There is a large exodus from California to the Pacific Northwest right now, and we are in the middle of it.
Some people are moving because the economy in California is atrocious, some are moving because of the culture and government, some are moving because it is more affordable up here…
We had a pretty simple reason, and we moved because of employment. Pretty straightforward and uncomplicated.
However, we keep running into people from California…everywhere we go. From the cashier at Costco who grew up in Hayward, to the lady at the beach who has grandkids in the Central Valley, to the Mormon missionaries that visited the other day and who grew up in Redwood City.
I will say, the nice thing about moving up here from California is that the culture isn’t too terribly different. It isn’t anything like moving from SanFrancisco to NewOrleans, or from Sacramento to NewHampshire. Those would be pretty radical differences. No, CA to WA hasn’t been too big of a difference, all in all: yet, there are a few things we have had to change.
10 Tips of Washington Island Transitioning For California Imports
1. Stop Calling Seattle “The City.”
If you are from the SanFrancisco area, you will call SanFrancisco “The City.” “I’m going to The City today for a meeting,” “We are meeting some friends in The City this weekend to go to the zoo.” Seattle is not The City, and no one around here calls it The City. Yet, we have found ourselves calling it The City frequently because that is what we are used to. This is Seattle. Not SanFrancisco.
2. You are not allowed to say that “winters/spring aren’t so wet/bad as I thought!”
while you are experiencing the warmest winter/spring in record history. Until you realize you haven’t shaved your legs as a source of warmth since November, you haven’t actually experienced a normal winter/spring.
3. Flashlights are now a must-have item.
Your iPhone flashlight can’t handle the absolute, unconditional darkness that you will encounter here on the island. Sure, during the day it is sunny and light (for the most part), but once the sun begins to set, the faint glow of hope from your iPhone is positively useless. Save it for trying to find your socks in the middle of the night, or navigating up the stairs at dusk. But walking outside requires military-grade, LED, “I think I found a portal into space” flashlights.
4. Please don’t ask your grocery clerk on which aisle the pot can be found.
5. Starbucks withdrawal is real.
Fortunately, locals can, and will, help you not only find cafe’s in your neighborhood, but you can also start rediscovering coffee drinks, other than skinny caramel macchiatos! I am googling names like “Canadiana” while in line, these days, so it looks like I know the vaguest thing about coffee, anymore. However, you will find yourself falling in love with coffee houses all over again. Besides, the coffee houses up here also have alcohol. Just sayin’.
6. The Wheels On The Bus… Go To Your House
Yes, you, too, can ride the bus! Bus and public transit in CA is a terrible, terrible waste. I rode the bus once when I was a sophomore in high school, in a small town. It took me all over the small town, it took 4 hours, and it finally dropped me off to the bus stop I began with in the first place. That is how I remember CA bus systems. Now, granted, the MUNI system in SanFrancisco is very helpful. But for the rest of us 8,000,000 people who lived in the Bay Area and didn’t live in SF, the bus systems weren’t helpful.
Here, though, they are amazing. They are clean, they are friendly, they are accessible…and they actually take you to where you need to go! This has been a big transition for us, because riding the bus is just not part of our lifestyle. Or, at least, it wasn’t. Now that we have actually used the buses over here, and don’t waste two hours making ridiculous trips to places we don’t need to go, and actually get to our destinations in a very reasonable amount of time…we, too, can ride the bus!
7. The weather is going to mess with you, in ways you never expected.
Yes, it is colder and overcast more often here than in the Bay Area, and especially more than the Central Valley (I will never miss Central Valley summers for as long as I live). So far I haven’t found it to be too much of a factor on my moods, which is nice. Running out of coffee at 7 in the morning has had a much bigger impact on my moods. However, I have found that my ability to rely on the sun to help me out with little things…is gone.
Let me ‘splain: I was doing yardwork in the forest the other day, and I was wearing my BOGS boots. I took them off and left them next to the garage door. The next morning, while it was lightly raining, I noticed they were still there, and now were drenched in the cleansing PNW rain. Well, no harm, right? I mean, I can just leave them on the covered porch, and they’ll dry out in a little while.
Nope. I used to leave wet things out in the CA sun, and they would be dry within an hour. Easily. But here, the temperature doesn’t get high enough to evaporate the water. It is stuck at “dew point” all day, so I had to place the boots on top of the dryer to let them finally dry out.
Also: defrosting chicken. I used to be able to put a frozen chicken on my patio table for a little while, and the sun would gently thaw it for me. No more of that! I could put a frozen chicken outside, and it would still be frozen tomorrow. If anything, I’d have frustrated coyotes or eagles gnawing on frozen chicken behind my house, and that does not sound like a good time. For either of us.
I don’t even know if Sun Tea would work out here…
8. The “Seattle Freeze” is a big fat lie.
I was warned about the “Seattle Freeze” before we moved up here, and I honestly don’t know where it is. I have looked for it in parks, on the beaches, in cafe’s, restaurants, random people walking their dogs…
Every person I have talked to has been not only friendly, but helpful, inviting and just plain nice. We have played with every kid we meet in the parks, and the parents have been consistently amiable.
Urban Dictionary says the Seattle Freeze is, “It’s not that people here are unfriendly, they will hold the door for you and wave you into traffic and stuff like that, it’s that everything is maddeningly impersonal. The attitude is “have a nice day, somewhere else”. It’s easy to get along but making friends is almost impossible. People will say they want to hang out with you sometime and look at you like a freak when you actually suggest something. People enthusiastically say they are coming to a party then don’t show up. People are flaky and hard to pin down.”
But you know what? Even if one day, at some point the Seattle Freeze actually happens, and everyone I meet is suddenly super flaky and all of a sudden I can’t make any friends…it is nothing compared to the California Cliques, which has always grated at my very soul. That is a whole rant-blog, in itself.
9. When does the puddle in your front yard actually become a pond?
Because it has been here ever since we moved in, and we are thinking about adding frogs and just turning it into our own little frog pond.
10. No one else is actually from here, either.