The Blogger Responds Part Deux
Getting back to Bill's questions, since I have plenty of time now...
Living in NC has been a bit of an adjustment. It's a completely different lifestyle, a different mentality here. Life is quieter, somehow, and not just because we live in a small town. Let me explain: in CA, unless you live in a pretty remote area, wild animals other than birds or toads are a pretty rare occurrance. Here, deer and bunnies wander through your yard. In town. Additionally, even though this is a college town, the sidewalks pretty much roll up at 10. When we left Pasadena, we could get pizza, Chinese, groceries, Jack in the B∝, or just about anything we wanted at 3am (even building supplies-- LOVED the 24-hour home depot in Duarte). Here, the WalMart closed at 11 until recently, and there's only one grocery store open 24 hours.
But the tradeoff is that less than 100 cars are stolen here every day. That's in the ENTIRE state, folks. People leave their doors unlocked and even very smart people often leave valuables in their cars. It's just the way things seem to be. Crazy. I mean, we literally moved from South Central (USC) out here, quite a change.
Also, people here are quite friendly. My husband about had apoplexy the first time we went to the grocery store (about 6 hours after arriving) and some random person struck up a conversation with him in the checkout line, and then the clerk counted back his change. I thought he would die! I frequently have the same small conversations in the elevator, on the bus, in line at Wendy's or Chick-Fil-A during lunch, etc.
The weather was a big adjustment. First of all, there are 4 distinct seasons: Cold and wet, Sneezy, Hot and wet, and Orange. It seems like a new flower blooms every week from March through June. Fall is lovely, and then when all the leaves fall, you discover neighbors you never knew you had! And OMG the HUMIDITY!!! We now own a dehumidifier and there are boxes of baking soda in every closet. I haven't yet had to resort to baby powdering the sheets, but there are days.... The thunderstorms are extremely impressive as well. NC is #7 in the US for lightning strikes for a reason! And then there are Hurricanes. We've met Dennis, Floyd, and Irene (1999); Isabel(2003); and Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne (2004). Needless to say, none of them were friendly. At least Chapel Hill is far enough from the ocean and the mountains that only Floyd did major damage in town. And the snow. We've had snow at least once a year since we've been here, including a 29 inch blizzard (2000), and ice storm (2002), and a snow storm every Thursday for 6 weeks (2004).
There are a bunch of things we miss: Trader Joe's, Jack in the B∝, drivers who know how to deal with traffic jams, front license plates. But people are people everywhere, and many things are the same here as there. Some things are better.
#2: Local politics are only fun when you understand all of the subtleties and incest underlying the discussion. So, while I love Fresno's local politics, I find Chapel Hill's stupid. Maybe that's because Chapel Hill and Carrboro together could be renamed "Crunchy Granola-ville". State politics are always highly amusing, though, especially in Cah-lee-forn-ya, which should really be 3 states, NorCal, SoCal, and the Valley (Central not San Fernando). Here they're pretty interesting too. Last year, for example, all of the state offices were split evenly down the red/blue line with a fairly moderate democratic governor. Federal politics are almost worthless, since the deal making is so transparent. International politics are pointless since different countries will always disagree. That doesn't mean that diplomacy is useless, but rather that playing politics with "allies" doesn't do much but waste time and piss people off (eg. France and Germany)
That's about it for now. More questions? Come on, these were easy. You've got to be able to come up with something more difficult. Maybe I'll give some short answers next time.