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Ava Said
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L.A.

L.A. The city of dreams, 

the city of sadness, 

the city where you hustle to survive.  

I came to L.A. when I was 22 years old, with a dream of a better life – just like any immigrant that comes to America to fulfill their dream. And mine was to take care of my family.  

I remember having tough times. Many tough times. Working long hours with nothing to eat but a tortilla I scrounged up for lunch. There was one day as I was walking into work that the street in front of the factory I worked at was flooded with food trucks. Anger flashed through me (or maybe it was hunger) when I saw these trucks trying to lure in the factory crowd to eat their food. At the time I was dirt poor.

Everything I earned went to my family and to the crippling debt I had got myself into. And when you can’t have something, that’s when you want it the most. So at lunchtime, I went out as if I was going to buy something from the vendor who had a full line ahead of him. He was so busy with taking orders and getting payments that when he was with a customer, I snuck in and stole 3 radishes. In my country, we were accustomed to eating radishes just by themselves. To pair it with my tortilla was so enticing that I couldn’t resist. 

At that moment, I wondered if that was going to be my life in the city of dreams. After that night, I decided that my life was going to change for the dream that I came for. I started to hustle in many ways. I cleaned houses and worked in factories all day just to go and sell clothes from the back of my car trunk. Working nine hours a day, I was exhausted – but I knew that I wanted a better life for me and my family.

L.A. is elusive. It’s tough, problematic, lonely. 

But there is also opportunity, hope, and a future here in this city. 

L. A is the city of hustling to make your dreams come true and mine came true when I brought my daughters and the rest of my family to L.A. It was a beautiful feeling of accomplishment in those streets where my hard work paid off.

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