The "Why I love Los Angeles" Top 10 List
Trip Start Oct 30, 2007
107Trip End Ongoing
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There is a voice within me that has been questioning my actions as the enormity of what I'm doing is still beyond grasp for me. There is another voice, however, that calms me down and tells me that all is well and that all will be well. "This adventure", it tells me, "is the natural unfolding of your life. Breathe!"
In times of transition, I learned, it is always a good idea to meditate and to focus on appreciation, so I decided to write a Top Ten list of things I am grateful for and leaving behind. In other times I would have named such a list "Things I'm going to miss about LA". But nowadays, knowing that "missing" is a focusing on lack rather than abundance, I rather gratefully focus on the abundance of experiences I had in Los Angeles:
Los Angeles, being comprised of many ethnic groups, is home to an incredible amount of ethnic markets. My favorite pass time in LA, which I got to share with Sean many times, is shopping at these ethnic markets. We both get such enjoyment from seeing the aisle of infinite kinds of Kimchi at the Korean market, the olive oil aisle at the Palestinian market, the cart shoving at the Persian market, the unusual (and often bizarre) foods in the Chinese and Thai markets. Every ethnic market trip was like a mini vacation to a different country. I personally think this is definitely one of the best ways to explore LA.
Epsom Salt Baths
In SE Asia I fell in love with cold water bucket showers, but as soon as I returned to LA I resumed my daily Epsom Salt bath ritual. I just love starting each day with a relaxing soak, mindful breathing and relaxing, fine tuning my body and mind for the day ahead.
The West Hollywood 24 Hour Fitness branch, in a walking distance from my home, has recently remodeled their steam room. The process took more that one long year to complete, but the result is certainly worth the wait. It is by far the best steam room I've ever enjoyed. Its excellent steam pressure, perfect room temperature and bright light make it an ideal place to breathe deeply and sweat.
Oil Can's Harry
This Country dancing gay club was my first love in LA. The atmosphere here is always friendly and I found it always very joyous to two-step with old and new friends. I enjoy Western dancing very much, and this place is certainly one of the best places to do it.
I appreciate having lived in West Hollywood, where the large concentration of gays and lesbians allows some unique and heartwarming sightings of men kissing and hugging in public. I have always liked public displays of affection, especially those rare ones between men.
I get so much delight from eating good food that my enjoyment of a good meal usually lasts way after the meal is consumed. As such, I am very fortunate to have several excellent cooks in my life (including one in my own apartment!). While I love and appreciate all of them, I am especially grateful for my friend Rachel and her extraordinary cooking abilities. Every dish she makes is simply perfection, and her joy and love of cooking is present in every bite. One day I'll post here her out-of-this-world coleslaw recipe, so that you can get a glimpse into her extraordinary abilities.
Water has been my preferred beverage for several years now. And while I do enjoy the taste of mineral water I never really enjoyed the plastic waste that it produces. The two Brita water filtering gadgets I had in my apartment provided me with pure drinking water whenever I wanted without producing so much waste. Joy.
Friends and acquaintances
My beloved health care provider Dr. Matt Van Benscotten jokingly told me once that "LA is like a bowl of granola, it is full of flakes, fruit, and nuts". While it may be true, I am glad to say that none of my friends fits the stereotypical LA persona, not even a little.
My friends and acquaintances in LA are a group of wonderful people, each very different from the others. I appreciate each and everyone of you for the experiences and bonds we shared and look forward to what unfolds next for us.
Practicing and teaching yoga has become such an important part of my life I cannot imagine living without it. The abundance of yoga studios in Los Angeles with so many excellent teachers provided me with ample opportunities to practice with wonderful teachers and fellow practitioners. The joy I get from practicing yoga, in groups and by myself, is something I cannot describe. Teaching yoga, especially to private students, is a sacred space I cherish tremendously. While I am certain that I will continue teaching yoga in the future, letting go of my students in LA was especially trying experience.
Sťan Boudreau, the man I love.
When Sťan and I broke up many of our friends thought it was weird that we decided to remain living together. And at first it was weird to some degree. But very quickly the weirdness dissolved as we both realized how much we appreciated each other. As time passed we kept on having wonderfully intimate experiences together, our relationship deepened, and we have became closer than we've ever been before, even as boyfriends.
It was amazing to witness how the relationship has transformed after we removed the sexual aspect (and the expectations it carries) from it. The openness and freedom it created allowed us to truly fall in love with each other, this time as the best of friends.
This morning was especially emotional and teary as saying goodbye to Sean proved to be the biggest challenge of this adventure. Why leave behind such a connection that is all love? Right now, I cannot answer this question.
I look forward to seeing Sean again in a few months, when he comes to visit me in Morocco. Hopefully he'll decide to stay.