Dear La Cañada
This month 18 years ago, as an 8-month-old, I moved to La Cañada Flintridge with my parents and my brother.
Tomorrow, as an 18-year-old, I'll be moving away from La Cañada, without my parents, without my brothers.
I don't remember moving to LC at all, but I like to think that it was the greatest thing that's ever happened to me, because without La Cañada, nothing in my life would be the same.
Sure, every event in my life ultimately shaped who I am, but pretty much everything would be different if I hadn't grown up in LC.
I'm really content with where I am in my life right now. I have great friends, a great family, and tomorrow I'm heading off to what's basically my dream school.
And yeah I'm completely aware that I would still have a great family and great friends if we never left Santa Monica, but I'm gonna pretend that how life happened for me here was the best it could've been.
So, I'd like to write a quick thank you note to something I'll always look back on with seemingly endless memories, my hometown.
Dear La Cañada,
It's really easy to hate the town you grow up in. It's too this, it's too that, life would've been better there. As I've said before, people like to play the "victim of unfortunate circumstance" card, but I genuinely don't think I went a day in high school without hearing how much you suck. From being too small, too conservative, too liberal, too lame, people always found something to complain about.
Don't get me wrong, I can complain, too. I'm not going to pretend like everything was sunshine and rainbows for 18 years, but I choose to remember growing up as, in every sense of the words, growing up.
From the high highs to the low lows, without the times I felt down, it would be harder to appreciate the times I was happiest.
I haven't forgotten the times I felt stuck, out of place, or wished I was somewhere else, but I kinda wish I had recognized that often times, where you are is where you need to be.
In my years, I've heard a lot of people talk mad shit about you, but I could never even pretend to hate you, LC. It hurts my heart to think about hating my hometown after how much it's given me.
La Cañada, you gave me the Elizabeth I know today. You gave me heartbreak, happiness, excitement, sadness, despair, hope, and so much more.
You gave me the Town Center, the Chamber of Commerce, and LCE.
You gave me Cornishon, Haymen, and my truest love, Atlee Drive.
You gave me Foothill Blvd, Michigan Hill, and Hahamunga.
You gave me Girl Scout Camp, Memorial Weekend, and Music in the Park.
You gave me the Geller's, the Peterson's, the Koerber's, the Del Valle's, the Larcher's, the Bernstein's, and so many other family's who just feel like extensions of my own (even though you gave some away to other towns, cities, and states).
You gave me Ms. Smith, Mrs. Kaze, Mrs. Pruden, Mr. Carroll, and Mr. Valassidis (plus so many other amazing teachers I will never forget).
You gave me Mr. Cartnal, Ms. Zooi, and Mr. Lively.
La Cañada, you gave me the YMCA, Foothill Force, and Miss LCF.
You gave me LCHS, ASB, and TACH (extra thank you's for those).
You've given me Descanso Gardens, Memorial Park, and the Edison.
You gave me things that didn't even belong to you, like Eva, Phebe, and Amanda.
You've even let me keep things that no longer belong to you, like Elle, Audrey, and Serina.
You've given me my best friends, my favorite classes, and 99% of my best days.
You gave me a 5-8 minute drive to school, all the Honorary Sisters, and the Crest.
You gave me friend groups I will always cherish and people I will always hate.
Ultimately, you have given me exactly what I needed to get to where I am today.
La Cañada, I don't love everyone who calls you home, but that's not your fault, and I'd forgive you anyway.
This move is only making me more excited for all the lives you will change, but sad I can no longer be apart of your everyday reality.
To the place I will never be ashamed to call my hometown, thank you, and I'll be back to visit soon enough and home for the summers.