I was born and raised in Los Angeles. Before I came to Davis I had never lived anywhere else, so moving to this small town was a bit of a shock. I had grown up assuming that since L.A. was a hodgepodge of so many different people, cultures and experiences that nothing would be new to me. I never even considered that Northern California might hold so many different types of encounters. But seeing as how I was dead wrong, I would like to address some of the things that I have noticed during the years I have spent as an Angelino in Davis.
First of all, before my move up to Davis I was never aware that a SoCal-NorCal rivalry existed. I’m sure many other Southern Californians can relate to the jarring experience I had my freshman year when I was unexpectedly teased for being from L.A. (On a side note, I’ll admit that I escaped the torment that many others endure while growing up, but I believed that I had a general idea of how bullies worked.) So there I was, expecting that my new neighbor would somehow relate my being from Southern California to an embarrassing love of Britney Spears music or some other publicly-unacceptable tidbit. But there was no connection to a greater shame, only a taunting voice saying something about how we don’t have snow in SoCal. Before I could come up with an equally inane response – probably something akin to “Uh, yeah we do …” – he was gone.
And there were more strange occurrences throughout my first few weeks at school. During one memorable conversation, people started leaving articles out of their sentences like they had gone out of style. I would have corrected them (just ask my friends, I love to be the annoying jerk who corrects grammar), but they weren’t just saying things like “one-oh-one” instead of “the one-oh-one,” they were making up words altogether. I eventually learned that “hella” is to Northern Californians, what “like” is to Valley Girls. Since I’m from the valley, I just had to, like, learn to ignore it.
One of the most shocking differences was the weather. Before I came to Davis, I used to say that rain was one of my favorite things in the world. In fact, some of my most cherished childhood memories involve playing in the rain with my sister. However, rain here is some evil hybrid of Southern California’s rain. For one thing, it’s cold. I’m still trying to get the horror of my first bike ride in Davis rain out of my mind. For another thing, it happens a lot more than it does down south. In L.A. we have “storm watches” when it drizzles. My freshman year in Davis it rained so much that my hair didn’t dry for three months. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but that’s what it felt like.
Another shock: the sky. If you look at my pictures from freshman year, you’ll find at least 100 taken of simple cloud formations. No joke. It took me a while to get over how blue the sky is, and even longer to get over how white the clouds are. Don’t get me wrong, the sunsets in Los Angeles are beautiful (the pollution adds the prettiest colors), but I still stare at the sky for unusually long periods of time in Davis. And the fact that you need more than one hand to count the stars still blows me away.
I had to adjust to other things as well. For example, there is hardly ever traffic, and drivers are relatively considerate. My tendency to wear flip-flops year round died off sometime during my second winter here, and I now own several scarves. The number of people I run into who think that Southern Californians say “grippa” has subsided considerably. I’d like to think that this is due to my emphatic dispute of the claim, but in reality I have probably just started ignoring them.
In June I’ll be graduating and moving back to L.A. I’m excited to go back to the crowds of rude people, unending traffic … current drought situation … smog so thick you can’t see the mountains …
On second thought, does anyone in Davis need a roommate for next year?
DANIELLE RAMIREZ would just like to remind everyone that the term “The O.C.” should only be used in situations of mockery and jest, never seriously. For an extensive list of why we make fun of Orange County, e-mail her at email@example.com.