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12 questions every East Coast transplant has when they move to LA

Written by
Taylor Strekel
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“It’s a different world over there,” is a common phrase I heard when I told people I was moving to California after living in Pennsylvania most of my life. Some of these people had never even visited California, so what did they know? I assumed there would be many differences in my new city. I’ve watched enough reality TV and follow enough celebrities on Instagram to get a good sense (right?). I didn’t expect some of the most mundane things that were a part of my daily existence on the East Coast to be so foreign to people over here. After almost a year of living in LA, there are still concepts that I can’t seem to accept as normal.

1. Where’s the fridge? You mean I have to pay rent, the security deposit and buy a fridge? Shouldn't that come with the apartment? Or at least a mini fridge that can hold a few two liters of Diet Coke? I still don’t know if this is normal, or just an LA thing.

2. You haven’t been in a basement? I’m still in shock that there are people in the world who have never been in a basement. If you are one of these people, where did you and your friends hang out in high school? You’ve never experienced rollerblading in an unfinished basement with a concrete floor? Where did you put your pool table or big screen TV? Where did you keep your dogs when guests were over? Don’t tell me you don’t have an attic either.

3. Where’s my car? The only thing worse than forgetting where you parked at 2am is remembering where you parked only to find that it's been towed. Getting your car back from the tow station is like bailing a friend out of jail—it's never a laughing matter.

4. It’s how much? That feeling at the checkout when your $100 jeans turns into $120 jeans is simply gut-wrenching. I have to hold back a gasp every time. California sales tax makes every guilty purchase even guiltier.

5. Is there always this much traffic? The short answer, as I’ve come to find out, is yes.

6. You call that rain? Whenever it rains, Angelenos swarm to the window as if money is falling from the sky. The pure wonderment that rain induces here definitely takes some getting used to. 

7. How far is the beach? Unless you live in Santa Monica, Venice or the South Bay, the beach is damn far—and it’s way too expensive to live in those areas. So long, beach dreams. 

8. Can I wear jeans to this? Jeans are appropriate anywhere and everywhere. Work, church, the club, a birthday party—you name it. A wedding is the only situation in LA where a pair of Levis might be frowned upon. In that event, maybe swap your jeans for a denim shirtdress just to be safe.

9. Wait, the movie is free?! I can see movies in the theater months before the release date for free? This is legal, right?

10. Why is there so much dirt? The wooded mountains to the east are drastically different from the barren hills to the west. Hiking is not as glamorous as it seems, and no one tells you that you should be prepared to have your legs covered in dust and dirt.

11. Want to walk? Um, no. No one walks anywhere here. People will drive one mile to go to the gym, which takes about twice as long as walking would. 

12. Can’t we take public transportation? Again, no. Get in the car.

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