23 Things I Learned When I Moved To California

Learning my new surroundings and the culture that goes with it took some time, but here’s my list of the things I've learned while living in the Golden State

This month officially marks the two year anniversary of my transplantation from an east coaster to a west coaster here in sunny California thanks to all the Facebook memory reminders! I can’t believe it’s been a whole two years; yet since making roots here as a family it’s almost difficult to remember a time when we didn’t call California home. Murphy was just a month old when we moved and Greyson was born here so in a way this place will forever be a place I cherish. However, that doesn’t mean I love everything about this state considering it’s quite different from anywhere else I’ve lived…and that’s saying something having lived in D.C.

Learning my new surroundings and the culture that goes with it took some time, but here’s my list of the things I’ve learned while living in the Golden State:

  1. It will take you living in CA for more than a year in order to fully understand its seasons.
  2. You’ll see the word season used loosely. Depending on what part of CA you live in hot and hotter may be your only variation in weather. However you can travel to your seasons and experience fall or winter in NorCal.
  3. CA is much bigger than you or your out-of-state relatives and friends think it is. Just because a minor earthquake was felt in San Francisco doesn’t mean I’m feeling it in L.A. Same goes for weather reports…
  4. You will learn that not all apartments come with air conditioning or washers/dryers in the unit.
  5. Eventually you’ll begin placing the word “the” in front of all interstates and freeways. Also, “the 1” is also known as the “PCH”, never called the “Pacific Coast Highway” in conversation.
  6. You will be able to spot tourists a mile away due to the increase of entry-level convertible Chevy Camaros or Ford Mustangs on the road. No local actually drives those let alone a convertible with the top down.
  7. Parking can be nonexistent in some places. The parking signs are even harder to decipher. Always go with Uber or Lyft when in downtown L.A.
  8. You’ll never go to the beach as often as you think you might, but it won’t stop you from Instgramming the crap out of sunsets and palm trees whenever you do go (see photo above).
  9. You’ll become excited to throw on a sweater and a scarf the moment the temperature dips below 70 degrees.
  10. And you’ll consider it a heatwave when the temperature outside is a balmy 75 degrees.
  11. Whatever concept you had about rush hour no longer exists. Be prepared to sit in traffic, in both directions, during all hours of the day, all day, every day. And forget it if there’s construction.
  12. Invest in a hybrid or electric car due to point number eleven.
  13. No matter where you live you’ll stick to your side of the hood due to the traffic. You will socialize, eat, work, and play in places that are within walking distance or you can Uber to. Live in L.A. but a friend in Malibu wants to hang out? #girlbye.
  14. You won’t run into celebrities as often as you’d think. Unless that is you’re hella rich and can afford to live or socialize in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, or Malibu. Then maybe you can borrow a cup of sugar from a Kardashian or have dinner next to Gwen Stefani.
  15. Speaking of celebrities, don’t be surprised when all of your friends or strangers you meet are some kind of model, actor/actress or otherwise trying to make it in the “biz.”
  16. Taxes will get you every year no matter how well you spend or save your money. California is one of the highest taxed states in the country and the cost-of-living is insane.
  17. It never really rains here so get comfortable with growing succulents instead of an actual garden. But, when it does rain be prepared for mudslides and horrible drivers.
  18. Speaking of horrible drivers, Californians don’t seem to understand what merging is or traffic rules in general. That’s why the 101 and the 405 are always backed up.
  19. SigAlert will be your best commuting friend. Oh, and Ryan Seacrest as you make your morning drive to work.
  20. Fires and earthquakes are real concerns and so is that whole water drought thing. You have to specifically ask for water for it to be served to you in restaurants since water is scarce.
  21. People from California are really proud. Like, Texas or Boston proud…almost. So don’t be surprised to see a lot of L.A. referenced tattoos and or an affinity for the Dodgers and the newly returned L.A. Rams. So, start liking baseball and football if you don’t already.
  22. You will drink wine by the barrels and learn to truly appreciate the artistry that is California wine. You’ll find craft beer here too, as they’re on the rise (especially in Ventura).
  23. Once you make your transition living in California you’ll scoff at the idea of moving back home or living anywhere else. Regardless of all these things listed, life is pretty great when you live at the beach.

Where do you live? Are there any funny nuances of living in your state? Share in the comments!

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