There were so many new things to take in on the west coast.
The weather - I came out in August for a couple of days and moved permanently on October 1st. The first thing that struck me was the heat; it was a dry heat - very hot but no humidity and it was what I typically knew as fall. That initially felt strange to me though I've gotten used to it.
The look and feel - when you move from one place to the next it takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the new norm. Houses looked different than what I was used to. I noticed houses had no basements and most were ranches. The exterior many times was brick or cement, but not vinyl siding. Many neighborhoods had tract homes which was not a concept I was familiar with on the east coast. Of course, you can always tell the moneyed neighborhoods - nicer, larger and more unique houses.
Random celebrity sightings - this is a strange thing to me. But I've seen celebrities in Ross and Ralphs, and I've seen some at red carpet events (another new thing for me). Every time I spot a celebrity I always feel like I know them and then I realize they’re familiar because I've watched them on TV, but I don’t really know them. They're just regular people, for the most part, who happen to make a living by being seen on TV or in the movies. Some crave publicity and some just want to go about their business.
Cultures - until I moved to the west coast, I didn't realize how pervasive certain cultures were and I didn't understand the implications. My only exposure to Mexican culture prior to moving was the George Lopez show. There is a huge Mexican culture out here and I'd have to say the best Mexican food is out here (though I'm not a big fan of Mexican food.) There's also a broad mix of Persian, Armenian, African (Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia) and other Latin American cultures. The huge difference for me was that in NY, I had a good idea where each of these cultures lived; out here there were intermingled and everywhere. For example there is no designated West Indian community, thus making it hard to connect with something familiar.
Nature - in my experience a drive from the airport does not present the best view of a place. The drive from LAX to the valley looks gritty and grungy. But as you drive further away, you start to notice the mountains and the air gets cleaner. If you get to the coast you can see the Pacific Ocean. The first time I drove on Pacific Coast Highway it reminded me of a very pretty postcard. Closer to home, I have an orange tree in my backyard, and where I live there are random citrus and fruit trees everywhere. I find gardening relaxing, and because of the climate certain flowers and produce thrives over here. The dirt is different - it's more compact. But once you work the soil and plant, even a bad gardener can have a green thumb out here. The weather is perfect for enjoying the outdoors most of the year.
This was a new chapter of our lives, and I was open to all the possibilities. In a literal sense, God had brought us to the desert, but there was no turning back. We learned to rely on Him even more in this new adventure, and saw Him deliver on the promises of His word.
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19
Are you looking forward to new things or holding on to the past?