Growing up in New York City, I am used to living in apartments. There are certian nice things about apartment living such as having someone else to pick up your packages, other people to do maintenance, and occasionally have access to a gym where I do not have to go out to the streets to reach Accessibility! Because I went to boarding school and then lived in dorms for college, I am very used to sharing small spaces. In all, I am not a person that necesarily needs to live in a house. I have a house in New York (the burbs) that I am currently renting out as I try to settle in Los Angeles. I do miss my little house on the hill. What I miss most is not having to interact with other people in an elevator. I manage to do enough small talk at work that I do not feel compelled to have to do it all times of my life. Thus, after a year here in Los Angeles, I am starting to go house hunting. This is a big move for me as I consider whether I really want to stay in this area.
I went mapping communities and neighborhoods last weekend. I went to this one area that everyone told me is up and coming called West Adams. It has a little “historic” area. We went and found houses for sale there and I was severely disappointed. I couldn’t see myself in that area. I wondered why so many people told me that I would like it. I didn’t see how people saw that area as something to put on a wishlist.
We then decided to try a completely new area the next day. we tried about four different areas. Los Angeles is behemoth and you truly need to pick your areas quite calculatedly. Then we found a new area somewhat randomly. It was small and had these gorgeous houses that were well-maintained. We felt that we could see ourselves there. The next day I told a few of my colleagues and they all had different reactions. But one, in particular, stood out to me. She had grown up in that neighborhood-on the other side of the tracks of that neighborhood. She had grown up poor, hungry and motivated. Like myself. Once she could she got away from that neighborhood. She left it and never looked back. She was shocked that I saw beauty in the place where she had seen destruction and ugliness. She had gone thorugh grand discomfort there and couldn’t see why I would put my hard-earned dollars there. I explained the specific streets that I had found to be enticing and she paused and reflected. She noted those were the streets that she never had gone to. They had been a mystery to her. She noted that possibly it could be nice. I knew in that moment that the place from which she had escaped could be my paradise. It was simialr to the area that I had been to previously that I did not care for much; was actually someone’s else’s aspiration.
What is one person’s darkness is someone’s else light and vice versa. That much is clear to me as I start looking for what can ostensibly be my new home.