i am san fernando Turns One

My life as a blogger has been many things: grueling, invigorating, tasty, silly, expensive, cheap, uncomfortable, fun, eye-opening, exhausting, death-defying (OK, maybe not the last one). But there’s probably one word that trumps the rest when I think of my twelve months as Ms. i am san fernando: satisfying.

There’s something extremely fulfilling about feeling the fire underneath your fingertips as you type until 4 a.m. about a vegan chef raised in Pacoima, a comedian rediscovering community through his craft, or even red velvet pancakes in the ‘hood (the positive implications of said pancakes run deep, but that’s another story.)

Yes, satisfying. Satisfaction in knowing that a small idea born in New York was strong enough to carry this site to where it is today.

The beauty of i am san fernando, to me anyway, is that it puts a finger on something intangible and makes it real. You see, back when I was on the East Coast and tried to explain what this blog would be about, I wasn’t very good at articulating the concept. Most people would shrug and respond with a disinterested comment like, “So, it’s going to cover events and your hometown and…?”

Mainly it didn’t resonate with people out there because they weren’t from here. i am san fernando is so much more than events, singles, eats, local finds, etc. It’s more because collectively these posts add up to one thing: value. Value in an area that is consistently written off, in people who aren’t recognized, in a community you know has done much for your personhood but they can’t understand.

I’m going to get a little personal, in case my life documented in a blog for the past year hasn’t been personal enough. My parents came from Mexico, landed in the city of San Fernando and found success in a business run out of Pacoima. I was born in Sun Valley, lived in Pacoima and Mission Hills until I was six and went to San Fernando Elementary School for kindergarten. Then, my parents moved their kids to “greener” (whiter) pastures, Northridge, thinking that was the best thing for their children.

Life kind of turned upside down when the foundation below us literally shook (see ’94 earthquake.) My parents had their home foreclosed, lost their business and filed for bankruptcy. We moved back to Mission Hills, then Arleta, and did a good deal of bouncing around — we moved six times in three years — before finally settling in San Fernando. Years 12 to 18 were not my happiest.

I later came to appreciate that period. Again, it was something intangible but profound. After going away to college, living in L.A. proper for a few years and shooting off to New York for graduate school, I came to realize how much the city had crept into my bones. My adolescent years were about balancing circumstances, facing economic disparity, finding my place in changing communities, the push and pull between spectator and participant in my own culture; San Fernando threw all of this in my face. How could I not be forever changed?

And so, in later discovering how much of my world perspective had been informed by such a small, small area, it became clear that i am san fernando had to happen. Because if I attributed so much to this part of the Valley, I knew others found meaning in it and would want to see that value affirmed.

Sometimes you can’t quite put your finger on something, but you know it’s there. There’s a sense of place, strength and beauty in finally seeing your community recognized. It’s downright satisfying.

Thank you to everyone who made the past year possible and for the amazing support you’ve shown i am san fernando. I expect big things in 2012 and can’t wait to share these enhancements with you. Check out the past year in pictures and, for old times’ sake, i am san fernando’s very first blog post.




written by

i am san fernando is April Aguirre, a writer born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. April bounced around the Valley throughout her upbringing and lived outside of California for a quick minute but always felt most at home in the city of San Fernando. To get at April's heart, FedEx puppies to her door, offer In-N-Out cheeseburgers by the dozen or introduce her to a beer tastier than the last.

24 Responses to "i am san fernando Turns One"

  1. i am san fernando’s Anniversary: The Year in Photos | i am san fernando. says:

    […] hard to put into words the ups and downs of the past year (I sort of tried here), but sometimes it’s easier to encapsulate memories through […]

  2. Octate says:

    That was a wonderful article, I grew up in Arleta and just bought a house in SF 3 years ago and never realized how much i would fall in love this city for all it’s good and all it’s bad. but growing up i would never come to this side of town and now i want kid to grow up here. You got full support from me, i visit your site all the time and love the love you bring back to the community and how no matter what people say about this city you always find a way to make it look that much brighter. To another year and more for you.
    Thank you!

  3. Stephanie says:

    This article is heart-warming :.) <3 I have to say you're website/blog is impressive. The Valley is huge and as diverse as Africa! It's such a relief to have this resource and virtual trail of the SFV. 'I am SF' is immensely significant resource for us.

  4. DJ Bozo says:

    Congratulations on your One Year Anniversary!

  5. Kristy says:

    Congratulations!! i am san fernando has truly been a success! 🙂

  6. Hernandez says:

    I have only been reading your blog for a year, but have come to enjoy it immensley and look forward to new postings. I was born and raised here, went away to college, got married and told my husband we had to move back to raise our family. He was from the OC, but quickly fell in love with our little town too. We have been here 15 years and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. It’s like Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name.” Happy 1 year anniversary and keep up the great work!

  7. Dad and Mom says:

    Felicidades hija por tu primer aniversario, estamos muy orgullosos de ti eres un valiente y emprendedora persona te deseamos mucho exito en todo te amamos eres especial que Dios te bendiga.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Congrats! I just picked up some brewskies from Ralphs that you recommended & am celebrating in your honor! Now I just have to try out those magical red velvet pancakes!

  9. i am sf Reaches 818 Likes | i am san fernando. says:

    […] Lucky number 818 was happy she found i am san fernando on Facebook, even before I had told her she’d won a t-shirt. She asked how long the page had been around and I told her we just celebrated our one-year anniversary. […]

  10. Jairo Arreola says:

    I am so glad I found this site. I found it this morning and I have been clicking through the pages. The only question I have is, “How come it took me so long to find you” I will be here often. Trust.

    • i am san fernando. says:

      Yay! Makes me happy to see comments like this and people interacting with the blog. I don’t know why it took so long! I must be doing something wrong but, trust, I try my hardest to get the word out! Glad to have you as a reader.

  11. gabriel i (am San Fer...) says:

    Just moved to San Fernando this month (I lived here as a small boy previously). Grew up in Sun Valley and in Pacoima. Stumbled on here looking for City Hall and reading up on the city’s history. Good read! Keep up the good work!

    I’ll search you on FB and “like”…

  12. Two Years Strong…Now What? | i am san fernando. says:

    […] it came time to celebrate my one-year anniversary, it was a moment of great pride. The blog had gained a quite following, I was establishing a strong […]

  13. Cindy says:

    Hi April,

    How I found your blog starts with a Google search for Farmers Markets in Pacoima and voila! I found your great website and I am sorry to have missed the event at Tia Chuchas this past weekend.
    I work at a pasta company here in San Fernando and for the last 16 years we have specialized in restaurants, hotels and country clubs , but starting this month and moving forward we are opening are doors to locals in the area for “Ravioli Fridays.” Every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. we welcome all neighbors to come buy and purchase from our curated Family-Style Menu.

    . We are trying to let people know and so your blog seems like a great place where people go to learn about events and food!

    You can check out our website: http://www.cucinadellacucina.com to learn more about our company. We’ve been in San Fernando for 16 years and we would really love for the community to know more about us.

    Look forward to hearing back from you,



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