About two and a half weeks ago, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Here are my top five best things about the move, and top five worst things about the move.
Top Five Best Things About Moving to Phoenix:
1. I am not yet one of those people who raves about her job and tries to get everyone she knows to work at said job, but I am learning to love my job more and more each day. I laugh with my co-workers and with my students. I come home with great stories. Each day gets better.
2. Arizona does not abide by the laws of Daylight Saving Time, which means there will be no “Spring Ahead” anytime soon during which I “lose” a precious hour of sleep. This also means that even at six o’clock in the evening, the sun is still shining, which makes me happy.
3. Everyone is so friendly! I’ve lived most of my life (i.e. all but two three-month stints of working at camp) in California. It turns out that Californians aren’t all that nice. In Arizona, everyone is friendly and helpful, to the point that my California-bred self gets a little concerned that people are trying to trick me or lull me into complacency. Maybe that is the case, but so far, I think Arizonans are just friendlier than Californians.
4. Everyone drinks a ton of water because Phoenix is in the desert. Ever since I worked at a Boy Scout camp for the first time four years ago, I have become aware of how much water a human really needs each day. Throughout college, I was the weird girl who always carried a Nalgene with her everywhere she went, and whenever someone complained of a headache or started to get cranky I would snap, “Drink more water!” My roommate kept a tally of how many times I wandered into a room asking, “Where did I put my water bottle?” Finally, I live somewhere where everyone else is just as obsessed about drinking water as I am.
5. I can breathe! I never had legitimate respiratory issues in California, but here in Phoenix, even though it is still a large city, the air does not smell bad the way L.A. and Bakersfield air always did to me. Further, I can always see the mountains because there is no smog.
Bonus: Gas prices are so much lower in Arizona compared with the gas prices in California!
Top Five Worst Things About Moving to Phoenix:
1. I miss my friends, family, and church. Many of my closest friends still live in California. My mentor from college is still in California. The church I grew up in and the church I chose to attend while I lived in the L.A. area are both still in California, and I miss them a lot.
2. While the sun is still out at 6 pm, the world is still dark when I leave for work at 6:30 am and even when I arrive at work at 7 am, neither of which are conducive to me feeling awake and alert.
3. I have a 30-minute commute each way to work and back. While I do not have to sit in traffic because Phoenix is not L.A. and because I leave the city when everyone else is driving into the city and come back to the city when everyone else is leaving, the aforementioned commute still does a number on my gas budget.
4. When you move, stuff gets lost. In the last four and a half years, I have lived in two dorm rooms, a house, two apartments, a cabin, and two tents, not including the stints I came back to visit my family in Bakersfield. Not only have I lost or forgotten various things at any one of these locations, but I also have a very strange conception of “home” since it has meant nine places to me in four and a half years.
5. Arizona is not California. I am no longer 30 minutes from the beach. Culture does not seep from the being of this state. I am not two and a half hours from home where I can pop home for a weekend whenever I want. There are no Sequoias, Ponderosas, or oaks everywhere I look. Cactus provides little shade. It’s really not that big of a deal, especially since I am not too far from Flagstaff, but still . . . Arizona is not California, and as much as I was never a quintessential California girl . . . I am still a California girl at heart.