Ok, so now you know all about the duck house. Well SPOILER ALERT, we’re moving! Yup, this weekend we’re moving into a 3 bedroom house with an attached 2-car garage and back yard!! You can only go so long without a garage and a back yard. And we’ve had enough visitors to know that our 2 bedroom apartment can get a little tight. We are super excited!
BUT, that’s not what this post is about. In this post I’m going to reveal a few surprising discoveries we made when we moved from Utah to California. Some specific to the bay area and some about moving in general. So let’s get started.
I can haz Traffic?
A lot of people said, “I hope you like being stuck in traffic all day”, when they learned we were moving. But you know what? It’s not that bad. In fact, I can only recall being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic once since we’ve been here. But hey, it may also be that we are home bodies and don’t drive that much other than to run errands, go to work, and play.
But I will say, I have noticed the drivers are a lot different here than in Utah. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like Utah drivers take it so seriously! I know, because I’m one of them! There I’d find it so infuriating when someone wouldn’t let me merge onto the freeway, but then be equally as enraged when someone seemingly cut me off merging in front of me on the next freeway entry. It’s like every driver is thinking “WTF, don’t you know I’m going some place?! Get out of my way! Pay attention to me!” SO, when we moved here, it took me a little while to adapt. Because here, people are just more accommodating and forgiving. If I need to merge or change lanes, even on a packed street, people make room and wave me in. It’s like they’re saying “Oh hi there, yeah come on in. I’ve got places to go, but I know you do too. Let’s do this!” It is so refreshing!
Oh and you know how everybody and their dog has a Minivan in Utah? Well that’s how it is for Teslas here. Seriously, I don’t even want a Tesla anymore because everywhere I look there’s one. It’s as if Oprah came here and gave everyone a Tesla “You get a Tesla, You get a Tesla, You get a Tesla!”
OK, I’m going to go ahead and throw it out there — I don’t have a track record of being the most environmentally conscious person. I don’t know if it’s a Utah thing, or a Jason thing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. But moving to California really made me conscious of things like how much trash we produce and how many grocery bags I need. In California they add additional tax to things like plastic bottles and cans. It actually makes you think “Maybe I should get the 2-liter instead of the 12 pack” — because that tax can really add up. Oh and there is a tax for bags at the checkout register. It’s only 10 cents a bag, but somehow I turn into a super cheapskate knowing it costs extra. “No thanks, I can carry these 20 items to my car using just my arms. Starting to think I might need a fanny pack.” I never used to think about how may bottles, cans or grocery bags I use. But now I do. I guess “Mission Accomplished” California! ?
Oh and one other thing to note that is ECO-better in the bay area, compared to Utah. The AIR. I’ve suffered from “seasonal asthma” for my whole life in Utah with at least 1 annual sinus or ear infection guaranteed. But here? The air is clear as can be. There’s no inversion every winter, and my sinus infections? Not happening. We can thank the Bay area breeze, the lack of sky high mountains and perhaps all those Teslas I complained about for the amazing air quality. Whatever it is, me likey.
One benefit of being a stone’s throw away from tech behemoths like Google, Facebook, Netflix and Apple is that we are also surrounded by a gajillion tech startups targeting us for their Apps and services. We can have food delivered from almost any eating establishment with the tap of a button using GrubHub, Door Dash or Uber Eats. One service we just used is ZippGo. They offer eco-friendly moving boxes made from 100% recycled materials delivered to your door. After the move, they come to your new place to pick up the empty boxes. No need for excessive cardboard boxes to assemble and get rid of. Hey, did I mention we’re more environmentally conscious now?
But our favorite service by far has been Amazon Fresh. They deliver groceries straight to our door at the time of our choosing, sometimes even same-day. This has been a game changer for us. Because we can be more mindful of the groceries we buy without ending up with 20 more items we saw while pacing the isles, but don’t really need. But the best part is the convenience. Especially with us living on the second floor, it has been great to have them bring the groceries right up to our front porch. Shalauna could speak more to this, but I think all you moms out there can also appreciate not having to bring the kiddos to the store with you too. It’s amazing!
Barrier to Entry
There are people here from every country, religion and ethnic background. At work I really appreciate the diversity and admire how Adobe embraces everyone. The many differing perspectives and backgrounds can help us build better products that are more accessible to everyone. But there is one big buzzkill. Nobody gets my jokes! Seriously, I want to tell everyone “I’m way funnier in Utah, I promise. No Seriously, my jokes are so good.” It’s true! If diversity is bad for anything it’s laughing at life. Because I can tell a joke in Utah that any white mormon man or woman would bust a gut over. But here it falls flat, nobody gets it. That’s because everyone has a different background. When you didn’t even grow up in the same country, it turns out that you have to dig deeper to find common ground. And you have to put a lot more work into understanding each-other — you don’t get that for free. Someday I’ll move back to Utah and be funny again. But in the mean time I’m just trying not to offend everyone I meet!
One other thing, I will say, is that the many different cultures and backgrounds makes it very difficult to make friends. For example, I thought it would be easy to make friends in our apartment complex. I mean, we have a half dozen pools and Jacuzzis. But when other people are at the pool with us, they are all grouped up with the people they are familiar with. Indians are with Indians, Russians are with Russians, Asians with Asians, you get the picture. Then the language barrier comes into play. At first I thought it would be easy to listen in to people’s conversations and inject myself to make new friends. WRONG. All these groups prefer to speak their native languages outside of work, so I can’t understand a single thing they are talking about. A hot tub with Chinese, Russian, and Telegu and a little white family that feels all left out. I don’t want to throw a pity party here, but the diversity can be really isolating and lonely. Moving isn’t all roses and rainbows. But lucky for us, we can do exactly what everyone else is doing. Stick to the people we know! The Mormons! We are not active at church by any means, but California Mormons are kinda like California Drivers. Most of them are thinking, “Oh hi there, let’s be friends! I accept you for who you are, and appreciate out differences. We should stick together.” So refreshing! In fact, the mormon mommies have regular activities together with their kids and weekly “Park Days”. It’s been great.
Family. Isn’t it about time?
By far, one of the most challenging things about being away from home is being away from family. We really miss being able to call up siblings, parents and cousins to get together for fun, holidays and just because. We also miss the joy the comes from planning and hosting get togethers and offering support to our family members, and the love we feel when we are supported by them. It can really be challenging when the going gets tough, and you have nobody to lean on. I’m not writing this to stir up feelings of guilt or sadness in us or the people we love. But it can be a very difficult thing at times. The good news is that we have modern technologies like cell phones, FaceTime, Marco Polo, and more to help us feel just a little bit closer. One of the reasons we are so excited to move into a bigger house with more space is so we an have a dedicated guest room. We want family (and friends) to feel welcome to come visit. Because you matter to us, and we want to see your faces!
One other thing I wanted to mention is the dynamic of going back home to visit. Anybody who has moved away from where they call home can probably attest to this. When you plan a trip back home to visit, you start imagining how it’s going to be so amazing and everyone will drop everything to spend time with you — because they are so happy to see you! But it’s just not how it pans out. Instead people are like “Oh hey, good to see you. We should try to do some stuff.” Then life carries on as if you moved back into your old house for the week. But in reality you are staying in an AirBnb or hotel wondering why people aren’t taking off work to spend time with you as if you are Barack Obama himself coming to visit. You have to realize that everyone has a life and it is rare that they can stop everything for you when you come back to visit. Sad but true. The exception here for us has been my wonderful Momma who graciously invites us to stay at her home and does actually stop everything to make time for us — Thanks Mom!