strip and really made the trip our own despite the original plan of re-visiting the offer of working in LA.
5. 2005 was when I was in and out and was eating In-N-Out for more than 12 times in 12 months. There were 2 trips that were even made with only a weekend in Toronto. Memorable was when one trip included being with Paparazzi and Mama and having them see LA with me fulfilling a dream of seeing kid places like Disney with my parents holding my hands.
6. Capturing one glorious Sunset, one after another
7. Seeing Depeche Mode - the band I just can't get enough of.
8. Best coffee breaks one can ever have, driving around town in a Mini-cooper, and snow in the beach were the best memories to seal 2005.
9. Being in LA with Jerry and Linnor in 2006 was the highlight of the year.
In a place where you practically shared great memories with your lovedones, what else is to do? I've seen my dreams come true, I've felt my life changed, my perspective in life evolved and my resolve that life in LA is never for me.
I just want to go home in my quiet strip in Mississauga, to feel the warmth of my wife's embrace and the comfort of my jammies while at work.
This is a case of been there, done that, and so what.