A Midwesterner’s (changed) view of California

There are so many misconceptions I had about California before I actually went there…

1. I would experience an earthquake.

I thought that the likelihood of experiencing an earthquake was high. When I started to relax, I had to remind myself of this possibility. It never happened. I remember in grade school having a teacher tell us that someday an earthquake might send California crashing into the sea. From that point on, I always pictured the outline of CA tearing apart (like folding a paper in half and ripping it along the crease) into the ocean. Didn’t happen..

2. I didn’t expect so much variety of landscape and people.

While we experienced only a small part of CA, we were able to see the desert, mountains, and the ocean. In Wisconsin, our state is pretty flat except on the far western border.We are surrounded by many lakes and rivers, just no ocean. Although we do experience extreme differences in climate with the changing of the seasons our landscape is pretty much the same.

Paul noticed that the people of CA seemed to be very individualistic. People wore some pretty outlandish things and no one stared. In WI, we are all about conformity. Fitting in is pretty easy. All you need to do is wear a regular pair of jeans and buy a Packer shirt. If you move in from out of state, you will be accepted if you dress like this. If you wear outlandish clothing, and don’t own Packer’s clothing, you will be mistrusted and talked about. If you are a man, you have to be a Packer fan.

Every time we leave the state, people ask us about the Packers. Like I would know… Frankly (don’t tell anyone) I could care less about football. Doesn’t anybody know anything else about our great state??

3. People that live in CA are health nuts.

I bought a pair of sunglasses for the trip and noticed that it had a warning that according to CA law the glasses contained materials that caused cancer. What was I getting myself into? Will I be surrounded by judgmental health nuts? I didn’t find that to be the case at all. I think that because the weather is ideal year round that more people get out and exercise.

I didn’t see any obese people in CA.

While we were waiting for the plane, Paul said that he knew we were flying back to WI just by looking at all of the overweight people waiting for the plane. WI is a very obese state. Our diet consists strongly of brats, cheese, and beer. For a majority of the year, it is difficult to buy fresh fruit and vegetables because the quality is so poor. We have excellent weather conditions 3 months of the year. Only the die hard fitness fanatics have what it takes to exercise indoors on a treadmill for several months straight. Plus with the major lack of sunlight, it is hard to be motivated while we are fighting off seasonal depression. Most of our elderly suffer from obesity caused illnesses such as diabetes. Many have a hard time walking around carrying their weight.

We pride ourselves on being hardy to handle cold winters. We are also hard working. But honestly, there really is not much else to do.

4. People in CA are beautiful, rich, and talk differently from us.

I find it funny that a lot of my stereotypes of CA are perpetuated by CA itself. Even the most beautiful and talented Midwestern girls are told that they don’t have what it takes to compete with a California girl. The CA girls are very beautiful and if they are not they have plastic surgeons to make them more beautiful. Again, not true although it keeps a lot of our beauty and talent in the Midwest.

There were rich people and poor people in CA just like there are here…They just have a higher cost of living.

I thought that I would hear at least one person say, “Like, gag me with a spoon.” Nope! They talked very similar to us. More similar than our southern or east coast friends.

Although I would have to say that WI and Upper Michigan has their own dialect.

First of all, if you are visiting here, it is a bubbler not a water fountain. A water fountain is what we throw pennies into, a bubbler is what we drink out of. You may hear someone say ‘yous guys’ for a plural of you. Then replace the “th” with a “d” and wallah. The becomes da, there becomes dere, this becomes dis, and them becomes dem.

This would be an acceptable sentence. “How about dem Packers?” “Did yous guys have fun dere or no?” We typically throw in an ‘or no’ at the end of our questions. “What did yah do dere?” Yah could be a singular form of you or it could mean yes. “How do yah like dem dere cheese curds?” “Not bad, huh?” Not everyone talks this way, but we all know someone who does and we understand.

I really enjoyed comparing the differences in culture. Someday I hope I get the opportunity to explore the rest of California..


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