As some of you may know, I recently moved to northern California from Los Angeles County. And I have to say, it is different up here. Moving to a place where nobody knows your name is an awesome and terrifying experience. It is almost like when you go to the beach and the water is super cold, but you know that once you’re in you’ll get used to it and won’t want to get out –except this takes longer.
People tell you that it can be a chance to start over and be who you really are because nobody has any expectations of you. You hear things like, “you’re a friendly person, you’ll have no problem there,” and “I give you a month before you decide to come back.”
This isn’t the first time I do this, and I’m just now starting to notice a pattern.
1. Feeling excited. New place, new toilet, new foods, new weather. It feels like when you’re a kid and you’re going to get to go to Disneyland the next day.
2. Minor freak out. Oh crap, new place, new toilet, new food, new weather. Will I like it? What if I starve? What if my butt isn’t compatible with the new toilet?
3. Settling in. It is nice, for a little bit. Then it is quiet for a while; nothing is going on, nobody that you know is around for hundreds of miles and you can do whatever you want! Yeah!
4. Questioning your choices. Maybe you should’ve thought about this move some more.
5. Adjusting. You soon discover your favorite places to eat, favorite coffee house, you meet new people and for some reason end up meeting those who are also new to the area. Birds of a feather poop together, I guess. (poop?)
There are a few things that are strange about new places. People have different ways of saying things. Here, people say “hella” and at first I thought it was a word like “hello” but it turns out it means “hell of” ..sort of.. like “that’s a hell of a lot of diapers” translates to “that’s hella lot of diapers”. The metro is “VTA” or “trolley”, and the hobos are quite talkative. Mostly they talk to themselves, but hey, to every man his lemonade.
When you ask for a recommendation (like the best burrito around), people will give you a bunch of street names and landmarks that you have no clue about. “Oh yeah, take a left on Market St and its right by the Convention Center.. past Phoebe’s.” Then, when they realize you’re confused, they try an alternative explanation, followed by “Where are you from?”
Another thing is that you always seem to be taking the long route to get to places. Once you find a way to get to a place, you keep taking it until you are certain that you can get there via another route. We like familiar things. Which is also why you probably frequent the same shops and restaurants until the shop owners begin to know you by name. The morning shift server at a Denny’s knows my “usual” already. Score!
A new place gives you a completely different perspective on people and your own life. You suddenly realize that there is a whole other world different than yours. Sort of like discovering “the others” on the island on the TV show “Lost.” You realize how tiny you really are, and how you could’ve gone your whole life without experiencing a new area with different people, better coffee, and colder weather.
What was YOUR experience like when you moved to a new place? If you haven’t, would you ever consider doing so? How did/would you keep in touch with old friends? How did/would you make new ones?