There are times when I can't imagine living anywhere else but here, but there are also times when I miss New England terribly. If you can believe it, the recent New England snowmageddon has made me miss home almost as much as it's made me grateful for this 70 degree California weather :). The two places are just so vastly different, that it's hard to compare! But...it's kind of fun to try. So I've slowly but surely been compiling a mental list of the things I like best about each of these "homes" of mine....Here's my New England vs. Cali showdown!
Better DriversSomehow I was led to believe that we "Massholes" are terrible drivers. I have an inkling now that it has more to do with our tendency for road rage and honking (which I think people might just do for fun) than with our actual skills. Out here, Californians lollygag around the road, literally going as low as 45 on the highway. And don't even get me started on how folks out here drive when it rains. We New Englanders know how to get to where we're going!
Memorial Day / 4th of July / Patriots' DayThey're just better back East. We have these patriotic holidays on lock down! I think it's something to do with our plentiful East Coast history, plus the fact that by that time of year people are so ridiculously grateful for the sunny weather - you can't help but be in a jolly good mood. And Patriots' Day (aka Marathon Monday)? Um hello. Yes please and thank you for an extra holiday! The Boston Marathon, a home game, lots of sunshine and sometimes my birthday fall on this special holiday each year, making it one of my faves. And Massachusetts is one of the very few special states smart enough to celebrate it.
Snow Snow Snow (and seasons in general)Like I said, I'm kinda jealous that I missed the snowmageddon! Snow does not bother me. Yes it helps that I'm a skier. And sure, sure it get's a bit old when it turns into gray slush or when you're digging your car out for the 3rd (or 100th) day in a row, but it's worth it. Skiing, sledding, snow forts, and best of all...snow days. Snuggling with hot chocolate and movies and skipping work is my kind of marvelous. And I won't even go into it because it's so obvious but...having four beautiful seasons is pretty darn important :).
Loyalty and TraditionsThis one I find a bit harder to explain, but in general I've noticed that New Englanders are extremely loyal -- to their friends, family, values and traditions. Over there if you mess with someone's bestie, favorite local spot, or the Sox, you've got another thing coming. It can be a bit harder to make friends (we aren't really the type to say "howdy stranger" on the sidewalk) but once you do, that friendship is solid. On a different but related note, I sense a much deeper appreciation of traditions on the East Coast. Being able to identify with and look forward to various holiday, regional and family traditions is such a meaningful way to bring seasonality, comfort and culture into your life. I miss the traditions of home!
New Years EveI didn't realize this til I got out here but...I really like ringing in the new year with the ball drop! Out here in Cali, midnight feels a bit anticlimactic. Like it's already happened and we're behind the times (because, well, we are...). And I guess while I'm admitting that I like snow and all, I'll also admit that I like ringing in the New Year in the cold! Weird, I know.
Go-Get'em AttitudeThere's a fair amount of hustle going on in San Francisco, but I'd say as a whole that New Englanders win the prize when it comes to drive, effort, energy and feistiness. We see something we want, and we go get it. We don't take no for an answer. We talk faster, work faster, and get shit done.
AvocadosLet's start with a smally but goody. Here, avocados are always delicious, always in season. In New England you often have to plan your weekend guacamole 3 days in advance to culture them in a brown bag to the perfect ripeness - over here you can have perfect avocados any day of the year.
Laid Back VibesPeople are a bit more chill over here. It's not everyone and it's not all the time, but folks here are generally less tense - more visibly happy and relaxed. It must just be a California way of being, and I like it.
Camping / Outdoor AdventureOut here, it seems like 95% of the people you meet would consider themselves "outdoorsy". I feel right at home! This one is the big winner of my California faves, and it's one of the main reasons Jimbo and I came out here in the first place. There's always an outdoor adventure right around the corner. You can drive less than an hour in any direction and find camping, a beach, hiking, picnics - you name it! This is the part of living out here that would be hardest to give up.
FoodI think as far as restaurants go, this one is more of a San Francisco vs. Boston thing than a Cali vs. New England thing (sorry Boston!). But it's true. The food out here is amazing! The eateries are incredibly diverse in both food, style, ambiance and price range. The locavore/farm-to-table movements is strong, and even in the "regular" restaurants it's likely that your food was grown right around the corner. Californians are all about health trends so you can find food for your vegan, paleo, gluten-free or extra-bacon diet. It would take years to explore all of the yumminess that San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley have to offer.
Wide Open SpacesThis one sort of goes with outdoor adventure, but it deserves its own category. I just love the views down here. Sunny rolling hills, crashing waves, snowy mountain peaks, huge valleys, redwood trees - it's everywhere you look. Nothing resets me like taking some deep breaths in front of a wide expanse of natural beauty.
WineAnother obvious one. Even after a lot of time in Italy, I don't think I truly knew how much I love wine until I came to live out here. With Napa, Sonoma, Dry Creek, Alexander, and many other wine-making valleys nearby, I've learned so much, and this might make you think less of me but...I truly can't get enough of it. :::slurp:::
Whew! Well that's what I have for now. As you can tell, I love both of these places :). I know I could have gone on forever. What would be on your list?
p.s. this post is dedicated to my darling friend SCC who is considering making THE BIG MOVE from Boston to the Bay Area. Come on over, lady - the sunshine is waitin'!
p.p.s. These illustrated fun facts about San Francisco are just the cutest - I wish there was one for Boston!