I found it, and I am so very happy I did. I live in a neighborhood called North City Farms. I was able to purchase my home for extremely cheap, even though it has many upgrades from when it was built in 1947. My mortgage is less than that of most my friends' rent in midtown, and I'm about 3.5 miles away from city center. I couldn't be happier.
My neighborhood is mostly Mexican, and the shops are family owned by people who live here. I bought my xmas tree on the corner, from a guy who lives around a different corner. I love the sense of community there is here, even if I still get sideways glances when I walk in to buy pan dulces. I don't blame them. They don't want a bunch of folks like me moving in to their neighborhood and "fancying it up." Well, I sure as hell don't want that either.
Ten minutes one way is the Vietnamese part of town, and 5 minutes the other way is a small Japanese enclave. When I moved in my mom was a little scared of where I was moving. I just reassured her, "These people are poor like me, mom." My neighbors wave when I drive by. I had a neighbor when I asked to borrow a ladder, come and clean out my gutters for me. THAT is the kind of neighborhood I wanted to live in.
Now, I do make more than most in this community. I have cable with HBO and Showtime. I can afford to shop at specialty grocers and buy only seasonal produce. I have a little more liquid income than the folks around me who have sheets hanging in the windows instead of curtains. But I feel at home here. And this isn't my starter home. This is where I plan on staying unless I see a bunch of Starbucks and new store fronts with boutiques go in. Then I might consider going somewhere else.
This is Scott's Burger Shack. It totally reminds me of something you'd see in a scene of Southland. The food is good and the workers are no nonsense. "Just a second hon!" they'll yell as you stand at the order window. Sometimes there's just one lady in there working the grill and taking orders.
Here is the place that makes the best pan dulces in the whole wide world. People drive hours to get this stuff. I usually get the puerquito, or the nino envuelto.
I know, both food places, go figure. Here is the store I can walk to in about two minutes.
My neighborhood has history and personality, and I wouldn't change a thing about it. It's virtually untouched by chain stores and modern "conveniences" like fast food places. I really like it here.
This neighborhood isn't for everyone. You'll almost always see someone on the street who is definitely on one drug or another. There are little fruit carts out chopping up fresh cups of fruit with chile powder on the weekends. You will almost always hear cumbia blasting somewhere in the neighborhood. I love that about this place. I wouldn't change a damn thing.