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12 things people miss about LA when they move overseas

Griffith Observatory.
Photograph: John McStravick/Flickr Griffith Observatory.

Moving away from Los Angeles, in my case from the San Fernando Valley to London, is a pretty big commitment. With distance comes missing friends, family, cheap avocados and the sun (I have never been this pale, ever), but also those obnoxious, stressful gifts that only LA can give.

The following list of things I miss the most since moving away from LA might make me seem like a tea-drinking, pale, redcoat-lover who is just kidding around. Do I wish I had all of these things each and every day? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. But anyone who has moved away from LA knows that this is not a joke.

1. Driving in LA (don't laugh): Since moving to London, I only take public transportation. As great as being able to sleep or read on my daily commute is, I miss that reliable hour in traffic to go 5 miles on the 101 reserved for brushing up on my karaoke skills and catching up with friends (hands-free, of course). Speaking out loud in public transportation is frowned upon here, and I don’t need everyone listening to me answer my mom’s questions. More importantly, 'personal space' isn't a known concept during rush hour on the tube, so enjoy the freedom while you have it.

2. Air conditioning: When it's 90 degrees plus in LA, the AC is cranked up or the fans are on. When it feels like 90 degrees in London, there is no air conditioning; we’re told to carry water bottles with us by TFL and pray that the large, shvitzing man wearing a suit doesn’t stand next to us.

3. Earthquakes: It’s pretty embarrassing to duck and cover when you feel the CrossRail construction near your office. Also having to explain how many times you practiced earthquake drills in school to your colleagues is like talking about an alien culture.

4. The buzzing of helicopters: It’s rare here in London to see a helicopter, and every time I do I think, “Oh, that’s right, those flying contraptions do exist!” Compared to being lulled to sleep by them virtually every night in LA, it’s a humming noise you don’t realize you miss.

5. Having people understand the meaning of the word "drought": In 2012, I was told that London was ‘in a drought’ even though it actually rains here. Sure, it didn’t rain that much, but seriously, guys, they actually thought that was a real drought. Sorry, California.

6. Latin American Spanish: Sure, there is a fairly decent Latin American community in London, but the majority of the Spanish language I hear is from tour groups of Spanish students and it's just not the same.

7. Having predictable weather: Will it be cold and rainy today in London, or grey and surprisingly warm? Or, will it be rainy, then warm and rainy, then freakish cold? In LA, blue sky means warmth, and less morning decisions nearly all year-round. Jeans, blouse, sandals, copper-boom! Having a wardrobe of only summery outfits is a blessing for indecisive people, and you won’t have to ask yourself, “Could I be wearing any more clothes?”

8. June gloom: This is the one month of the year when it is acceptable to wear a hoodie in LA, as opposed to about 48 weeks of the year in London. The calm before the perpetual heat storm is a beautiful thing.

9. Iced Frappuccinos: Again, I really never get a chance to have them in London. Even if you don't really drink coffee, it's nice to have the option of sugary, cold deliciousness.

10. Roscoe’s: Some people just don’t understand that chicken (savory) and waffles (sweet) go together in delicious, hard-to-find-parking-for harmony.

11. The Tarzana CPK on Ventura: As I currently live within walking distance of one the best Italian pizza places in London, this is more of a nostalgic reason as this CPK was located halfway between groups of friends and was near our school. Finding parking was less of an adventure back then than in Santa Monica, but trying to get out of those parking spaces at 7:30pm on a Friday made me feel like I could achieve anything. Anyone want to ship me an Original BBQ Chicken Salad + Thai Chicken Pizza? My mom refuses to put a simple In-N-Out burger in her suitcase when she visits, so…

12. Going to Zuma Beach on Tuesdays in the summer: I did this along with half the population in the Valley to escape the 10,000-degree heat (slight exaggeration). Although, after reading about those venomous snakes that washed up, I’d be okay waiting until that is sorted out.