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I moved to the west coast after living on the east coast all my life. Ariana DiValentino to Insider

I grew up in New Britain, Connecticut, and when I was 18, I fulfilled my dream of moving to New York City in college. I ended up staying for three more years after school and I still think it’s the most incredible place in the world.

Last year, though, I felt I needed a change. Things grew a bit stagnant in my life, so in hopes of finding work in the film industry, I packed up and moved to Los Angeles.

Of course, I expected that some things would be very different – the weather, the food, the transportation – but there have been a few differences that I had not also anticipated.

As a lifelong east coaster, here are the things that surprised me the most about moving to California:

I adapted to the climate faster than I had expected

The angels

Now I find myself after a sweater when the temperature drops to below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Shutterstock

Coming from the Northeast, with its bitter winters and humid summers, it’s been pretty fun to witness Southern California’s versions of seasons.

I can not help but laugh to myself when I see people gather in parks with Arctic strength on a day that is 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

But having said that, I got used to the climate much faster than I thought I would. After just a few weeks of being pampered with sunny days over 70 degrees, I started to feel cold as the temperature started to drop in the evening.

Now I wear a light jacket anytime, I think the temperature can drop down to the 50s. In New York, if it got into the 50s this spring, I would take of my coat.

It is surprisingly easy to live without a car in LA

los angeles traffic

I thought it would be harder to move here without a car. AP / Eric Risberg

After spending my entire adult life in New York City, where it’s pretty rare for anyone to own a car, I was prepared for some difficulty adapting to LA, where it’s seemingly unheard of to live without one.

Many people told me that it could not be done – that public transit in California was not very good and that I would spend a fortune on ride -share apps.

But getting without a car ended up being far more feasible than I had expected.

Although I’m used to the well-established and expansive public transit lines available in NYC, LA’s bus and train system is actually super useful — it even has some advantages over New York. These trains, although they do not cover as much ground, are generally on time and clean.

And when I can not take the train, ride-share apps can bring me further for less money than they did in New York.

The Californians are surprisingly much out to travel long distances

Boy, do Californians love a road trip.

All the places I had seen Angelenos visit in movies and on television, like Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs and Lake Tahoe, are far further from the city than I had imagined. For East Coasters (at least the ones I know), a two-hour or three-hour drive is a great ordeal and is probably reserved for special occasions.

My experience, however, is that people living in Los Angeles have to drive three to five hours for a spontaneous weekend trip. And an hour’s drive to Malibu for a beach day is a common occurrence.

The food is just as delicious, but completely different, in LA

IN out

In-N-Out Burger is a popular west coast chain. Hollis Johnson / Business Insider

There always seems to be a big debate about which coast or which big city has the best food in the country. Living in California now, I understand why it’s so hard to analyze.

New York has a world-class restaurant scene where chefs make some of the most interesting things out of any culinary city in the world. But California has the natural advantage of delicious, fresh ingredients. It seems that so many vegetables and fruits are growing here, so food in restaurants and grocery stores is amplified exponentially by the amazing products.

In New York, I felt like I had to be extra eagle-eyed when I had to buy products, but there are no sad, pink tomatoes or avocados that never fully ripen in Los Angeles.

That said, there are a handful of things I just can not find in California. Specifically large, cheap portions of takeaway (especially Chinese food) and of course a decent bagel.

Finding an apartment in LA was so much easier than getting one in NYC

In New York, the pursuit of and securing real estate is notoriously head-spinning. You generally need a lot of financial documentation, sometimes a letter of recommendation from a previous landlord and a cashier’s check ready quickly, otherwise someone else is likely to snatch up your space.

And if your annual salary is not at least 40 times the monthly rent, you may also need a guarantor to sign up.

In Los Angeles, this is not the rule of thumb. I visited two apartments, chose the other I saw, and the property manager told me that there was no “busy” getting him my deposit.

I could not believe it.

In addition, the approval process was much less stringent. My many years of apartment hunting in New York prepared me for a far more intense and complicated process than I actually had to deal with here.

In LA, I think there is more of a relaxed attitude to drinking alcohol and smoking weeds

Buy wine, wine shop

You can buy wine at a grocery store in LA. Shutterstock

When I was growing up in Connecticut and living in New York as an adult, I was always confused when my friends growing up on the West Coast would ask me to pick up a bottle of wine from the grocery store. Due to the laws of these East Coast states, wine and spirits can only be purchased in certain wine shops, not grocery stores or bodegas.

But in California, you can pick up wine and spirits while shopping for your groceries. It’s a small difference, but it was a little shocking to see full wine and spirits sections in grocery stores when I first arrived.

In addition, cannabis is legal up and down the west coast. It’s decriminalized in New York and legal in a few New England states, so it’s not like marijuana use is rare on the East Coast, but it looks so much more outdoors in LA, and as a result it looks to be less stigmatized.

I mean, there are dispensers here that look super high-tech and billboards that advertise the startup of delivery services all over the city. Nor is it scandalous or strange at all that a wealthy professional is also a frequent cannabis user here, which still does not seem to be the case in the East.

Overall, it really seems to be more chill in California

As far as I can see, it’s not just a stereotype – people seem to be more relaxed and things are going slower here in LA.

People take longer lunches, they love to get outside, and despite the traffic, there is far less rage here than there is in NYC.

However, I often miss the New York pace and the East Coasters’ attitude to the point.

I get better at making friendly conversations with chatty strangers, but sometimes I miss having public solitude. I also miss how New Yorkers always seemed to bond by complaining – my honesty does not seem so welcome in LA.

Deep down, I’m still very much an east coast at heart – but so far I love the sunshine, the fresh avocados and the overall relaxed atmosphere on the west coast.

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