For me, Los Angeles means diversity of cultures, languages, food, and ice cream. Lots of ice cream.
On a weekend, I can take my kids to the Thai Cultural Festival, an exhibit of a world-renowned artirst, or on a bike ride across major boulevards during CicLAvia. Or I can take my kids down the street to the local public library to be entertained by dragon dancers on Chinese New Year’s or Bob Barker’s Marionette Theater on a Saturday afternoon.
When we go to our local park, my kids are exposed to playmates speaking languages from all over the world – they can be recent immigrants or third-generation, but many of them speak multiple languages that represent their parents’ ancestry.
And the food – from the fluffiest tamales to melt-in-your-mouth sushi, the diversity of food across Los Angeles cannot be beaten. Within walking distance, I can choose between Cuban, Scottish, or even Tibetan cuisines (in addition to more “traditional” fare like Italian, Mexican, or Chinese foods).
And don’t forget the ice cream! From any flavor you couldn’t come up with in your wildest dreams (like the “fast food” flavor that tastes like french fries dipped in a vanilla shake) to frozen yogurt with dozens of topping choices, L.A. is the place for ice cream. There are so many choices that instead of doing a pub crawl for my birthday, I did an ice cream crawl across the city; and, yes, it tasted as good as it sounds!
Southern California is also the only place where I can take my kids to the beach on pretty much any day during the year; and while we never go enough, the mere fact that it is there makes living here so great.
Now L.A. isn’t all sunshine, ice cream, and movie stars. My four-year-old already asks, “are we on the 405?” whenever we get stuck in unending L.A. traffic. And the constant conversation over schools is hard not to indulge in as parents scramble to make the money, the connections, or do whatever it takes to get their kids into their school of choice.
Being a dad in L.A. isn’t easy either because, much like many other cities in the United States, being a stay-at-home dad is still considered “different.” I can tell by the looks of, “why aren’t you working right now?” while at the park with my kids or taking them to their swim lesson in the middle of the day.
But at the end of the day, as I put my kids to bed, I get excited for the diversity of fun adventures that await us tomorrow in Los Angeles.