With a nod to Randy Newman, I love LA. I am a transplant, having moved here 20 years ago to seek fame and fortune in the movie industry – like so many before me – and that was a great thing to do in my 20’s and 30’s. I loved the film gypsy life and got to travel the world doing it.
But after a while, I wanted to stay home more than I wanted to pack up and live in a different hotel every 6 months. And then I wanted to start a family, and for me, a family on the road was not the goal. I wanted a home, a routine, and to explore Los Angeles like a mom. So that’s what I have done.
And, contrary to what you might hear from some people, this is a great place to raise kids, in my humble opinion. I have my top 5 reasons why I think so. Want to know what they are? Here you go:
1. The Weather. This was a gimme, really, but it’s still a major thing. When we visit the midwest in the Winter, and we have to spend 25 – that’s twenty-five – minutes getting enough clothes on all of us just to walk out the door without dying from exposure, we know we have made the right choice in living here in LA. Life is full of stresses for most of us; the stress of literally getting out the door need not be among them. Not for me. The fact that my kids can play outdoors in January, every January, and all year long, is gold.
2. Diversity. Los Angeles is a multi-cultural City, and if you make even a tiny effort, you can experience what those cultures have to offer. Yes, it means leaving the Westside Bubble (or the Bubble Of Your Own Neighborhood), but the payoffs are worth it. Practically right next door to you are people who speak languages other than English and who eat foods you may never have heard of. Imagine if you share those worlds with your children? Imagine what kind of tolerant, worldly people you’d be raising. There are public schools here in LA that teach Spanish, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese to elementary school kids. How amazing is that? Los Angeles Unified School District, with all its flaws and challenges, could nonetheless help change the stereotypical American Who Can Only Speak English, while the rest of the world speaks multiple languages. I mean, think about it: there are 600,000 students in LAUSD – that’s a great start on bilingualism…
3. High Tech Industry/Video Gaming World. There are an awful lot of really smart people in LA, and there are people creating cutting-edge technology here. Not that Silicon Valley’s not the Big Dog, but don’t underestimate LA. There are huge opportunities here for my kids’ generation to design and build the next (or maybe the next next) information age technological breakthrough. Or to be a part of the future of game design and hardware systems.
4. The Pacific Ocean. This goes hand-in-hand with #1, of course. The fact that we have this vast open pool of water on our Western edge, and the fact that it doesn’t freeze over, is really just a delight. I have spent most of my life within a few miles one Ocean or another, mostly the Pacific, and I think there’s just something magical about it. Not to mention Venice Beach, which is such a trip that tourists come from all over the world to see it. Talk about a tolerance lesson for your kids: strolling along the Venice boardwalk is one long teachable moment, no matter what your personal feelings are about Tarot Card Readings, Medical Marijuana, Teenage Tattoos, or Homelessness. Besides, my kids and I have seen dolphins swim by while sitting on the sand – and that is worth the price right there.
5. Hollywood. Well, given my preamble, you knew this was going to come up. It’s a cliche, and Movies and TV shows – and for that matter YouTube videos – are produced all over the world now of course, but Hollywood is still the core of it all. Even if you think it’s just a quaint notion, the old studios are still here, the agencies (which make the deals) are still here, and the tabloid gossip hounds (which arguably keep the beast fed and going) are still here. Which means that there’s still an industry here, and still a way for our kids to earn a living here as part of the industry. Plus the Glitz and Glam still happens here more than it does in Minneapolis (no disrespect, but it’s true), and I still believe in the Magic Factory as a way to entertain, educate and employ the next generation.
But don’t take my word for it, this Website will show you more and more to love about LA with each post that goes up.
This is an original post for MomsLA, a Community of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles. Sarah Auerswald is a co-Founder of MomsLA, and the blogger behind Mar Vista Mom.