I was in New York for five years at that point, choosing to stay in the city after graduating from State University of New York. My husband was born and raised there.
Although I liked New York at first, I got a bit messy. I couldn’t stand the noise, our crazy neighbors, the cost of living and the fickle weather. Daniel, a comedian, wanted to experience the Los Angeles scene. We made the decision to move to Los Angeles and within a month, we were here.
During one of our first nights in the city, we met someone who told us she had been visiting, but that she had been living in Los Angeles.
“How long have you been here?” I asked.
She said, “10 years.”
Decade. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t imagine staying in Los Angeles for so long.
But now, 10 years later, and my time here feels like a long, warm, sunny dream. Backtracked and a decade passed.
A lot has happened during that time. My husband and I got engaged on a snowy night at the Kotel and got married six months later on a sunny day in Malibu. We have two kids here – we call them “California Girls”. I completed my conversion to Judaism and we both grew up in our adherence to Judaism. We’ve made a lot of friends, made major career changes, lost pets and gained new pets and toured this beautiful state.
Los Angeles is not a place I immediately fell in love with. It felt lonely at first and was hard to navigate, and I wanted to retreat to the East Coast for the first six months I was here. I did not understand how people adapt to the constantly good weather and the lack of rain and snow. How did they ever know what time of year it was? This place was huge as well, and it wasn’t cohesive at all. It was hard to get around geography and I got lost countless times in my first year here.
I was walking through my neighborhood on a sunny December day, grateful I didn’t walk through the snow. I would go to a friend’s house on Saturday and observe the melting pot of various Jews around the table.
I kept thinking in my head that our stay in LA was temporary because I didn’t like it. But slowly, I started to feel differently. I was walking through my neighborhood on a sunny December day, grateful I didn’t run around in the snow and suffer from seasonal depression. I would go to a friend’s house on Saturday and observe the melting pot of various Jews around the table. Or I was enjoying a delicious piece of produce, the best I’ve ever tasted.
The more friends I made and the good experiences I had, the more I finally realized: I loved Los Angeles, and I belonged here. My husband always tells me how important it is to live in a place that works for you. LA suits me.
Although LA has a bad reputation for being fake, celebrity-obsessed, crime-ridden, and not serious – unlike New York – I don’t see it that way at all.
Yes, we have problems like homelessness, the cost of living and corrupt politicians. But I tolerate being around nice, creative people who strive to make their lives and the world a better place. Love the Jewish community, from the wonderful people to the delicious restaurants and the wide range of synagogues and schools. Everyone generally gets along, no matter how different they are. Many of us are transplants who have found our way to Los Angeles to make it part of our personal rush for gold in the 21st century. Every day I’m here, I feel hopeful about my future.
I went out to Los Angeles for a chance to start over and find myself. I’ve done that – and so much more – since I came here 10 years ago. Here’s another 10 years, hopefully so much more.
Kylie Ora Lobel He is the community and arts editor at The Jewish Journal.