It's hard for me to believe, but this coming June (June 15th to be exact) will be my tenth year living in Southern California. While it doesn't exactly feel like yesterday since I stepped off the plane back in 2005 from Honolulu, It's definitely made me reflect on my first ten years in L.A., along with my first twenty-five years born and raised on the island of O'ahu.
As the only member of my family born in Hawaii, I never looked at the islands as anything more than my home until I got older. Television, movies, and visiting relatives made me aware of how the Hawaiian Islands is a beloved vacation destination for many people in the rest of the United States and around the world. Living in an area where our main highway met the sea, the local beach was a common weekend activity, though I enjoyed traveling to O'ahu's windward side the most, and seeing the cool, green mountains with waterfalls in between them. Mainstream entertainment was limited because of our remote location to the "mainland," we would get alot of movies and video games long after the rest of the country. When I moved to Los Angeles shortly after my twenty-fifth birthday, it was a year long culture shock. Many asked (and still do) why I would move from Hawaii to California in the first place, and as much as I tell people who ask this how expensive the cost of living, utility bills, and limited employment options there are, some still can't get past what they've been told through travel ads and "Hawaii Five-O. Resorts, beaches, sunshine, and hula girls are a very small part of the fiftieth state. Currently, the rest of the island resembles "los angeles on a volcanic rock." After getting used to the time difference between the two cities (2 hours in the fall and winter, 3 hours in the spring and summer), and the faster-paced lifestyle compared to Honolulu, I began to revel in the larger opportunities Los Angeles has to offer. Exploring new areas and neighboring states without a plane, using the public rail system, and most importantly, making new friends and entertainment connections. It's amazing to look back at all the people I've met and have become great friends with through either my sister or through myself at the jobs I've had here. As much as I enjoyed my time in Hawaii, there are so many things I experienced in Los Angeles that I never could have experienced in the islands: working in post-production design, the video gaming industry (where I met the bulk of my friends and roommates), and the IT industry (which helped me learn about becoming a comic convention vendor, thanks to another artistic co-worker). Making trips to other areas in California such as San Diego and San Francisco, as well as neighboring states Nevada and Arizona.
So (raises imaginary glass) here's to ten years in Los Angeles, and perhaps ten more here. That will all depend of course, on what happens in my life during those next ten years. Who knows what the future holds and where it may take me, but for now, I'm enjoying my time as an "angeleno."