Thursday, September 13, 2007

west side vs. east side

I’m kind of in a Cali mood today (the weather has certainly helped). I've thought a lot about home and DC and why I’m here and why I wish I never left. I remember when I was in junior high, my advisor told me that I should make a list of pros and cons whenever making a difficult decision. Sounds pretty basic, right? Except I never really ever made this list before I moved away. I just assumed that DC was the right choice for me and my career. That implies that I didn’t find the decision difficult—which is true. However, every once in a while, I find it really difficult to stay here.

So, here are my lists, 5 years too late:

Reasons why California is better than DC

  1. The average temperature year round is 75 degrees. It seldom varies by 10 degrees or more. Kinda takes the thinking out of planning what to wear.
  2. The rain is only during winter months (there are two—December and January).
  3. That means good hair days most of the year. And a regular visit with my colorist.
  4. The beach is less than 30 minutes away (unless you live in the I.E. but if you do, being far from the beach isn’t your only problem).
  5. The scenery is always nice, whether you are staring out into the ocean or you’re checking out the boys surfing.
  6. People are nicer. Jesse thinks it’s the year round exposure to sun. I just think people are more laid back in Cali.
  7. Flip flops. Every day. Every month.
  8. Oh my! Liberals as far as the eyes can see!
  9. My family, friends, and dog are in Cali.
  10. Probably the only state with snow in the mountains, proximity to the ocean, vast deserts, and dense woods.

Why DC is better than California
  1. Seasons—well, only Spring and Fall. The other two I could do without.
  2. History—Monuments and all of that stuff are pretty cool to visit, even if you haven’t done it since you first moved here.
  3. Museums—the Smithsonians are free!
  4. Tai Shan—yes, he’s about the same size as an adult panda now, but he will always be our little Butterstick.
  5. Gary, my hairstylist, is here (although I could probably convince him to move to Cali with me).
  6. DC is very walkable (which is good, considering how reliable the Metro is).

Ok. I’m done. I can’t think of anything else. Can you?

This post was inspired by this article: California voted best state to live in


sunchaser said...

I was going to say, until I saw your link that maybe I'm a bad influence on you? ;)

OK, in addition to your list I would add:

11) Cheaper and more plentiful fruits and veggies (particularly awesome if you know someone with an avocado farm :)

12) Not having to deal with the East Coast air travel headaches

13) People being capable of driving the speed limit, or even faster (and far fewer Nazi-like troopers!)

14) In N' Out & Jamba Juice (everywhere)

15) Seeming healthier lifestyle (more gyms, more people actually using them)

That's kind of funny that you listed Tai Shan as a reason DC is better.

To that list, I'd add:

7. Cost of living/housing is possibly less in DC than Cali.

8. Greater variety of foreign nationals living in DC (so greater exposure to other cultures?)

9. Amtrak rail system not as well developed on West Coast

I always try to poll the people I meet on airplanes as to what they think about different cities (esp. if they've lived all over the country). Essentially, everyone's opinion is different, and different people like different things (for different reasons).

I think the biggie with California/West Coast is the weather (dry as opposed to wet heat :)

Jilian said...

I'm a big fan of the pro/con list. It always helps with prospective. Sometimes just taking out a pen and writing things down can clear your head and show you the answer :)

Hmmmm - I'm trying to think of something to add to your why DC is better list - but mine is in comparison to Blacksburg so it doesn't do you much good...
1) My Mom
2) Trader Joe's
3) DC United (and other prof sports)
4) Real Shopping!

Here's a pro for the East Side in general: There are a lot of cities /places you can visit within a half day drive. I feel the East Coast is very condensed - so weekend trips are easy and cheap.

lizzie said...

sunchaser--actually, this post was going to be about how much i hate dc sometimes and how it will never feel like home. i have quite the 'manic' relationship with this area (sometimes i love it, sometimes i don't) and this was one of my down periods. but then someone at work sent me that article and i wanted to focus on the positive for once.

and i CAN'T BELIEVE i forgot about in-and-out!

actually, i kinda like that amtrak isn't as big in cali as it is here. that means fewer people take the train and it's easier for me to spread out on the seats instead of being cramped in a small space for hours.

jilian--considering how much blogging has helped me figure things out sometimes, you would think that i would have used the pro/con list more often. :)

we have TJ's in cali.

and the loyalty to sports teams here is awesome. especially the redskins. with a win-loss record like theirs over the past few years, la would've run them out of town like 5 years ago. la fans can be such band-wagoners. i've witnessed that first hand as a USC alum.

and you're totally right about the travel. the only car trips i've ever taken in cali are the ones to vegas, although you can drive up north too (why drive when you can take a $50 flight that lasts one hour?). but i've had the opportunity to visit far more east coast cities than west coast because of the driving distance factor.

sunchaser said...

I can't believe you forgot about In-N'-Out either ;)

That does make sense about Amtrak being less crowded.

Madame M. said...

The seasons are pretty nice, but the evenness in the weather in California makes it easier to cope with the days getting shorter in winter.

Also, better gardening hands-down (especially avocados, yes!). Although there are some hardier plants that don't do well in Cali-- no lovely lilac blossoms for us unless it's closer to the mountains-- everything else has a chance, at least.

Oh, and the Pacific may be colder, but it's so much bluuuuuuuuuer! :oP

Mmm. In-n-Out.

media concepts said...

I like your list and agree with it (although the hair and surfer stuff doesn't apply to me, unless I'm one of the surfer boys you like to look at). But I do have to take issue with all the fawning over In-N-Out Burger. I live right near one. I don't think it's very good. The wait is interminable. The buns are stale. The fries are greasy. The burgers are not especially tasty. However, if everyone else loves the place and this makes for shorter lines elsewhere, fine with me.

Jilian said...

I'd have to agree with 'media concepts'. I'll take 5 Guys fries any day over In-N-Out.

sunchaser said...

OK the In-N-Out fries aren't so good. But the burgers I've had aren't that bad. Except that I'm a vegetarian (for all practical purposes) so I really am probably not a good judge.

Just saw the Trader Joes reason. It originated in Cali!

The guy I met on the plane this week (the cool one who never lives in the same city more than once - he must be "running from the law" like me ;) had just one place in the US where he'd live twice. Chi-town!

lizzie said...

madame--i didn't know the pacific was colder. i actually have never stepped foot in the atlantic so i can't compare.

oh yes, avocados...a key ingredient in most mexican dishes...

media you've taken up surfing? way to fit in with the cali lifestyle!

but this stuff you're saying about in-n-out is sacrilege! oh the horror!

jilian--ok, i'll give you that about the fries as long as you're comparing in-n-out fries with five guys cajun fries. that seasoning is delish!

sunchaser--the ingredients are pretty fresh at in-n-out and we just don't have another option like that in cali.

chicago is nice but i could never, ever live there when it gets cold. the coldest temperatures i've ever experienced in my life were in chicago and i hope to never experience a bitter cold like that ever again in my life!

Lindsay said...

I would add good and cheap Mexican food to the list of reasons why CA is better than DC. I would eat it several times a week when I lived in DC people think that Burrito Bros (ugh) is proper Mexican food. I do like Rosa Mexicano but it's waaaay too pricey.

Great post. Having lived in DC for around 6 years or so, I could really identify with it. I wish I had never left CA and think about moving back pretty much everyday. Maybe next year...

lizzie said...

lindsay--first in-n-out and now mexican food? i can't believe i left these two very important cali traditions off of my list. yes, cali has the best mexican food.

i haven't tried rosa mexicano. to get my mexican fix, i head to guajillos in arlington. it's right by courthouse metro so it's not too far outside the city. and it's pretty least their mole is. tastes just like my mom's.