california (or, really, los angeles).

aka, the land of 100+ degree heat waves at the end of the september, with weather so dry and punishing that my sinuses, lips, and skin revolt. it's autumn in new york city now, and i am pleased as punch.


i spent the last week in california with family, which, as it turns out, mostly means that i spent last week eating. i was born in queens but grew up in the suburbs of los angeles until i moved back out to nyc in august 2012, so going back to california always feels like going back in time — and i keep calling it california, like california isn't a massive state with vastly different poles and middle. i just like the word "california;" i like the way it fits in my mouth; and i have little love for los angeles, anyway, that barren land of heat and tinsel and traffic ...

... which might sound like an unfair statement because i do sincerely enjoy my time in LA.

seriously, though, if LA were a person, despite all the good times, we would not be friends.


los angeles is all about the familiar; i rarely deviate from what i already know. i go to the same restaurants and eateries, seek out the same food, buy the same salad from trader joe's, and part of it is that i am a creature of habit and, thus, gravitate towards what i know and crave, especially when my time in LA is so limited.

LA, to me, means comfort:  tacos, korean food, jack in the box. it means gogi and sushi. it means mum's cooking because mum makes the best korean soups and marinates the best kalbi. it means a whole lot of fruit because fruit (aside from apples) tastes better and is cheaper in california, and my parents eat a lot of fruit.

it means driving a lot and trying to avoid traffic and going around blocks looking for parking. it means hot days and chilly evenings; it means sticking a tissue up one nostril because of course only one nostril is congested because my sinuses hate the dry weather. it means craving chocolate all the time, and it means crazy beautiful open skies because all that flatness of los angeles is good for that at least, for opening up that blue and making it a canvas you can't ignore because you're stuck in traffic and what else are you going to do but marvel at the colors?

LA is a reminder of where i come from, where i've left, where i've rooted myself. it's a reminder of how place shapes us, of how places can be kind to us or reject us, and it's a reminder of the people and things that ground me.

ultimately, it's a place i can't seem to shed, at least not while my parents are still living there.