SoCali Girl--Shock in the East?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: SoCali Girl--Shock in the East?
By Bigdreamscj (Bigdreamscj) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 04:03 pm: Edit

Hi, parents...

I know I'm not supposed to post here, but I was interested in your perspective if you have any comments. I've lived in *very* sunny California my entire life, and will most likely be heading back east for college (hopefully the Mass./DC/NY areas). I know it'll be a big change, but one I'm willing to take :)

Any advice for me from West coast parents? Clothing vs the season? I know it's a generalization, but should I expect a major change in attitude?

Hopefully, I'll be able to actually head over there this summer (NYU trip in the works), but from you West coast parents who've sent kids back East -- I'd appreciate any thoughts regarding their reaction to the other coast.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 04:09 pm: Edit

You are welcome to post here. Many kids do.
If you want to find out how you would react to the weather on the East Coast, do not come in summer. It's probably hotter than sunny California.

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 04:25 pm: Edit

My family has lived in the East coast for 24 years now. We visit California once every year during summer. San Francisco mostly but in 2001 we also visited Los Angeles and parts of SoCal. One impression that sticks in my mind is how bright the sun is there. And how 'desert-like' the weather. In the morning it is cool and then it becomes really really hot mid-afternoon and you can't stay outside. I am used to the heat because I come from India but the brightness of the sun surprises me (this despite the LA smog).

We also visited UCLA and was impressed with the campus (it was perhaps our first campus visit and my son was only 14 then, so we were not seasoned college-visitors). But we thought it would be expensive to live in LA and it is very far from home. LA is really spread out..and so different in different parts.

I suppose you should expect a difference in attitudes on the East coast. The weather certainly has something to do with it.

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 04:28 pm: Edit

Sorry I did not read your question. I guess you wanted opinions of west coasters who sent their kids to the east.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 04:37 pm: Edit

Many CA kids have some adjusting to do, but it's worth it! I think that whoever said the light is different is correct. Sunshine makes many people happier, and you could miss that. The New Hampshire school that my CA daughter will be attending this fall actually has a room with special lights that have the same effect as sun! As for clothes, get some catalogues, LL Bean, Lands End... that part is easy.

By Barrons (Barrons) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 05:10 pm: Edit

Just don't dress like Paris Hilton. The LL Bean look is pretty safe.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 05:11 pm: Edit

Having lived on both coasts, as a student and adult, here are the key differences:

Nice sunny day? West coast: so what? every day is nice. East coast: (cheering) head out and enjoy it while we can.

Clothing needs? West coast: what clothing? you mean you need long sleeves? East Coast: Layered.

Down jackets? West coast: for rainy weather (no joke - saw it at UCSB) East coast: winter survival gear.

Put another way, pale skin can be a fashion statement back here.

By Momstheword (Momstheword) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 08:28 pm: Edit

My SoCali D went to a prep school in New England and found people and things to be different. This is anecdotal of course, but she found that the people were more serious and a little crankier, less laid back. She felt they were more class-conscious. She enjoyed playing in the snow for the first few years since it was a novelty to her, but she had to drag her NE counterparts out to play with her. She missed the sunshine of course and decorated her room with sunny beach posters and palm trees and kept one of her favorite quotations by John Muir visible at all times: (I'm not sure if I got it quite right) "The sun shines not upon us but within us."
On the plus side, she loved how her East Coast friends enjoyed architecture and visting museums when they traveled. She loved how intellectually curious and accomplished they were.
Overall, she adjusted to the change and cold and is venturing to colder climes for college. She'll be back West though afterward, methinks, having a renewed appreciation for sunshine.

By Susu (Susu) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 08:41 pm: Edit

I lived for 20 years in Chicago and Boston, in South Carolina for six, and now here in L.A. for five years. Most California folks, unless they've gone skiing in New England, have no concept of just how COLD a cold damp Boston winter can be.

So here are some suggestions:

0. Have fun with those great winter accessories--gloves, scarves, and hats. Your Ugg boots will avail you naught--you'll need furry, lined, perhaps even lace-up WATERPROOF boots to trudge through icy mudpuddles. Two raincoats--a waterproof lightweight parka or coat for fall and spring and a full winter coat with a waterproof shell--are necessary. Sticky spring snow will stick to a mere wool or down coat and drench it until you smell like a wet dog/duck.

Don't buy all this stuff in California. Take a credit card with you and buy what you see WORKS and is considered cool once you get to NY/MA/DC. You don't want to be wearing a red rain slicker when everyone else is wearing Burberry.

Also, you can have fun with sweaters and thick wool socks. You'll need them, honey. And all those layers hide the Freshman 15.

1. If you go to Washington, expect hot and humid weather in the fall, spring, and summer. MAKE SURE YOUR DORM HAS A/C. (This is also good advice for Boston and NYC--they get heat waves in June that'll knock you out, and many old dorms don't have a/c.) Lots of rain here, too.

You will NEVER want to wear leather in D.C.--it's stiff in cold weather and feels clammy when it's humid. If your hair is wavy, it'll frizz, so get it straightened at that snazzy Beverly Hills salon before you go. (Yugo?)

2. If you are going to school in MA (especially Western MA) or Chicago, get a fur-lined coat. You will encounter winters colder than anything you can imagine. Have you ever walked a mile uphill into a howling wind with a wind chill of minus 20? I thought not. With apologies to the PETAs in the crowd, a good fur coat is functional, NOT a frivolous fashion accessory, and you can buy a secondhand one to assuage your moral twinges.

By Becks777 (Becks777) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit

"pale skin can be a fashion statement back here"

Serioulsy i live in one of the coldest places in the US but we got more tanned girls in my school than anywhere else.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

My kids all like very light jackets--good quality down is expensive but worth it per wear. They just won't wear anything heavy.

By Bunmushroom (Bunmushroom) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 10:10 pm: Edit

I live on the east coast, have family in CA and visit there quite a lot, so I can give you a good opinion.

The east coast is much hotter, humid, and wet in the summer than CA, and a lot colder and harsh in the winter. The summer is really sweaty, while LA always seemed to have a cool breeze and/or morning fog to make things pleasent.

In terms of attitude, I think people in CA are more laid back and relaxed, while many here are up tight and cranky.

By Patient (Patient) on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 11:23 pm: Edit

Although it was a long time ago, I was a southern California girl who headed back East to college. I don't think you'll regret it--you learn so much by traveling and by learning to live in another environment. Yes, things are different, but that is part of what makes it worthwhile.

I discovered to my great surprise that I was a Californian--I had expected to move East and never really come back except to visit. But I found that I missed being warm all year long, I missed being able to walk out my door and go running in shorts any time of year, and I missed the laid-back friendliness of California. So I came back here for grad school and ended up staying here. I still love visiting the East Coast and it still has so much that we do not have here--a sense of history, kind of a solidity, amazing cultural/political etc. opportunities, etc.

But many of my friends from California who went East to college when I did, ended up staying in the East and don't seem to miss California. They have great jobs (professor, film editor, filmmaker, etc.) there, and their partners/friends are there. They comment on the wonderful weather when they come back to visit, but that is about all!

So you just kind of have to go and discover your own preferences and where the greatest opportunities lie when you are finished!

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 12:18 pm: Edit

I have to disagree with Susu on a couple of things --

Uggs work in the winter if you waterproof them (they also make waterproof uggs). I wear mine and I walk a mile a day, no matter what the weather, through rain puddles and snow drifts. But good, warm boots are a must.

DC will be hot and humid in Sept and May. BUT not all dorms will have AC and you can certainly survive w/o it. Make sure you bring a table fan, though. AC in Boston seems silly to insist on -- my D is in Providence, and had a few warm days in Sept last year. A table fan was more than enough.

I think there are plenty of people who have survived New England winters without real fur. :)

I definitely agree with Susu that accessories are important -- a warm coat by itself is not enough. You need warm boots, gloves, a scarf, hat, and something to keep your face warm (a gaiter works best -- look it up at LL Bean!). Stock up in January if you expect to spend four years in the Northeast -- I always buy a few pairs of gloves and a scarf or two on sale in January. Gloves esp tend to get lost easily.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 01:21 pm: Edit

I had one more thought for you -- allergies!!! From what I can tell they are nonexistent in SoCal, but quite prevalent in the spring and fall here in DC (my D says she has no problems in Providence, however).

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Take a look at this thread started by Magoo, who will be attending Howard in DC: "East Coast Winters Aren't That Bad...Right?"

By Jlq3d3 (Jlq3d3) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 04:38 pm: Edit

" From what I can tell they are nonexistent in SoCal"

Not true

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 04:42 pm: Edit

OK, I stand corrected! I do know a number of Californians who claim they are fine in Cal, but have seasonal allergies here. That was true for me in my 5 years in Northern Cal, but I've only spent a week or so in SoCal so I'm no expert!

By Bigdreamscj (Bigdreamscj) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 05:32 pm: Edit

Thanks, everyone...sounds like it'll be quite an adventure. Any other thoughts?

By Tsdad (Tsdad) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit


My east coast son tells me that his allergies do not bother him in LA. But when he steps off the plane at Dulles his eyes begin to water and his nose runs and he begins to sneeze. And, no it's not becuase he's happy to see us.

Sent his new Matrix off to LA today. I spent extra to use an enclosed carrier. I was afraid what 2-3,000 miles on an open carrier would do to the paint and the glass.

By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Monday, August 02, 2004 - 09:19 pm: Edit

For me,

Southern California is way too hot. After all, it is built on what used to be a desert. Droughts and fires, as well as a need to conserve energy, seem to be normal. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so we do have some of the same problems with forest fires in the summer. Usually, we're more concerned about getting enough snow.

As for the East Coast, New England tends to stay cool during the summer unless a heat wave hits, maybe once or twice. More snow, and less rain than here in Olympia. It is easier for my friends and I to trek out to the east than south to CA. LA can be intimidating, and not very friendly--at least in the city. The burbs are quite different if you live in an affluent neighborhood.

East Coasters tend to be more reserved than those on the West Coast, although just as liberal. They tend to dress a little more neatly, although this is not so much due to any attitudes about class but rather the weather (e.g. layering in the Winter).

D.C. will be muggy and on the hot side. It is comparable to LA heat, however.

I definately prefer the East Coast for weather, rather than Southern California weather. I grew up in Hawaii where it barely gets past the low 90's on a hot day (typically it is high 70's to low 80's during the Summer), so Southern California just seems way too hot, and smoggy.

Just my 2 cents.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 08:54 am: Edit

DC heat is VERY different from LA heat, because of the humidity. You cannot compare 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity (about what we're in for today) with 90 degrees and very low humidity. I'm fine in 100+ temps if the humidity is low, but even mid-80s can be oppressive if the air is dripping with moisture. It also will not cool off much at night.

It sounds like a cliche, but it's true -- it's not the heat, it's the humidity.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 11:20 am: Edit

Before we go to far in the comparisons, remember this:

Washington DC weather is as different from Boston weather as San Fernando Valley weather is from Santa Monica, and both are technically within the same city.

I think we are falling into a trap of irrelevant sweeping generalizations here.

By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 11:24 am: Edit

Got up this morning complaining about the hazy, hot & humid dogs days of August in NYC(and it's only august 3rd)

By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 01:50 pm: Edit

Nice and cool here in the Pacific Northwest. :)

By Sac (Sac) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:05 pm: Edit

Freezing here in No. Calif. and I'm tired of the fog. Of course, it's about 15 degrees below the usual August day. My son is wearing the jacket he bought for an East Coast winter, which convinces me he's gonna freeze his little .... off there. He has no clue. But I guess there are a few stores in NYC where he'll be able to buy some winter clothes, with a little advice from the natives.

By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:17 pm: Edit

Oh he will definitely get winter clothes now in NYC, because all of the fall clothes are out and they will start the back to school sale. I think right after labor day it will be be tax free week.

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:20 pm: Edit

Sac, I am LOVING our cool, old-fashioned Northern California summer. This is the weather we used to have years ago. I have hated the last 5 or 6 years when the temperature is in the high 80s and above and fog is rare. I realize that I appear to be in a clear minority though!

By Sac (Sac) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 03:39 pm: Edit

But you don't live in the fog belt. A typical summer day for us is fog until noon, sunshine till about four or five, then the fog moves back in. This week, it hasn't burned off.

By Bigdreamscj (Bigdreamscj) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 04:25 pm: Edit

"I definately prefer the East Coast for weather, rather than Southern California weather. I grew up in Hawaii where it barely gets past the low 90's on a hot day (typically it is high 70's to low 80's during the Summer), so Southern California just seems way too hot, and smoggy."

That kind of made me smile...I think you're saying Southern Cali as a whole is like Los been a little further south? Clear as a bell and breezy where I live. ;)

Another question: How often do your kids come home? Are plane expenses really bad?

By Patient (Patient) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 05:20 pm: Edit

Sac...true. You should move to our neck of the woods. Better yet--we trade places. I like Berkeley, I know you can't say the same for the Peninsula though....

By Outwest5 (Outwest5) on Thursday, August 05, 2004 - 01:49 am: Edit

I know that when we SoCal people visited DC and Virginia in the summer one of my kids basically sat on the ground and said she could not move because it was so hot and muggy and she felt like she coldn't breath. My husbands allergies kicked in big time back east also. Here he does not have much problem with them.
You will need a winter coat. None of my kids have ever even owned a winter coat here and long sleeved shirts get worn maybe a couple months out of the year. . Usually in SoCal a sweater or perhaps a light weight jacket suffice.

You will need a REAL winter coat and gloves and boots that are water proof. You should probably wait until you get there and then when you make a friend or two go with them to shop for winter clothes.
My sister went to college back east from here and commented that the people were more serious and not nearly so friendly to strangers. They also spent more time dressing and even dressed nicely and put makeup on to go to the grocery store! So, east coast people are a bit more formal, but that doesn't mean that is bad, just different. People smile a lot more here as compared to the NE. There seemed to be more of an interest in your social class or where you came from in the east and much less mixing of races and mixing of classes. It is very normal to see all kinds of people together here. At the same time, once you get to know people in the East they are fine and friendly , she said. My sister went to a small liberal art college and started dating a student at the University of Mass. and some of her classmates asked her why on earth she would date on of "them". That is when she decided that maybe she didn't want to make that her permanent home. Once she asked someone to hold her place in line and they said,"But, I don't even know you!" You would never have a reaction like that in SoCal.

BUT! People in the east are more cultured and appreciate things like art, theater, etc. a little more than SoCal and tend to be a little more well read. SoCal people are quite happy to hike, etc. as to go to a museum.

It will be a fun experience for you. The east and west might as well be different countries there can be so many differences. But, people are people whereever you go and you will find friends and common interests everywhere. Of the three people I know who went back east to school in the last 6 years all three came back to California after college. I know that many don't come back and like it better back east, but these three missed the life in SoCal and the weather.

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