I am a born and bred New Englander, having lived the first 18 years of life in the same house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But, when senior year of high school rolled around and I got to thinking about where I wanted to spend the next four years, like the Mamas & the Papas I was California dreaming on a winter’s day: the weather, the people, the beaches, the weather, the food, and the weather had me ready to give up my winter jacket for good and move across the country. Though it isn’t always easy living so far from home – especially when I see my friends go home for a weekend just for a good meal and some quality time with their dog – I have never regretted my decision. LA is such a vibrant city, there’s always something new to do! But there were a few things I have had to learn to fit into the SoCal lifestyle:
- Distance is measured in time – The first few times I asked someone how far away their hometown is from campus and they told me, “Oh like 25 minutes without traffic, 45 with” I thought they had just misunderstood my question. But no, this is just how distance is communicated and understood. The infamous LA traffic can make a 5 mile drive either a quick errand or an all day activity simply depending on where in the city it is, so mileage becomes kind of irrelevant.
- Rain is the worst thing anyone has ever seen – The first big rain (big in LA terms, a pretty steady drizzle in Boston terms) of the year I had professors all day thanking us for making it out to class. Having been used to trekking to school in a snowstorm, I couldn’t believe that it was shocking we would make it out in some rain! But since rain is so foreign to LA, the locals don’t really know what to do with it – Uber prices surge, the roads are stopped, and truly no one has rain boots. It’s actually kind of funny to watch.
- No seasons, no time – As I said earlier, the LA weather was a huge draw for me to USC. But one thing I did not anticipate being a consequence of having essentially the same weather every day is that you don’t notice time passing. The harsh Boston seasons broke up the school year in a pretty predictable way: it’s hot when school starts, the temperature starts to drop and you know Thanksgiving is coming, it gets really cold and miserable and you know you’re halfway there, then as the thermometer starts to climb again and when it’s hot again, it’s summer vacation! But here, with practically no seasons, its warm and nice, it gets a little cooler, its still warm and nice, gets a little warmer, still warm and nice and before you know it you’re taking finals and the school year is over. I couldn’t believe how fast my freshman year went, and I blame the perfect weather for not preparing me.