5 Surprising Things About Moving to California From the Midwest

SF Bay Bridge

We’ve been asked this question from almost everyone we’ve met, “What did you find most surprising about moving here?” Oh, and we have answers. Lots of answers. We are enjoying living here in the Bay Area, but there are most definitely differences.

1. Abandoned shopping carts. Everywhere. Some have stuff in them, some don’t. In parking lots, streets and even in neighborhoods. It must be taught in Minnesota elementary schools to put your carts back in the corral.  I’ve seen midwesterners, in January -5 F degree weather with a windchill of -20 F take their cart from their car all the way back into the store if there isn’t a corral around.

2. Absence of street signs. Or, a lane disappearing with no notice at all. In Minnesota, there are HUGE signs signaling that a lane is exiting in 1 mile, .5 miles, and exiting now. There are even signs that say “Betty’s Pies, 20 miles ahead!”

3. It. Never. Rains. Ever. In the midwest, the main news story 75% of the time is the weather. It’s raining, sleeting, snowing, drizzling, foggy, frosty, freezing rain, hailing, “blizzarding” or many other terms that I’ve heard on the news for precipitation since I was a child. We have words for every type of precipitation that falls from the sky, because it does, frequently and many times without notice.

St. Cloud, Minnesota Weather: Storm Approaching
Source: KSAX News


4. Networking: Nobody wants to talk about the weather, family or weekend plans. One of the first things someone will ask you- whether you are in a professional conversation or not- is “Eh, it’s the big labor day weekend, eh? What do you have planned? ” (This is in a Minnesotan accent) In Iowa, the first question is always “Where are you from?” And many other forms of small talk that ensue in the midwest. We love our small talk, it helps us get to know others. At a recent networking event I was abruptly interrupted when I asked “How was your week-” when the other person interjected “What do you do?”

This may be from my past role where one of my main responsibilities was hob-knobbing and getting to know people, but I get the feeling axing the small talk is essential here.

5. Declawing. Don’t do it. Don’t even talk about it. Many activist groups are attempting to outlaw cat declawing here with the claim that its “inhumane” and “unnecessary”. Which we were really shocked about, coming from a culture where it’s pretty much expected to have cats declawed if they will be mainly inside. We were rejected from a cat adoption agency because we put “Maybe” for cat declawing.

However, after getting Kira and not having her declawed we realized it’s not too bad not declawing cats. There are pros and cons to declawing, but personally I feel it should be something individual families decide on based on their lifestyle and needs.


One Comment on “5 Surprising Things About Moving to California From the Midwest

  1. If I were you, personally, I’d be packing my bags after learning of #5! Anytime I hear the term “animal rights activists” I grind my teeth. By the way, the Minnesota accent is unmistakable…I never bother asking “where from?” because I already know the answer. Cheers fellow Midwesterner!

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