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10 Ways to Tell You’ve Become a Californian When You Go Back To The Midwest

And Why You’ll Miss The Midwest–Or Not

Leaving the midwest represented by cornfield in rearview mirror

Six months ago I moved from Kalamazoo, Michigan (it’s a real place, I promise) to my new home in the San Francisco Bay area.  This week I came back to Kalamazoo after six months and I’m reminded about the different things that I’ve come to take for granted in California that just don’t exist in Michigan.  And I’ve become reacquainted with the things that I miss about the Midwest.  Here are some common reactions to going back to the Midwest after you’ve lived in California for a while:

  1. You’re shocked that you can’t find vegan foodDon’t expect to find macrobiotic restaurants with kombucha on tap in the Midwest.  If you’re on the raw food diet, you may just have to fall off the wagon.
  2. You’re delighted to pay less than $10 to see a movie – You’d think that with Hollywood so close that a trip to the movie theater wouldn’t bring you to the point of Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  But it does.
  3. Driving 10 miles sounds like a journey – Anticipating traffic, you’ll leave your house an hour early only to arrive at your destination in ten minutes.
  4. You go on a shopping spree because the sales tax is so lowWhen you’re coming from 9.75% sales tax, everything seems so cheap!  It’s hard to resist!  Unless you’re in Chicago, that is.
  5. You freak out when someone lights a cigarette insideIn California it’s illegal to smoke in a bar and in some places it’s illegal to smoke within a certain number of feet from an entrance.  Bad if you’re a smoker, but good if you don’t like your clothes smelling like smoke.
  6. You’re scared to talk on your cell phone when driving – It’s illegal to use a phone while driving in California, but not in the Midwest, so chat away!  Unless you’re concerned about that whole safety thing.
  7. You confuse people by telling them you’re from NorCal or SoCal – People think these are cities.  Avoid confusion by telling them the actual city you’re from.
  8. You struggle keeping up with how quickly everyone talksWhen you moved to California everyone complained that you spoke too fast, so you made an effort to slow down.  Now you have a hard time keeping up with your friends.  How’d that happen?
  9. You get warm and fuzzy when someone calls it “pop”It may be tempting to give up your “pop” roots in favor of “soda” to fit in among Californians, but you know you’ll use any excuse to call it pop.  And rightly so.
  10. You’re disturbed to learn that your friend pays less than half your rent for a place twice as big You just have to remember that you’re paying for the lifestyle.  And the Midwest has that whole winter thing.

Bonus! The number one reason you know you’re still a Midwestern when you’re in California:

  1. You laugh at Californians who can’t drive when it rains – C’mon, we’ve driven in 2 feet of snow and gone faster.

Can you come up with any more?

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Discussion

One thought on “10 Ways to Tell You’ve Become a Californian When You Go Back To The Midwest

  1. hmmm.. interesting

    Posted by ghettoblackify | October 16, 2009, 5:18 pm

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