In Honor Of LA's Birthday, Let's Write A Collective Love Letter

Sunset in Los Feliz. (Photo: Kara Brugman/Flickr Creative Commons)

Happy birthday, Los Angeles! 237 looks good on you.

Sept. 4 is the commonly accepted anniversary of when original settlers founded El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles in 1781. We're paying tribute by writing a collective love letter to the city.

When was the first moment you felt like you belonged in L.A.? Whether you're an immigrant, transplant or lived here your whole life, there may have been a moment you looked around and realized this city was truly your home.

If you need a little inspiration, here are some moments that other Angelenos have shared with us:

MELISSA AFABLE, PASADENA:

I was mostly raised in San Bernardino. Even though I was raised in Southern California, I never really felt much like an Angeleno.

In 2013, I was over a year into my job in downtown L.A. I would take public transportation to get in from San Bernardino County.

This one time I was crossing 7th and Figueroa right there in downtown LA, right there in front of the Metro station.

I had seven seconds to spare in the crosswalk countdown timer.

I book it, and I make it. No big deal. I've done it plenty of other times.

But this time, there happened to be an LAPD officer.

He waived me over, and he told me that what I did was just illegal. That it was a pedestrian jaywalking ticket he'd have to issue me.

It was over $250! There was no way to fight it. It was incredible.

I had never really felt like an Angeleno until then.

All of the stereotypes that people have of L.A. with the crazy traffic and crazy tickets, I mean, yeah, it finally happened to me — I got a pedestrian ticket, and it was this outrageous amount.

It was one of those "Only in L.A." moments, and now I wear it like a badge of honor!

RAJANA KISHORE, ARCADIA

I moved here in 2002 for my first job. Where I come from, [southern India] the colors, the sights and the sounds are very bright.

The gulmohars, also known as the flame trees, they have these bright red canopies.

When I first interviewed here for my job, I had some extra time, so I was walking on Lake Avenue in Pasadena.

I suddenly looked up, and I saw the purple of the jacaranda trees in Pasadena. They sort of reminded me of those trees back home. They had these bright, light purple canopies.

Also, the bright orange-yellow of the bird-of-paradise flowers and the red roof tiles, the citrus scent in the air — just these bright colors reminded me of home.

It just came to me that this was home.

DAVID KING, WEST L.A.

I'm from Topeka, Kansas.

In a small place like Kansas, I didn't really fit in too well. I was always a little "artistic," I'd like to say. I think most folks would say I was a little headstrong.

I started playing music in bands and people would say, "Oh, he's a musician," and they'd all nod their heads like, "Yeah, that meant something different."

I was 28 when I got this little apartment down toward Long Beach, and the first morning I was living there, I wake up, make my coffee and look out the window.

My next door neighbor is in his slippers and his bathrobe walking down the street with a cigarette. And he goes down to the corner and buys his newspaper.

I thought, "Oh my god! If this was Kansas, there'd be a riot! People would be calling the police, like, 'There's this guy in his bathrobe on the street!'"

I just smiled! I thought, oh my god, I'm home. Nobody's going to bother me at all for being different.

Have your own story to tell? Let us know below.

Take Two reporter/producer Leo Duran contributed to this report.


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