Five Things You Should Know

About living in New York. This is all true, and is genius. Especially “when you don’t see someone for a few weeks it usually means they just didn’t feel like going outside. We get everything delivered. We are a social bunch, but we also retreat and isolate when need be. You’ll get used to the rhythm eventually.”

Yeah, basically. Also the complaining, yes. My allergies are killing me right now, ugh, but I am so glad it is spring because winter is seriously the worst.

Chally’s been doing an awesome “Where are you from?” series, which everyone should be reading. Riffing off of that, sort of, what are the five things anyone should know about living in ______?

Author: has written 5268 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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101 Responses

  1. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm |

    Things You Should Know about DC

    1. Tourists run at one speed. Residents run at another. This is often a problem.
    2. We are well-known for our broken escalators in Metro stations. Just get used to it.
    3. If you know someone who works and lives on the Hill, they rarely leave it. It is its own world unto itself.
    4. The DC government will always be incompetent and corrupt. DC government functions will never be properly funded.
    5. The average DC resident is introverted, overworked, and pigeon-holed into one specific job responsibility. You should see us try to date.

  2. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm |

    Re: DC: Yeah? No stand right, walk left? I feel like that’s number one. Also, I completely disagree with 5, but maybe my friends and I weren’t average when I lived there. I’d make an argument that one of the 5 points should be about yuppies in Arlington.

  3. preying mantis
    preying mantis April 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

    Florida:

    Those are fire ants. For the love of FSM, do not step in or camp on their mound. They hate everything good and wish to destroy you and everything you’ve ever loved.

    UV light reflects off sand. Just parking it in the shade at the beach will not save you from a wicked burn. Apply sunscreen according to the directions on the package.

    Disney crap is, like, a third of the price at any of the Disney outlet malls scattered around the state.

    Oranges are delicious, and nomming the hell out of them is strongly recommended.

    You’re never too old to watch a lady in a mermaid costume harass an alligator.

  4. gretel
    gretel April 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm |

    I’m a born-and-bred (#4) New Yorker–and Yankees fan! (#2)–so I just want to complain (#1) about that article, but instead I’ll just add:

    6. We love giving directions. Seriously! Ask us how to get there, and we will all have a very particular route that we swear is the best. Even if we don’t know, we’ll make something up.

  5. Natalia
    Natalia April 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |

    Moscow:

    There are scary-looking cops, often accompanied by adorable, and yet still scary-looking dogs, at the metro stations. Get used to it. And don’t try to pet the dogs, no matter how inviting they look.

    The most beautiful metro station is probably Mayakovskaya. Although sometimes, beauty really depends on one’s mood. If you’re in a shitty mood, check out a cheerful station – like Novoslobodskaya.

    There’s a stupid city ordinance banning the sale of hard liquor after 10 p.m.

    Modern Orthodox architecture is brining sexy back – and by “sexy”, I mean elongated onion domes. They actually used to be popular in [mumbled epoch name], apparently. They are fucking stunning. Check that shit out. The traditional ones are also lovely, but seriously, check that shit out.

    Everyone should greet a Moscow dawn after a long night out at least once in their lifetime. Everyone.

  6. April
    April April 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm |

    5 Things you should know about living in Minneapolis:

    1. Everyone is in a band, or has been in a band, or knows someone in a band, and all of those people have been in bands with each other at some point between the ages of 12 and 40.

    2. Pedestrians downtown ignore traffic lights and oncoming trains, and cross the street at their leisure. This may seem appalling or even dangerous at first, but don’t worry; drivers are generally too nice to do more than glare at you as they screech to a halt.

    3. Even “authentic” Thai restaurants (and others who are known for spicy cuisines) will assume that when you ask for a “spicy” dish, that you really mean “slightly less tangy than ketchup.” If you actually like really spicy food, ask for extra hot sauce. Especially if you’re white. Because white Minnesotans don’t typically like spicy foods, and everyone who works in any restaurant around here knows this and assumes accordingly.

    4. When spring hits, we turn into a bunch of douches who take their souped-up cars to the Lakes and drive around in circles, listening to the least interesting indie rock songs you can imagine and checking out all the joggers in shorts and sports bras in 50 degree F weather. Just avoid the Lakes for the first few weeks of spring.

    5. The cyclists in Minneapolis are hardcore, and many won’t let a few feet of snow stop them from hopping on.

  7. April
    April April 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    Natalia: There’s a stupid city ordinance banning the sale of hard liquor after 10 p.m.

    Minneapolis (well, the entirety of Minnesota), too. :( Same goes for beer, wine, etc., unless it’s under 3.2% ABV, in which case it can be sold at a gas station until 12 or 1AM, depending on the day of the week. I really wanted a fricken beer yesterday, too, and could not for the life of me find a place that was open. It was barely midnight!

  8. oxygengrrl
    oxygengrrl April 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm |

    OK, I can’t resist. Here’s my DC five
    1) I’m with Pretty Amiable. Stand right. Walk left. That includes your stroller. Dammit.
    2) Don’t say you live in DC when you actually live in MD or VA. Thanks.
    3) DC looks buttoned down and conservative, but don’t forget that it was the center of punk rock in the 90s. For many DCites, the button-down shirts come off and the tattoos become visible at night and on weekends. You just have to know where to hang out.
    4) There is nothing in this world like a hot summer evening in DC, when you can drink outside wearing sundresses and/or shorts. It doesn’t quite make up for being able to run your fingers through the air all day, but it’s nice.
    5) Snow is rare. Snow is annual. Snow is a problem

    And here’s my one addition for Moscow, where I’ve never lived, but I do visit often
    It will take less time to get anywhere in the city on foot/metro that it will take to drive there. Nonetheless, a Muscovite with a car will insist on driving and many will claim not to have set foot on the metro in years.

  9. queenrandom
    queenrandom April 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    Aw, I was going to do the Twin Cities, but you beat me to Mpls. I guess I’ll do St. Paul* instead :)

    1. No, St. Paul is not a neighborhood in Minneapolis. It’s a separate city. The state capitol, in fact. How to tell the difference: If you see a bunch of domes, if the neighborhoods are all separate and have their own unique street lamps, there are law and/or fashion students wandering about everywhere, if you’re on Marshall, you’re in St. Paul. If you can’t tell what neighborhood you’re in, there are a bunch of hipsters with too much hair gel roaming about, if you’re on Lake, you’re in Minneapolis. Want to find the other city? Just find the river and cross it. Done!

    2. The MN alcohol laws are actually by county so if you need wine after 8PM on a week night or 10PM Fri-Sat, go across the river; if it’s Sunday make a trek to Wisconsin.

    3. Don’t go downtown after 7PM. No, not because it’s dangerous. Because everything shuts down and it’s a ghost town. Go to West 7th or Grand instead.

    4. No, the road doesn’t have two lanes. Yes, if someone’s turning left at an intersection, pretend it does or risk being run over.

    5. We will make happy conversation with just about everyone we interact with. That doesn’t mean we like you or want to be your friend. If we offer you a beer or have you over for a grill, then we like you. Beer and grilling is a sacred ritual. Honor it.

    *None of these apply to the U of MN area, which is in both cities, and really a world unto its own.

  10. Natalia
    Natalia April 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm |

    It will take less time to get anywhere in the city on foot/metro that it will take to drive there. Nonetheless, a Muscovite with a car will insist on driving and many will claim not to have set foot on the metro in years.

    Zomg. Yes. Unless it’s, like, 3 a.m. But otherwise, yes.

    I was *driven* to my wedding ceremony, and I remember freaking out in the car. Like, “WE WILL NEVER MAKE IT ON TIME, THIS IS MOSCOW, FOR GOD’S SAKE, SHOULD’VE TAKEN THE METRO!!!” (We were on time, but I maintain that my hissy fit was justified)

  11. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm |

    For Boston:

    1) Do not drive in Boston or in Cambridge. Your heart will thank you.

    2) Yes, Boston–and MA in general–tends to vote Democrat. But fair warning–folks here can be surprisingly conservative.

    3) People who did not grow up around here who try to imitate our accent end up sounding like their either New Yorkers or JFK. We do not sound like New Yorkers and seriously, no one here actually sounds like JFK did.

    4) This is a very segregated city. (This really hit home when I had to travel to Chicago for my old job.)

    5) Things get really obnoxious around here on St. Patrick’s Day. And if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday or Saturday, good luck getting a cab home.

  12. DianaH
    DianaH April 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm |

    Five Things To Know About Tampa, FL:

    1. Roads will change name without warning. If you think something is located on Fletcher in Carrollwood, it’s probably on South Village or maybe even Casey.

    2. Be sure you are capable of explaining the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre to baffled visitors and out-of-state relations.

    3. If someone says, Oh the bar’s in Seminole Heights! remember that that can mean either expensive hipster microbrewery OR cheap-ass sketchy dive.

    4. Real seafood is shockingly difficult to get on this side of the bay. You may have to drive to St Pete.

    5. Someone at the airport will ask you if you’ve been to Mons Venus. Count on it.

  13. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm |

    Oh, another thing about Boston:

    Yes, the streets don’t make any sense. They are old cow paths. And if you miss your turn, you will have to come back via Boise because everything is a one way and the change every five minutes. Also, way too many Boston drivers are auditioning for the Evel Knievel Biopic. See: Don’t drive in Boston or Cambridge. Your heart will thank you for it.

  14. roro80
    roro80 April 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm |

    Ooh! Fun! 5 things you should know about living in San Francisco:

    1) Children and taxis are extremely rare, to the point where having either around and readily accessible strikes those who have been there a while as odd. Not unpleasant, in either case, but just not expected.
    2) Summer months are really, really cold if you dress like you’re in LA or San Diego, and the temperature changes drastically from day to day and from neighborhood to neighborhood. If you want sun, come in October. Otherwise, layer accordingly.
    3) Yes, it really is that gay. If the number of out gay people around the city bothers you, you’re definitely in the wrong place. It’s your problem, and will be treated as such. This goes even for spaces generally characterized by blatant heterosexuality — pubs, sports stadiums, biker bars, etc.
    4) Per capita, we spend more on booze and books than any other city.
    5) If you are in a car, do not mess with people on bicycles. They are allowed to be on the road too, and if you don’t know that, they will be happy to make it excedingly clear, often in nasty ways.

  15. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm |

    How to live in a college town in central Iowa:

    1. Iowans can’t drive. Or rather, they are super cautious and always polite, giving everyone else the right-of-way even though this just messes up the situation far more than following the rules learned in driver’s ed.

    2. There is a significant Asian population around here. Some of them are international students for the university. Some are out-of-state Asian Americans. A lot of them are residents of this state.

    3. Due to the above, there are some excellent restaurants and grocery stores around for every budget. Just ask.

    4. Everyone jokes about our cornfields for miles around. If you don’t live here, though, don’t insult the agriculture. Many people know, are learning to become, or are part of a farm.

    5. Don’t go outside Friday or Saturday nights. Due to the bad driving and large college population, your five minute drive to the grocery store will take twenty minutes.

  16. April
    April April 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm |

    queenrandom: 3. Don’t go downtown after 7PM. No, not because it’s dangerous. Because everything shuts down and it’s a ghost town. Go to West 7th or Grand instead.

    No joke! This is why I tend to keep my social activities to the West side of the river.

    (I’d personally love to see your Twin Cities list; I don’t mean to hog the Minneapolis :) )

  17. Linnaeus
    Linnaeus April 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm |

    Five things to know about living in Seattle, Washington:

    1. It doesn’t really rain as much as you’ve heard; the rain is simply spread out over approximately nine months of the year. Summers are the best you are likely to experience anywhere. Don’t tell anyone.

    2. Anti-California sentiment is not as strong as it once was, but newcomers from California may still be regarded with suspicion by old-school Seattleites who themselves are one or two generations removed from a migrant. No one slashes your tires anymore, though.

    3. Yes, folks here really do like their coffee and you can’t spit without hitting a coffee shop somewhere. There’s plenty of alternatives to StarBorg (though plenty of people still go to those). I recommend Vivace in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

    4. You will hear about the “Seattle way” of governing the city, which consists of gestures towards consensus while the traditional urban oligarchy here continues to run things as it always did.

    5. Fleece is acceptable attire at any event. Any. Event.

  18. Sid
    Sid April 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

    2) Don’t say you live in DC when you actually live in MD or VA. Thanks.

    Hate on us suburbanites all you want, but the vast majority of pop. density of “DC metro area” is located in Fairfax/MoCo/Arlington and most of the best bars/restaurants/entertainment venues in “DC” are actually out here.

  19. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |

    Was that hatred? I would get irritated if someone told me they lived in DC and then actually lived out by Huntington. That’s a hell of a commute. That said, I’m sure I said I lived in DC when I lived in Ballston, so. Haha

  20. Aatish
    Aatish April 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |

    Five things to know about living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    1. Gas is cheaper than water.
    2. Regardless of how much you consume, your electricity bill will never exceed $30 per month.
    3. You do not drive in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Instead you participate in a demolition derby everytime you are on the road.
    4. Some people are filthy filthy rich.
    5. Burqa clad women (some with insanely gorgeous eyes) are more prone to hit on you than bikini clad women in the US. I should be flattered but I am not. Probably because the first thought in my head is; “oh god I am about to be robbed”.

  21. Aatish
    Aatish April 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm |

    Five things to know about living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    1. Gas is cheaper than water.
    2. Regardless of how much you consume, your electricity bill will never exceed $30 per month.
    3. You do not drive in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Instead you participate in a demolition derby everytime you are on the road.
    4. Some people are filthy filthy rich.
    5. Burqa clad women (some with insanely gorgeous eyes) are more prone to hit on you than bikini clad women in the US. I should be flattered but I am not. Probably because the first thought in my head is; “oh god I am about to be robbed”.

  22. oxygengrrl
    oxygengrrl April 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |

    @Sid It’s not hatred. Just a desire for accuracy.

  23. Sid
    Sid April 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm |

    PrettyAmiable:
    Was that hatred? I would get irritated if someone told me they lived in DC and then actually lived out by Huntington. That’s a hell of a commute. That said, I’m sure I said I lived in DC when I lived in Ballston, so. Haha

    I really hate it when DCites get all hoity-toity about how superior they are living in DC, and how much different (read:yupster-y) it is than out in the burbs. That said, my hatred for Arlington yuppies is enough to think that that entire county should be exiled from VA. Huntington to Foggy Bottom is ~20 minutes, which I would kill for given my Fairfax to Bethesda commute.

  24. AshKW
    AshKW April 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm |

    Five things to know about the tri-city area of Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, Colorado:

    1) Nobody uses their vehicle’s blinkers. Ever. For any purpose. Nor do we honk. Which is frustrating when the person in the vehicle ahead of you suddenly veers into your lane and there’s no socially acceptable outlet for your frustration.

    2) It is not unusual to see stock trailers or horse trailers on every type of roadway and parking lot. We are still an agricultural area, no matter how sophisticated FoCo tries to be. And drivers of said trailers will demonstrate a special sort of road rage if you drive erratically and/or too close to them. You have been warned.

    3) Yes, everyone is completely obsessed with snowskiiing/hiking/mountain-climbing/bicycling/other outdoor sports.

    4) We still hate Californians and Texans. Something to do with a massive influx in the 70s and 80s. Mention you are from one of the two aforementioned states and prepare to be hissed at.

    5) Microbreweries? Yes, we haz em!

  25. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 11, 2011 at 3:58 pm |

    Sid: That said, my hatred for Arlington yuppies is enough to think that that entire county should be exiled from VA.

    Hahaha. I lived in Arlington the last year I was there (and was one of the yuppies who helped swing the state in 08!). I made next to nothing though, which I’m adding to establish some form of street cred. But, fact of the matter is if you live in Arlington and especially at Clarendon and for a two stop radius around it, you’re probably a yuppie. I’ve had friends in denial, but I think they’ve finally accepted it. Also, I’m pretty sure yuppie:DC::hipsters:NYC.

    I had an ex who lived in the apartments on the Vienna side of the Fairfax stop – it’s a cute place to live. Much, much less yuppie.

  26. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 11, 2011 at 4:33 pm |

    Jill: DC SUCKS!!!11!!

    (just had to get in on the hate, somewhere).

    :(

  27. PDXviaBmore
    PDXviaBmore April 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |

    Ohh fun. I recently moved from Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR and am feeling nostalgic.

    Charm City living:

    1) The Inner Harbor is worth a visit exactly once. Excluding the AVAM, which is awesome.

    2) There is no dignified way to eat a crab. You just have to grab a mallet and go to town on that sucker, preferably accompanied by Natty Boh.

    3) Getting around on a bike: Doable! But not for the faint of heart. Baltimore roads/drivers are among the most depressing specimens of public works/humans ever.

    4) Be prepared for people you’ve never met before (particularly older women) calling you hon/baby/sweetie. In most cases it’s not a sexual/flirtatious thing here.

    5) Because of The Wire, everyone outside of Baltimore will think you are much more of a badass than you actually are.

    By Baltimore standards, DC folks criticizing yuppiness of suburbanites is pretty hilarious, for the record. Baltimore is much more low-key/quirky/affordable than either DC or environs and in my experience way more fun :).

    Any Portland pointers?

  28. Sid
    Sid April 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    But, fact of the matter is if you live in Arlington and especially at Clarendon and for a two stop radius around it, you’re probably a yuppie. I’ve had friends in denial, but I think they’ve finally accepted it. Also, I’m pretty sure yuppie:DC::hipsters:NYC.

    Agree, agree, and agree; I feel like I’ve had to serve as a Yuppies Anonymous counselor for several friends now. I also think there’s a significant subset of that Arlington yuppie cohort attempting to project Brooklyn hipster in futile attempt to disguise yuppie trappings.

    Jill:
    I’m just teasing, PrettyAmiable. Although there are waaaay to many pairs of khaki pants in your town.

    C’mon dude, khaki is the new denim.

  29. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    Hawaii:

    1) Slow down.
    2) Hawaiian is a spoken language written by white people as such it is really easy for english speakers to pronounce once you get the alpha straight. If you are going to be there for more than 2 weeks…get the alpha straight.
    3) The Bus is the easiest form of transport.
    4) Ethnic humor in Hawaii is different than on the mainland.
    5) Food is the center of our cultural universe

    DC – added to those mentioned above
    1) Do not eat any any of the nouveau cuisine restaurants in the K street corridor. The all suck.
    2) Do not get between a lawyer and a bar on a Friday night.

    Scottsdale – thus far
    1) Do not watch the news…its too upseting
    2) Go outside! Its lovely!
    3) Sure, bring your dog! Here we have special biscuits.
    4) Never leave the house without water…seriously. Dehydration seems to set in between home and the grocery store.
    5) There is no fios. Huge bummer.

  30. Alexis de Valone
    Alexis de Valone April 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    Five things to know about Rabat, Morocco :

    1)The tramway will never be done, ever. It will continue being built forever, and thus continue making your life miserable.
    2) Maymana is the greatest place for macarons. Paul ? pssshhhh.
    3) Avenue des Nations-Unies at noon is fantastic for people watching. Descartes kids, lol. (no offense, I was one of them).
    4) There will always be demonstrations in front of that ugly building passing as the Parliament. Do not drive in front of the parliament. Thanks, diplomes chomeurs !
    2)Casablanca is an evil place filled with evil people. Hate it on principle. Hate it especially when they export their damn football derby match (Wydad v. Raja) to Rabat, because then the evil Casablanca peeps destroy Rabat instead of Casa. :D

  31. Alexis de Valone
    Alexis de Valone April 11, 2011 at 5:30 pm |

    I can number things, yay !
    That was of course
    5)Casablanca is an evil place filled with evil people. Hate it on principle. Hate it especially when they export their damn football derby match (Wydad v. Raja) to Rabat, because then the evil Casablanca peeps destroy Rabat instead of Casa. :D

    -headdesk-

    Also, addendum : French tourists, don’t try to speak arabic. We will talk to you in French, I promise, just don’t try to speak arabic. My ears, they will be grateful.

  32. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm |

    Jill: I’m just teasing, PrettyAmiable. Although there are waaaay to many pairs of khaki pants in your town.

    In retrospect, I don’t think I remember any of my guy friends ever wearing jeans. My personal point 2 about DC might be about stealth khakis.

    Kristen J.: Scottsdale – thus far
    1) Do not watch the news…its too upseting

    Ahhhh I’m looking for a job after grad school and have decided that Arizona is one of the places I absolutely could not live – precisely because of the national news coming out of AZ. Stay awesome; maybe awesomeness is transferred from awesome to not awesome. Like some kind of awesome-thermodynamics.

    PS, get ready NYers if I move out there for work. I’ll be the one with moving boxes in her living room and claiming to be a New Yorker by virtue of my current habitat!

  33. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm |

    NO?!!!

    PA, some to Arizona…we’ll grab all the other progressives and live in a little commune. It’ll be great. M agrees prepare food in exchange for non-assholery and some fresh basil.

  34. Susie
    Susie April 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm |

    Just want to add to the San Francisco list…
    Please don’t call it “frisco” if you do everyone will realize you are not from here and therefore never read the great Herb Caan :)… plus we hate it!

  35. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm |

    come to Arizona…typing on my phone = typos

  36. La Lubu
    La Lubu April 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm |

    Things to know about Illinois:

    1. We measure distance in time, as in how long it takes to drive somewhere, rather than how many miles away something is. Chicago’s Loop is 175 miles away from my house; I think (and say) “4 hour drive”. It’s that long if I take the Amtrak, too.

    2. We have great food! Seriously. Everyone in the world came here and opened up a restaurant (or grocery). Watching “The Food Network” is one of the few things you can get everyone in Illinois to agree on. Like the more eastern parts of the Rust Belt, we prefer our food spicy, not bland.

    3. We love to argue politics. Politics is a contact sport here, and much more fun than the Cubs/Cards rivalry. We assume all politicians are corrupt, and nothing much surprises us (c’mon…after over $800,000 was found stuffed in shoeboxes in Paul Powell’s apartment at the St. Nicholas Hotel….it’s hard to be surprised. We weren’t surprised at the corruption, or the amount. We were surprised he hadn’t invested it offshore or had it laundered yet). We are trying to win first place in the “how many Governors get sent to prison” race.

    4. There are a lot of personalized license plates in Illinois; a trend that started in Springfield and spread. However, there are no Italian-Americans who work for the Secretary of State. How do I know this? Because one of the license plates reads “BA FA GU.”

    5. People in Illinois are very proud of Abraham Lincoln. A popular quip when the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (a project I worked on) was opened, and George W. Bush was on hand to say a few words was, “Aw, look. The worst President in US history is introducing a museum dedicated to the best President in our history!” Illinois is also proud of the Underground Railroad and Route 66. And is proud enough of our best authors to carve their names in the Gwendolyn Brooks State Library.

    6. Watch for deer on the roads. You don’t want to run into one. Those large birds perched on trees along the highways are mostly red-tailed hawks. The bigger ones by the rivers are bald eagles.

    7. We have extreme seasonal temperatures. And it’s not uncommon for the temp to have a forty-degree (Fahrenheit) range in the same day—before nightfall. And yes, it really is that humid in the summers.

    8.We wince when you pronounce the “s” at the end of “Illinois”. It sounds like fingernails across the blackboard.

    9. “Downstate” means south of I-80 (Interstate highway 80). Where “southern Illinois” begins is a matter of debate. Chicago folks say it begins south of I-80. Folks in central Illinois (roughly: between I-74 and I-70) think it begins around I-70. Folks in actual southern Illinois are horrified to think that southern Illinois would begin anywhere above I-64, and that’s pushing it.

    10. Speaking of southern Illinois, did you know Illinois has a growing wine industry? Don’t laugh. Taste some. Go to Shawnee for the mountain biking; stay for the wine drinking afterwards. Winning!

    11. People here will point at the screen and say, “Hey! I been there!” when watching films shot in Illinois. The Blues Brothers—the first one—was Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi’s fan letter not just to the blues, but to Illinois. I spent the film pointing and saying, “I been there! and there, too!” Did the same thing with Wanted, Hi Fidelity, ER, etc.

    12. Real Chicagoans argue about who can say they’re from Chicago. If you want to pass as a Real Chicagoan, know the name of your parish. (yes, even if you’re not Catholic. Trust—you’ll pass.)

    also…..do not go drinking (alcohol) with anyone from Minnesota. Ever. It is so cold there, their drinking season is roughly September-May. Many of them are descended from generations of Vikings whose drinking season was year round (the rest have acculturated). I made this mistake once—went drinking with IBEW brothers and sisters from the Minneapolis and St. Paul Locals. We pounded rounds of hard liquor for hours. Closed the bar. I got two whole hours of sleep before I had to be up in time to attend the next day’s conference, feeling (and probably looking) like I’d been hit by a bus. The brothers and sisters from Minnesota? Looked and felt like a million bucks—and were ready to do it again! My bowels and liver still give me lectures on how wrong that is. So…to add to the Minnesota lists up above: switch to soda; don’t try to keep up with the locals!

  37. Li
    Li April 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm |

    5 Things about living in the Inner West of Sydney.

    1. If you are white, people will try to tell you that Redfern is dangerous for white people. They are, predictably, wrong.

    2. Drinking at a coffee franchise like Starbucks or Gloria Jean’s basically makes you the worst person ever. We have a cafe culture for a reason.

    3. Resist the urge to be a hipster. Don’t remove the gears from your bicycle. There are several strategically placed giant hills that will attempt to kill you.

    4. If you can see a spider, it’s probably not dangerous enough to fuck you up. Well, on this side of Sydney at least.

    5. Sunscreen is your friend, especially during summer.

  38. calixti
    calixti April 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm |

    Five things to know about living in Nebraska:

    1. It is socially acceptable for strangers to start a conversation by asking what church you attend. This is easy to brush off by saying you ‘don’t believe in church’ and avoids confrontation if you’re non-Christian.

    2. You will need a car, unless you live in downtown Omaha or Lincoln and don’t go anywhere before six am or past seven pm. The bus system sucks.

    3. Yes, everyone is that obsessed with football. Yes, the Huskers are that big a deal. Do not attempt to drive anywhere in the vicinity of Lincoln on game days. Do not go to bars on game days. Do not leave your house on game days. Even high school football triggers this obsession.

    4. Bellevue is not part of Omaha. Papillion is not part of Bellevue OR Omaha. Offutt AFB is not part of Bellevue if you ask the people who live there. It is part of Bellevue if you ask people who live in Bellevue.

    5. You’ll learn to sleep through the tornado sirens, don’t worry.

  39. Tori
    Tori April 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    Five things about Tucson, AZ:

    1. Go south of 22nd street. Seriously.

    2. Sunscreen. Even if you think you don’t need it, you probably do.

    3. Yes, you can eat prickly pear. (But fresh off the cactus, there are still spines.)

    4. You will never have a mouse problem. The lizards will keep them away.

    5. Why, yes, 4am *is* a perfectly reasonable time to go running, thank you!

  40. Nahida
    Nahida April 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Awwe, I just found out that Colorado and Washington hate me. D:

    WELL SUNSHINE IS GUARANTEED TO THE MASSES HERE IN CALIFORNIA SO YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS!

  41. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles April 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm |

    OOH I WANNA PLAY

    Five things you should know about Spokane, WA:

    1. It can, and often will, snow as late as April.

    2. Despite the fact that everyone drives in the snow and ice every single year, they always forget how. Watch out.

    3. The only way to know what the fuck is going on in this town is to read The Inlander. Without that it seems like absolutely nothing ever happens.

    4. Public transportation sucks. Get a car.

    5. There are very distinct areas here: The valley, the north side, the south hill, and downtown. If you wanna know the best things to do and places to go in each area, ask someone who lives there.

    And I have to add two more that have been bugging me since I moved here seven years ago:

    6. If you are outside of Washington and talking to someone who says they are from Washington, do not assume DC or Seattle. If we meant DC, we would say DC. And assuming everyone you meet who is from Washington state is from Seattle shows an astounding level of geographic ignorance.

    7. If you are from another city in Washington, don’t tell us how boring you think Spokane is. Asserting how much cooler your city is is annoying. Stop it.

  42. Rah
    Rah April 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm |

    Five things about California:

    1. Not everyone in California is a free-loving hippie. In fact, there are huge conservative bases in central and southern California and things can get ugly when their way of life is threatened (see: Prop 8).

    2. California has shit roads. Often this means driving in California is part extreme sport. Be on the lookout for pot holes, oil slicks in the rain, and assholes on your right.

    3. California is not just sunshine and beaches, unfortunately. In fact, there’s a fairly high chance that if you live here, you will experience some sort of natural disaster. The most common are earthquakes, landslides, floods, and wildfires. State of emergencies for these things are regular for certain areas.

    4. California has the highest minimum sales tax in the U.S., at 8.5%. In some places, though, sales tax tops 10%. This is because California is broke. In 2009, the state was issuing IOUs, that’s how broke. Things haven’t actually improved, that IOU thing just pissed a lot of people off, so we haven’t tried it again (which is not to say we won’t).

    5. Pot is not actually legal.

  43. Gabrielle
    Gabrielle April 11, 2011 at 9:42 pm |

    10 Things You Should Know About Savannah, GA:

    1. Only tourists eat at the Lady and Sons. You will not see locals standing in line for hours to eat overpriced fried chicken.

    2. Public transportation and bicycles are only useful downtown. Otherwise, you will need a car. And if you want to stay out late, you still need a car.

    3. In the Spring, it’s not if you get allergies, but when. Pollen will turn your car green. And you will sneeze a lot.

    4. If you order tea, it will be iced sweet tea, and it will be really, really, really sweet. Be sure to specifically ask for unsweet tea if that is not to your liking.

    5. Yes, you really can walk around with an alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times. Just make sure it’s in a clear plastic cup.

    6. Don’t trash Tybee Island. We know it’s not a pristine Florida beach. It’s our beach, and we like it. (We still go to Florida to go to the “real beach” though.)

    7. SCAD students that live downtown (read: hipsters) are a completely different breed than the local Savannahian. Everybody likes to chill in Forsyth Park when the weather is nice, though.

    8. St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal. Kids get the day off from school. We have the second largest parade in the country. Many of us will be drunk before noon.

    9. We are laid back, friendly, and will hold the door open for you. We also unironically say “y’all.”

    10. We do not appreciate being painted as ignorant just because we live in a red state. Do not presume to judge us based on some extremists’ political ideology. Most of us are not crazy racist rednecks. Stupid people live everywhere, not just in the South.

  44. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm |

    I wanna throw one in for where I grew up.

    Hartford, CT:

    1. Our driver’s ed includes snow training. When your car starts to skid, for the love of god or science or bunny rabbits, turn into the skid.
    2. Primary and secondary schools will be in session during blizzards, but will close when there’s only an inch of snow on the ground. Wear your pajamas inside out and backwards accordingly.
    3. No, we’re not from Greenwich nor Stamford. Thus, we are not by default loaded.
    4. On that subject, when we leave the state and meet someone from CT in a bar, there is much rejoicing if it’s someone with an 860 area code (as opposed to Greenwich/Stamford/New Haven/Bridgeport’s 203). Rounds of shots are an appropriate way to celebrate.
    5. If you got on I-84 West to anything other than Waterbury, you went in the wrong direction. There is nothing west of Waterbury. Actually, there’s not really all that much in Waterbury except government corruption. Were you looking for 9 South? You can merge near Farmington..

    Bonus: Since we’re 2 hrs from NYC and 2 hrs from Boston, you must pick the Yankees or Red Sox (I’m pretty sure you have to be from Flushing to root for the Mets), and you must buy their hat. The rest of the state is split along the NW-SE diagonal, but being in the middle, you get to choose. Congrats. Bear this responsibility wisely.

  45. Tony
    Tony April 11, 2011 at 9:58 pm |

    Someone’s feeling nostalgic for Baltimore?!??? I think I just died. :D

  46. Vigée
    Vigée April 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm |

    Nahida:
    Awwe, I just found out that Colorado and Washington hate me. D:

    WELL SUNSHINE IS GUARANTEED TO THE MASSES HERE IN CALIFORNIA SO YOU’RE JUST JEALOUS!

    Denver gets 300 days of sun a year. Boom.

  47. anonymous for now
    anonymous for now April 11, 2011 at 10:47 pm |

    OK, I will do Portland, OR (pretend these are two sets of 5):

    1) If you have moved to the city in the past 5-10 years, you have probably displaced poor mostly minority residents. Have the decency to feel bad about it, and don’t go around talking about how “awesome” you have made the neighborhood with your yoga studio/etsy craft shop. Try to learn a little bit about the history and politics of the neighborhood where you have moved, and don’t go on about how much better your neighborhood would be if “all the angry black people moved out.” Also, do not refer to North Portland as “No Po” or you may get punched in the face by someone who is not a hipster.

    1b) Portland is very much a neighborhood city. Neighborhood councils are extremely active and have decent political clout. If you want to get involved with your community, joining your neighborhood committee is a very good way to do so.

    2) Like Seattle, fleece is acceptable everywhere, every time. No occasion is too fancy for fleece. This also applies to Dansko clogs, hiking boots and rain jackets. (Look through an REI catalog for an idea of what an all-purpose outfit for Portlanders looks like.)

    3) People take beer very seriously. In fact, many people pay more for their beer than they do their wine. You must cultivate an interest in artisan microbrews, odd styles (e.g. sour beers), or at least pretend to. The best way to fake it is just to mumble about how much you like hops and then mention how much mass produced beer tastes like water. (Some people also take wine seriously as well.)

    4) Public transportation is well used by everyone from all walks of life. Don’t be surprised to get on a bus and have it be full of upper-middle class white people. On the flip side, you will probably have many interesting conversations with homeless people. Be friendly and think of it as a time to get to know someone you wouldn’t normally talk to.

    4b) Bicycling is very easy to do and many people cycle everywhere, but you can get ticketed for cycling drunk.

    5) People take their coffee as seriously as they do in Seattle, except ours is better ;) (Note: Pretty much everything in Portland is like Seattle, but better ;)

    6) DO NOT shop at Wholefoods. Wholefoods is the overpriced Walmart for yuppies. If you want that sort of groceries, shop at New Seasons instead.

    7) If you have moved to Portland to get a job, I recommend going somewhere else. Expect to be under/unemployed for a very long time.

    8) Do not drink bottled water. Portland has some of the cleanest, best tasting drinking water in the US. In fact, bottled water companies probably fill their bottles with Portland tap water.

    9) People in Portland really do do outdoor stuff on the weekends. Hike in Washington and Forest park, or go to Mt Hood or the coast. Cross-country skiing on Mt Hood is a very affordable and fun winter activity. Also, trimet has a bus to the coast, so you can get there without a car.

    10) We are very wimpy about the weather. Like Seattle, we don’t get rain so much as drizzle for nine months out of the year. Anything else sends the city into a panic. Expect everything to shut down for half an inch of snow. Heavy rain is referred to as “flooding.”

  48. Jane
    Jane April 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm |

    Five things to know about living in southwestern Iowa:

    1. Expect to have your mailbox ripped off at least once by either farm machinery that’s a little too wide or kids who are a little too bored.

    2. Never say you’re from a small town or that you went to a small high school. There’s always one smaller. (Example: If I say I graduated from a public school with a class of 80, a friend from a neighboring town can top me with a class of 30.)

    3. Virtually every town you see is a shadow of its former self. Iowa’s population, especially its rural population, is aging quickly; we’re either the oldest or the second-oldest state in the nation. As farms have gotten bigger and more mechanized, fewer and fewer families live in the small towns or near them, and many have almost disappeared. My hometown used to have three grocery stores, a JC Penneys, a dance hall, and a population of 5000; now it has one grocery store and a population less than 3000. This kind of decay is everywhere.

    4. There are long stretches of highway (70+ miles) with no fast food. Bear this in mind when planning a trip. (Brought to my attention when I realized my home town is the only Burger King in a 100 mile stretch. Admittedly there is one McDonalds in there besides us though.)

    5. We have problems with infestations of Asian lady beetles. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. They can get to the point where they cover an entire exterior wall of a house.

    Bonus 6. My dad has had people pay part of their bill in sweet corn. This was pretty awesome when it happened.

    Bonus 7. All of Iowa gets to claim the BUTTER COW. Few things are so wondrous.

  49. April
    April April 11, 2011 at 11:58 pm |

    La Lubu: 4. There are a lot of personalized license plates in Illinois; a trend that started in Springfield and spread. However, there are no Italian-Americans who work for the Secretary of State. How do I know this? Because one of the license plates reads “BA FA GU.”

    I always wondered about that! A friend of mine who moved to Minneapolis from Chicago told me that it’s free to personalize license plates in IL. Is that true? I believe you have to pay extra to do that here in MN.

    also…..do not go drinking (alcohol) with anyone from Minnesota. Ever. It is so cold there, their drinking season is roughly September-May. Many of them are descended from generations of Vikings whose drinking season was year round (the rest have acculturated). I made this mistake once—went drinking with IBEW brothers and sisters from the Minneapolis and St. Paul Locals. We pounded rounds of hard liquor for hours. Closed the bar. I got two whole hours of sleep before I had to be up in time to attend the next day’s conference, feeling (and probably looking) like I’d been hit by a bus. The brothers and sisters from Minnesota? Looked and felt like a million bucks—and were ready to do it again! My bowels and liver still give me lectures on how wrong that is. So…to add to the Minnesota lists up above: switch to soda; don’t try to keep up with the locals!

    Hahahaha. Yeah, you haven’t seen Minnesotans drink until you see Minnesotans realize winter is over. As of last week, we’ve been like zombies, going from bar patio to bar patio, overjoyed at how we can drink beer, smoke a cigarette, and stand outside at the same time, while not freezing!

  50. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers April 12, 2011 at 12:02 am |

    PDXviaBmore: Ohh fun. I recently moved from Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR and am feeling nostalgic.Charm City living:1) The Inner Harbor is worth a visit exactly once. Excluding the AVAM, which is awesome.2) There is no dignified way to eat a crab. You just have to grab a mallet and go to town on that sucker, preferably accompanied by Natty Boh.3) Getting around on a bike: Doable! But not for the faint of heart. Baltimore roads/drivers are among the most depressing specimens of public works/humans ever.

    Actually, I find that Baltimore bikers are among the worst bikers anywhere (“I know! I’ll ride my bike the wrong way down a busy one-way street! What could possibly go wrong? Also, I am on a children’s bicycle!”) and Baltimore pedestrians are *the* worst pedestrians anywhere (“Red hand! That means it’s our turn to cross the street, right?”) I don’t actually hate Baltimore drivers as much as I hate New York City drivers, Philly drivers and New Jersey drivers. Except in the snow. In the snow, I despise Baltimore drivers.

    Here are some things you should know about living in the Hudson Valley, in New York State:

    There is only one city. It is called The City. All other cities aren’t really cities.

    It is perfectly reasonable to go down to The City for a day, even though you are two hours from it by train and two and a half by car. Going to a friend’s house 40 minutes away, however, not so much.

    All fashion is dictated by The City. If you wear your sharp California fashions around here, people will look at you funny, because plainly you were trying to be fashionable but doing it wrong, since you were not wearing what they wear in The City.

    Look at the moo cows. No, seriously, look at the moo cows! The biggest city in the US is 90 minutes away and yet there they are, being moo cows. Wow.

    Random Yiddish and Italian words are normal English. Seriously, I was 20 before I learned that “Capisce?” is not an English word spelled “Kapish?” And you don’t need to be Jewish to talk about heinies and call people schmucks or noodges.

    9, 9A, 9D and 9W are all different roads. They all run roughly parallel to the Hudson but they go different places. Do not mix them up! If you do, you will find yourself driving on a twisty road through a forest of trees with no streetlights in the dead of night with no idea where you are. Whereas if you don’t mix them up,
    you will find yourself driving on a twisty road through a forest of trees with no streetlights in the dead of night and then you’ll see your destination.

    Do not speed through Cold Spring. You will get nailed by the Cold Spring cop. There’s only one, and he’s waiting for you.

    You will wonder what’s up with all the hotels in Fishkill, when there is exactly nothing in Fishkill. The answer is IBM, and leaves. I am serious. Apparently city people come up in the autumn to look at the leaves. IBM’s responsible for there being so many hotels in the first place, but the leaves help keep them in business.

    Streets get narrower the closer to The City you get.

    New Yorkers think their cost of living is higher than everyone else, but that’s because they have no idea how much cheese, milk and beef cost for people who live in states that don’t have moo cows everywhere.

    “Upstate” doesn’t mean here. It means way way out to the north or west where there really are nothing but moo cows. If you say “upstate” and you mean the Hudson Valley, people won’t know what you’re talking about.

    Connecticut is part of New York. Oh, the people in Connecticut claim they are a different state, but New Yorkers just laugh at them. However, New Jerseyans are not New Yorkers no matter how much they claim to be.

    Don’t try to drive to New York City. Seriously, just don’t. That’s what trains are for.

  51. Alex the Odd
    Alex the Odd April 12, 2011 at 1:45 am |

    I don’t comment much but we’re missing one of the greatest cities on earth (mine). From reading the above it seems like New York is our spiritual twin – so many things are the same.

    Five things you should know about living in London

    1) Everyone has a different opinion about what actually counts as London – the hardcore say zone 1 or 2, the softercore say that as long as you can pay for a train ticket on the oyster system it counts, the totally deluded expand the definition to fit wherever they currently live within “Greater London”.

    2) Londoners understand the tube system and do not get why tourists find it confusing. In our minds we were born knowing the tube system. We don’t mind you asking for directions or huddling around a tube map but for the love of all things sweet and tasty don’t do it between 7:30 and 9:30am or you will get trampled. Also: Stand on the right, walk on the left. We hope that’s the same everywhere but there are still little groups of people who insist on taking up the entire escalator and then seem surprised at the filthy looks they get. Exceptions are usually made for people struggling with giant suitcases – anyone giving you a filthy look in that situation is a jerk.

    3) You can get anywhere in the city (or beyond) at 3am provided you can get to Trafalgar Square first. Night bus drivers are really nice, they will tell you which stop you need.

    4) There are several distinct parts of London each with their own fashions and subcultures and stereotypes don’t seem to have moved to catch up with this: East London is not full of cockneys eating eels and selling fruit and veg – it’s seemingly now full of hipsters with expensive haircuts. Which is a shame. People tend to gravitate to being “a North Londoner” or “a South Londoner” if they live on the outskirts, the East and West division is for those living closer in.

    5) The main part of London is “town” (as in “I’m going to town for drinks”). If you hear a Londoner talking about “the City” they are referring to the square mile of the financial district (example: “he works in the City”.) It’s an important distinction to make.

  52. Natalia
    Natalia April 12, 2011 at 2:11 am |

    I’ve got one to add about London, since I try to visit often:

    * – If you’re in the crowded center, and speaking loudly in virtually any language – just go ahead and assume that someone five feet away probably understands you. If you speak Russian, if you speak Arabic, if you speak Chinese… For the love of God, just keep that in mind if you’re about to comment on the fine state of someone’s ass, etc.

  53. La Lubu
    La Lubu April 12, 2011 at 7:33 am |

    I always wondered about that! A friend of mine who moved to Minneapolis from Chicago told me that it’s free to personalize license plates in IL. Is that true? I believe you have to pay extra to do that here in MN.

    Not anymore. It never really was free, just really cheap. Then the price went up, and fewer personalized plates were seen….until the price of license plates in general went up, and people said, “screw it…I gotta pay an arm and a leg anyway; I’m gettin’ a personalized plate.” But the “BA FA GU” really cracked me up (not the least of which….he misspelled it. “VA FA GU”, dammit!)

    You Minnesotans are somethin’ else about your drinking. I swear, it must be a state law to have a certain blood alcohol content at all times. I did learn that Prince always hires IBEW folks, so that’s cool.

    Random Yiddish and Italian words are normal English. Seriously, I was 20 before I learned that “Capisce?” is not an English word spelled “Kapish?” And you don’t need to be Jewish to talk about heinies and call people schmucks or noodges.

    This is true in Illinois, too.

    assume that someone five feet away probably understands you. If you speak Russian, if you speak Arabic, if you speak Chinese… For the love of God, just keep that in mind if you’re about to comment on the fine state of someone’s ass, etc.

    OMG this is so true in Chicago!

  54. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 12, 2011 at 8:10 am |

    Alara Rogers: (“Red hand! That means it’s our turn to cross the street, right?”)

    It means the sign wants a high five. Are you the jerk who’s going to live him hanging, Alara?? Run! Before it disappears!

  55. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub April 12, 2011 at 8:13 am |

    Oh, one more thing about Boston:

    If you go jogging or walking in the Emerald Necklace really early in the morning, don’t coax that shepherd-fox looking dog over. It’s probably a coyote. For realz.

  56. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable April 12, 2011 at 8:13 am |

    Signs are, of course, dudes.

  57. mk
    mk April 12, 2011 at 8:27 am |

    5 more for Boston:

    1. If you have a car (and not a garage or driveway), be prepared to use something ridiculous to save your spot when it snows. If you don’t save the spot, have fun–the rest of your street will be saving spots for roughly a week past the actual snow emergency.

    2. You will never be more than ten minutes away from a liquor store, or a Dunkin’ Donuts. They often come in pairs.

    3. No matter which side of the river you live on, the distance will become insurmountable. Your friends in Cambridge (or JP) won’t make the trip.

    4. Go to Haymarket. Seriously.

    5. Cyclists may seem like they’re making up their own rules (because they are), but remember that they’re also taking their lives in their hands–Boston is notoriously unsafe for bicycles, and the majority of roads have no bike lanes.

    (Also? I second what Sheelzebub said. Although really the only place I wouldn’t want to drive would be downtown around the Common–Cambridge isn’t bad at all.)

  58. Liz E Lemonader
    Liz E Lemonader April 12, 2011 at 10:14 am |

    5 things you should know about living in Dallas:

    1) EVERYTHING is at least 30 minutes away from everything else you want to do. You definitely need a car to get around (or it will take you 2-3 hours/trip on the bus/light rail). It’s not a long drive unless it takes you an hour. (ex. Dallas to Arlington is not a long drive, Dallas to Fort Worth is).

    2. Be prepared for any kind of weather, all the time, even in the summer. My birthday is February 17th and it has been 90 degrees on my birthday, it has also snowed several inches on my birthday. It’s April 1st and every day in March was 80 degrees outside? It could snow. Beautiful clear summer day? Flash flood. Keep an umbrella and a sweater in your aforementioned car.

    3. The first thing people will ask you is where you live, not what you do because they can tell how much money you make by your neighborhood. Keep your answer vague and general if you don’t want to play that game.

    4. We have a pretty decent music scene, but we all complain about how terrible the scene is and how much no one in Dallas cares about music. You can see great music almost any day of the week either on Lower Greenville, Southside at Lamar, Main Street Downtown, or Deep Ellum which is making a big comeback lately.

    5. If you want to do something besides shop or eat you are going to have to make a big effort to find other things to do, because those are the two most readily available entertainment options.

  59. XtinaS
    XtinaS April 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |

    I have a few things for Portland, Oregon.  I note that I moved here 5 years ago from Boston, MA, sooo.

    1) It rains for something like 9 months out of the year.  On the bright side: it’s more like a constant drizzle than a downpour, so you’ll only need a rainjacket; all that water makes the place really green; and despite the rain, our summers are dry heats.

    On the other hand, when we get three whole inches of snow, we freak out.  (Two years ago, we got 13″ of snow, and the city nearly shut down.  Again, moved here from Boston, where that would’ve been gone in an hour or two.)

    We make up for all of this fairly clement weather by living on top of a dormant volcanic field.  Good morning!

    2) There are a whole lot of pedestrians who actually wait for the light before crossing.  Drivers also are very polite, comparatively speaking.  If you’re coming from a city, this can be a bit of a culture shock.

    3) We definitely go by neighborhoods.  A lot of them.  Please note: if you are white and living in a very artsy, low-cost neighborhood that is not yet populated by major chain stores, you’re probably part of ongoing gentrification.

    4) Portland is fairly laid-back.  We don’t have a major league football team, nor a major league baseball team.  This makes sports nights a lot friendlier, as there’s little in the way “home versus you fuckers” sentiment.

    5) Do you like to garden?  Then you want to live here.  Do you like the outdoors?  Ditto.  We’ve got a plethora of parks, hiking opportunities, gardening stores and centers and national competitions, and so forth.  I, a hermit nerd, came out for a visit, and unironically expressed an interest in getting a dog and going hiking.  It’s the air.

    6) Portland’s unofficial motto is “Keep Portland Weird”, which typically means a higher hipster-to-non ratio than most other places.  We’re a lot more conservative than one would expect.  This might be explained by the fact that we’re one of the dollops of blue in the middle of a whole lotta red (hello logging industry!).

    7) While our drivers are fairly polite, you should still take the bus.  First, Trimet (local transit folk) is really awesome — the light rail goes straight to the airport, for heaven’s sake.  Second, we have a lot of bicyclers, which means reducing cars on the road is a really good thing.

    8) Shopping!  Only shop at Whole Foods if (a) you have a gun to your head or (b) you work there and thus have lost the will to live.  You can go to Starbucks, but there are so very many other, better coffee shops around that why would you want to?  We have so far refused to allow a Wal-Mart anywhere nearby.  Thrift stores are queen here.  Powells is the bookstore.

    8a) Beer!  We are serious about our beer.  There are beer fairs and microbrews and beer newsletters and oh, goodness, if you love beer you should move here.  If you like other things, well, we have them…

  60. libdevil
    libdevil April 12, 2011 at 12:12 pm |

    For Durham, NC:

    1) The most prominent religions in this city are college basketball, Protestant Christianity, and NASCAR, in roughly that order.
    2) BBQ is properly served with vinegar based sauce. It may be served differently in other places, but not here.
    3) We can’t drive in the snow – no suprise, it doesn’t snow often enough for anybody to practice. We also can’t drive in the rain – this is puzzling because we do, in fact, get rain.
    4) Facts 1 & 3 combine strangely. NASCAR fans seem to feel that drafting is an acceptable way to drive on public roads. Even in the snow or rain. You will, occasionally, while on an 8 lane interstate, notice a car zooming up on you quite quickly. It will reach you, get right up on your bumper, and stay there. Despite three other lanes of traffic going in the same direction, and no matter which lane you are in, it will stay there. It will stay there until _you_ change lanes, at which point it will zip past you and resume its previous speed. Again, even in the snow or rain.
    5) In addition to the normal seasons of fall, winter, spring and summer, we have two more (not counting basketball season): green season, in which everything – everything – is covered in a thick coating of green pollen, and ladybug season in which, well, yeah. Ladybugs everywhere. Including inside your home or office. Both are kinda gross, neither is really harmful (the green pollen doesn’t seem to trigger most folks’ allergies).

  61. Jadey
    Jadey April 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |

    Ontario: Invest in bug spray.
    Saskatchewan: Invest in thermal underpants.
    Vancouver (yes, I can compare Vancouver to whole provinces): Invest in a UV lamp. Also, learn to embrace social isolation and the fact that some people will always have tiny dogs in the purses and bring them into coffee shops even though that’s not allowed anymore.
    All of Canada (that I’ve lived in): the “bad” part of town is not actually that bad. Yes, even in Vancouver.

  62. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla April 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |

    Philadelphia:

    (1) Alara Rogers is right: Philadelphia drivers are *horrible*.

    (2) Philadelphia cyclists blow through red lights at high speeds, endangering pedestrians trying to cross on the green. Sometimes, cyclists barrel down sidewalks at high speed.

    (3) Philadelphia runners run in the bike lanes – in the wrong direction, no less. Hence they force cyclists either into car traffic or onto sidewalks, making (2) worse.

    (4) Philadelphia soft pretzels really are different from generic “soft pretzels”. The latter (the ones shaped like giant hard pretzels) are mush. The former (long and narrow and attached to each other) are dense, gooey, pasty GOODNESS, and you can’t get them if you’re more than about ten miles outside the city.

    (5) Suburbanites crow about how urbane they are because they go into Center City once a month to see an overpriced concert or ballet performance. Yet, as far as they are concerned, working-class neighborhoods like the ones I live and work in don’t exist.

    (Bonus 1) Philadelphia IS NOT A LIBERAL CITY, people! Politically, we’re middle of the road at best. “Democrat” != “liberal”. People vote Democratic because it’s tradition.

    (Bonus 2) People here speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, West African languages, etc, and have been for a long time. Yet white shopkeepers still occasionally put “English only” signs in the windows and refuse to serve people they perceive as being non-English speakers.

    (Bonus 3) Philadelphia is not a fun city.

    (Bonus 4):

    mk: 1. If you have a car (and not a garage or driveway), be prepared to use something ridiculous to save your spot when it snows. If you don’t save the spot, have fun–the rest of your street will be saving spots for roughly a week past the actual snow emergency.

    Same here. “There’s a pile of snow two blocks away! I still need to put my cones out!” I sometimes wind up parking five blocks away. People have actually *shot* each other over parking spots after a snowstorm.

  63. April
    April April 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm |

    mk: 3. No matter which side of the river you live on, the distance will become insurmountable. Your friends in Cambridge (or JP) won’t make the trip.

    This seems to be true for Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs, too. In my experience, if you live in a suburb, no matter how close to Minneapolis, your Minneapolis friends will all but completely refuse to hang out with you anywhere other than Minneapolis. I live in a suburb now and hate this, yet when I live in Minneapolis, I immediately turn into that very same anti-suburban-visitor.

    Also, there are Minneapolis People and there are St. Paul People. These two camps are in constant competition for which Twin City is the best, and you can rarely get a Minneapolis Person to hang out in St. Paul without much cajoling, and vice versa. Minneapolis thinks St. Paul is boring and weird, and St. Paul thinks Minneapolis is dirty. (Well, being a Minneapolis Person, I am really only speculating about St. Paul People’s thoughts on Mpls. Anyone from St. Paul disagree?)

  64. April
    April April 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |

    I have always wondered if the same thing happens between people from other similarly split “twin” cities, like Dallas/Ft. Worth, for example. Anyone from a city like this have insight on this?

  65. queenrandom
    queenrandom April 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm |

    La Lubu:
    also…..do not go drinking (alcohol) with anyone from Minnesota. Ever. It is so cold there, their drinking season is roughly September-May. Many of them are descended from generations of Vikings whose drinking season was year round (the rest have acculturated).

    YUP. This is especially important to note if you’re ever invited to a barbecue.

  66. queenrandom
    queenrandom April 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |

    April: This seems to be true for Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs, too.In my experience, if you live in a suburb, no matter how close to Minneapolis, your Minneapolis friends will all but completely refuse to hang out with you anywhere other than Minneapolis.I live in a suburb now and hate this, yet when I live in Minneapolis, I immediately turn into that very same anti-suburban-visitor.

    Also, there are Minneapolis People and there are St. Paul People.These two camps are in constant competition for which Twin City is the best, and you can rarely get a Minneapolis Person to hang out in St. Paul without much cajoling, and vice versa.Minneapolis thinks St. Paul is boring and weird, and St. Paul thinks Minneapolis is dirty.(Well, being a Minneapolis Person, I am really only speculating about St. Paul People’s thoughts on Mpls.Anyone from St. Paul disagree?)

    Haha, too true. Except for folks living on either side of the river. I think St. Paul thinks Minneapolis is for getting shot, and also overly concerned with being hip. But if you’re a true Twin Citean, you know there are great things about both cities. You just have to know where to look.

  67. Joji
    Joji April 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm |

    Tuscany:
    1. Intercity rivalry is joking, and not. Everyone hates Florentines, except Florentines. Everyone also hates Pisans, including Pisans. People from Siena are snobs. People from Arezzo drive badly and bring bad luck. The GR on the license plates from Grosseto stands for “gente rozza”, clodhoppers. People from Lucca are money-obsessed Fascists. People from the island of Elba do a lot of drugs because there’s nothing else to do for most of the year. People from Livorno tend to be associated with slightly less vicious stereotypes (funny, earthy, gold chains and chest hair) because they’re the newcomers, having only been around since the 16th century.
    2. Stock up on goats, because people will try to get yours. Much of the local sense of humor/banter is based on discovering what annoys somebody and then pushing that button again and again until they find a good enough, dry enough comeback.
    3. Food warnings: the saltless bread tastes awful, and also has an unpleasant, spongy texture, but don’t bother trying to convince a Tuscan that it’s not one of the region’s culinary strong points. A bistecca alla fiorentina must have both short loin and tenderloin – basically, it’s a Porterhouse – and be Chianina beef. And be at least a kilo. No, you do not eat one by yourself. And certainly not followed by a cappuccino, which is only for breakfast or for an afternoon snack (but that’s true everywhere in Italy; and please, a caffelatte is something you make at home). The dessert that looks like a brownie? It’s made of chestnut flour and rosemary – yes, a dessert – and you’ll probably need to live here for at least a couple of years before you can stomach it.
    4. Try to avoid picking up the habit of aspirating your C’s. It’s contagious, but sounds pretty dumb in conjunction with an Anglophone accent. And never, never ask a Florentine to say “una Coca-Cola con la cannuccia corta” (the equivalent of “park your car in Harvard Yard”) unless you want to be instantly despised.
    5. Early June more or less obliges you to fall in love.

  68. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm |

    libdevil:
    For Durham, NC:

    1) The most prominent religions in this city are college basketball, Protestant Christianity, and NASCAR, in roughly that order.
    2) BBQ is properly served with vinegar based sauce.It may be served differently in other places, but not here.
    3) We can’t drive in the snow – no suprise, it doesn’t snow often enough for anybody to practice.We also can’t drive in the rain – this is puzzling because we do, in fact, get rain.
    4) Facts 1 & 3 combine strangely.NASCAR fans seem to feel that drafting is an acceptable way to drive on public roads.Even in the snow or rain.You will, occasionally, while on an 8 lane interstate, notice a car zooming up on you quite quickly.It will reach you, get right up on your bumper, and stay there.Despite three other lanes of traffic going in the same direction, and no matter which lane you are in, it will stay there.It will stay there until _you_ change lanes, at which point it will zip past you and resume its previous speed.Again, even in the snow or rain.
    5) In addition to the normal seasons of fall, winter, spring and summer, we have two more (not counting basketball season): green season, in which everything – everything – is covered in a thick coating of green pollen, and ladybug season in which, well, yeah.Ladybugs everywhere.Including inside your home or office.Both are kinda gross, neither is really harmful (the green pollen doesn’t seem to trigger most folks’ allergies).

    I would add:

    1) It is segregated. Don’t expect to be able to rent housing in certain neighborhoods.

    2) Interracial couples will be refused service at certain restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and banks.

    3) BBQ is like adobo and delicious.

    4) It is perfectly acceptable to show up at a restaurant covered in blue paint.

    5)

  69. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm |

    Errr….5 was that Duke’s library is the happiest place on earth.

  70. andrea
    andrea April 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    Five things to know about living in the Midland/Pentanguishene, (aka lower cottage country aka Huronia) area, Ontario.

    1) Every year at least one jackass will go through the ice on a snowmobile. Usually in October, or March.

    2) Locals swim in Georgian Bay. Tourists swim in Little Lake Park, then go back to Toronto and die of dysentery. Don’t swim in Little Lake Park.

    3) Balm Beach is always freezing cold. 365 days a year. But it’s still more advisable than Little Lake Park.

    4) In the winter, the town plows the snow into the middle of the road. No one knows why they do this, and no one ever will.

    5) For nightlife, you pretty much have Bleachers or the Legion. It’s a toss-up between Barely-Legals and Barely-Breathing.. if you’re between the age of 25 and 40, we suggest heading to Barrie for nightlife.

  71. andrea
    andrea April 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm |

    Jadey:
    Ontario: Invest in bug spray.

    Oh yes, and this. Always this.

  72. rae
    rae April 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm |

    @April – There is no Dallas/Ft. Worth rivalry, because we do not consider our cities “twins” the way people from Minneapolis/St. Paul do. It takes forever to drive between Dallas and Ft. Worth and rarely is there a reason to do so, so neither city particularly cares about or has an opinion about the other, positive or negative. If you must refer to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area as a single entity our term of choice is “the metroplex” or “DFW” (but don’t get confused – DFW also refers to the international airport). More often people in Dallas have a sense of rivalry with other areas within Dallas.

    Also, WORD to Liz E Lemonader’s #5. There’s surprisingly little to do in Dallas beyond eat and shop (both of which are quality here, of course). I tried to go clubbing last weekend and it was an utter failure, because the clubs here suck. It’s a shame Purgatory got shut down, because it was actually pretty fun… As far as music goes I’d suggest the House of Blues. But really, Austin is the place to be. Dallas is so boringly yuppie.

    The public transit isn’t so bad, really…it will get you most places, except on weekends, it just always takes forever. But getting anywhere in Dallas always takes forever because everything is spread out unnecessarily. It’s definitely a car city, though. The people on the bus are usually the people who can’t afford a car (although some people park their cars at the transit station and take the rail into the city for work).

  73. z
    z April 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm |

    More for Seattle:

    1. Beer. Beer beer beer. Also, beer.

    2. The Ave is really not that skeezy (and it’s The Ave, not “University Way.”)

    3. If you go to Beth’s after the bars close (2am), you’ll be waiting for a long time.

    4. Go to Beth’s anyway.

    5. The original Starbucks is still a Starbucks.

  74. Shoshie
    Shoshie April 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm |

    More for Seattle!

    1. Everyone does outdoorsy stuff. If you don’t kayak, canoe, hike, bike, or snowshoe, you will probably get tired of hearing about everyone else do it. But it’s awesome and you should totally jump on the outdoorsy bandwagon.

    2. We are hard core about recycling and there is citywide composting called “yard waste.” If you don’t separate out your garbage recycling and yard waste, people will probably think that you are a heathen. Also it is expensive not to do so.

    3. Everyone complains about the weather, but it’s really quite mild. You will find constant amusement from this if you’re from a place with real weather. The city will shut down if there MAY be snow later in the day. Everyone will get confused if there is thunder and lightening.

    4. We’re really far north. SAD lights are awesome.

    5. Beers are stronger here than in many other parts of the country. Pay attention to ABV levels or you may find yourself drunker than you’d like.

    6. Don’t jaywalk. You may get a ticket. No, really. I’m serious.

    7. LOTS of people are transplants from other parts of the US or Canada. Which means that if you’re visiting or moving here, lots of people have been in your shoes and will have good advice.

    8. We’re not as closed off as people claim. We’re friendly and polite, which confuses East Coasters and Californians. We may make small talk with you without wanting to be your best friend.

    9. Blackberries are invasive. You should fight against invasive blackberries by picking them. They are delicious.

  75. Jadey
    Jadey April 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm |

    Shoshie: 4. We’re really far north. SAD lights are awesome.

    :) It always makes me giggle when people from the US say something like this. It’s *true*, relatively speaking, compared to southerly US states (and, heck, much of the Northern hemisphere), but it does make me giggle (especially at my current latitude). Maybe it’s just that I have trouble conceiving of the US as anything but southward, even though bits of Canada are actually more southerly than bits of the US. Though I don’t think of those bits as being particularly northerly either. I’ve never been farther south than New York, so I’ve probably got some serious climate shock coming my way if I ever do venture closer to the equator.

    (P.S., andrea, now I am homesick!)

  76. becky
    becky April 13, 2011 at 3:26 am |

    My hints about Berlin (Germany):

    1. Every borough is like a different city. Obviously, Kreuzberg is the best one (did I mention that people get really patriotic about the part of the city they live in and, after about 2 years, refuse to leave it – except for really, *really* good friends and natural disasters?)!!1!

    2. The public transport system might be pretty fucking amazing and punctual to everyone who is not from Berlin, but once you live here, you kind of lose it when the bus is 5 minutes late and/or they use the models of 2007 and not the ones of 2010 that day. Chime in, you’ll make lots of new friends at the bus stop!

    3. The one time people get all nervous about the fact that almost no one has a car is when we all take our bi-annual trip to IKEA. There are three IKEAs in Berlin, and they’re constantly overcrowded. All of Berlin is somehow IKEA obsessed (people even meet there for Friday night shopping and then drinking dates…), if not for the furniture, for the Köttbullar and the hotdogs and free refills (refills normally don’t happen anywhere in Germany).

    4. Gentrification is a big problem here. Berlin used to be famous (and still kinda is) for its low rents (especially compared to other European capitals), but that’s basically over, and people who once lived in the inner city are being pushed out to the fringes because of rapidly rising costs. The most famous example that everyone still refers to is the big Prenzlauer Berg-crisis of the late 1990s: After the wall came down, many people from southern Germany moved here and the once artistic/student/working class people district is now known for ridiculously high rents and armies of baby strollers (pushed by rich people).

    5. Kebab (in German: Döner) was invented here. You want to give it a try in one of the millions of Kebab-places. Berlin has the second biggest population of Turkish people outside of Turkey, so it might be worth learning some Turkish, too! In any case, the city offers an impressive variety of international food and you’ll probably try stuff you never even know existed.

    6. I have to have a 6, sorry ;): Don’t ever, ever, ever come to Berlin in winter. You will hate the city for the rest of your life. I have lived here for 8 years, and every winter has put me into an existential crisis and almost made me leave Berlin (ice, more ice, then more ice on top of the ice, cold wind, drizzle, people from Finland asking me why the hell it’s so freaking cold here, and then more snow and ice destroying any social life…). Fortunately, spring comes (often only starting in May…) and summer reminds you why you love this loud, rather dirty, rather unpretty and much too big city so freaking much.

  77. April
    April April 13, 2011 at 4:13 am |

    rae: @April – There is no Dallas/Ft. Worth rivalry, because we do not consider our cities “twins” the way people from Minneapolis/St. Paul do. It takes forever to drive between Dallas and Ft. Worth and rarely is there a reason to do so, so neither city particularly cares about or has an opinion about the other, positive or negative.

    Interesting… and that makes perfect sense.

    I love this thread. It’s making me want to go on a thousand road trips.

  78. April
    April April 13, 2011 at 4:18 am |

    queenrandom: I think St. Paul thinks Minneapolis is for getting shot, and also overly concerned with being hip. But if you’re a true Twin Citean, you know there are great things about both cities. You just have to know where to look.

    Hahaha.

    Your last point is very true. I grew up in Minneapolis, but went to college for a year in St Paul in the Mansion District (CVA). That and Grand Avenue were great. Unfortunately, I lived in Midway, which was just… yuck. That probably informed a lot of my opinion on St Paul.

  79. Mimi
    Mimi April 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm |

    Charlottesville, VA

    1) We are the home of the University of Virginia. The University is enormous and permeates through every feature of life here. Good luck trying to rent an apartment in a non-summer month, it does not happen. Be aware of sports schedules, even if you don’t care, because it fucks up the traffic something awful. Locals frequently refer to “The Students” and get pissed off when they come back every year, even though we know that it’s the largest employer in town.

    2) People here drive like idiots. Nice idiots, the kind who will come to a complete stop in the middle of a multi-lane road to let you out of a driveway/parking lot. It’s best to just go when they do this, because they *will* wait for you.

    3) Go to Fridays After Five, even if you’re not interested in the band. You’ll see everyone in town at some point or other, and watching the kids dance and hula-hoop is always entertaining even if you don’t like the music.

    4) Go to Monticello at least once. Jefferson’s inventions are crazy and cool and seeing them in person is awesome. If you can find someone who works there who’ll let you upstairs (Jefferson thought stairs were a waste of space, so the staircases are too steep and too small to let tourist groups up) it’s totally worth it – so bizarre!

    5) The Students hang out on The Corner, adults hang out on The Mall, there are good and bad things about both of these places, but remember that if you go to Miller’s Downtown (where Dave Matthews used to work) they utterly refuse to play his music at any time and get pissed off if you ask. It is, however, a good place to play pool and get cheap drinks.

    I much agree with all of the DC, San Francisco, Seattle, and Baltimore ones. Yes, I have lived many places, but the ‘ville is home and I know it best. :)

  80. AK
    AK April 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm |

    5 things about Chamisal, NM (we don’t even have a post office and I’ve yet to see us on a map…there are other Chamisals, but ours is seriously tiny). I think this could apply to other rural New Mexican communities that I have spent time in.

    1. Learn Spanish, or at least learn a bit of it. If you can show you’re at least trying, you’ll be accepted. If you only speak English, people will not respect you. You can get away with it if you speak Navajo or Hopi fluently, but even then you really should learn Spanish (unless you are totally Native American and grew up on the Rez). At the very least, learn enough to know when people are insulting you and a few witty retorts.

    2. If you didn’t grow up here, don’t come in telliing us how to farm or raise livestock. Even if you’re right, it’s rude. Many residents of Chamisal are not the best informed, but we’ve also been farming this land for generations. If you have better methods, we’ll notice and ask about them. (this is actually a huge problem as the area has become a bit of a mecca for urban folks who want to move out to the country and play farmer, so it’s espeically important as a lot of those folks are essentially run out if they’re not polite).

    3. There are very real racial and cultural lines that you do not cross unless you are invited. For example, we have Spanish land grant families, old Mexican/Hispanic farmers, Native Americans who never quite made it to the Rez or who fudged the borders a bit, old Anglo hippies who moved out in the ’60s, etc. Despite diverse cultures and different social mores, we get along pretty well as long as the unspoken rules are followed. As a newcomer, you should never assume that you are cool with any group unless it is made clear, especially if you are an Anglo. There is a lot of racial tension in the area. It is also a majority Hispanic and Native population, and both are used to Anglo oppression so if you are white you will need to prove yourself. Also, just because the hippies are nice to you does not mean they will sell you pot and it is really rude to ask. Religion is also an important cultural thing–about 90% of our population is active in a religion, mostly Catholic, Protestant, or a Native faith, with a few Jews and Muslims thrown in. We also tend to take it more seriously than many progressives are used to. Don’t appropriate religions or religious symbols (this is especially true of Native faiths–if you’re white, don’t even try to practice them unless you’re specifically invited–and Catholic symbols–unless you’re a confirmed Catholic don’t display crucifixes or iconography, though genuine Marian imagery from a non-Catholic Christian will generally be accepted since many of them seem shocked that Protestants don’t revere Mary like they should).

    4. Always honk when you pull up to a property if you don’t see anyone, then wait a few minutes to get out of your vehicle. It’s pretty rude to just knock on the door with no warning. Also, if you show up and they’re working on something, at least offer to help.

    5. You will be gossiped about. Seriously. We will tell all kinds of lies and exaggerations about you. We do it to each other, too. In a small town there’s not much else. Along with that, we will know everything you do, and we will talk about it. It’s amazing how supposed secrets get out. However, Chamisal residents are lucky because while there might be a lot of gossip, it is a very permissive community. It’s not that there’s no judgment, it’s that if you own your lifestyle they will generally respect you and accept you for it. However, if you are a woman it will be harder on you. Many of the communities are very patriarchal. That’s not just among the Hispanic communities, some of the old hippie communes are home to some of the most sexist assholes in the community. The key is confidence and self-acceptence. If you accept yourself as you are, they will accept you. It is not for the faint-hearted.

    If you follow those rules you’ll be okay. Just be aware you’re moving into an established community that has a very different culture from much of mainstream US America, and since we are a very small (and very gossipy) community you will have to prove yourself. Once you have, though, you will be a part of an amazing community and will pretty much have free reign to be as eccentric as you want to be as long as you’re not hurting anyone else.

  81. Andrea
    Andrea April 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm |

    Jadey

    (P.S., andrea, now I am homesick!)

    Cottage country or just ontario in general?

  82. Colleen
    Colleen April 13, 2011 at 10:52 pm |

    I just have to say, I thought the NYC list was pretty obnoxious. A LOT of people care about the sports teams, they just tend to be the middle-income folks living in the outer boroughs (and a lot of them own cars,too.) Not everyone gets everything delivered because that is really expensive. Same thing for never hanging out at home. And I would say most people don’t have their parents stay with them when they visit, not because it’s not cool, but because their parents were born in the city or in another country (and can’t afford the ticket.)

    Come on now, I’m a privileged transplant too, but I’ve managed to get to know at least SOME people other than an immediate circle of also-privileged, also-transplanted friends. I guess you could argue that the list was tailored to the person asking the question, but it was still annoying. And I guess I hold feministe to a higher standard than whatever street boners is… the lists in the comments, which seem a lot more balanced, reaffirm my faith.

  83. Colleen
    Colleen April 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm |

    Aaand apologies for the double posting, I don’t comment on blogs much so this is what I get.

  84. stonebiscuit
    stonebiscuit April 13, 2011 at 11:47 pm |

    Atlanta:

    1) The Varsity is not the be-all-end-all of this city’s culinary delights, despite what ESPN would have you believe. It’s just fast food. Don’t waste your time. Visit any of our huge number of delicious, unique restaurants instead.

    2) We love to talk about traffic and give directions. Many of us spend a lot of time in our cars, and have strong feelings on these subjects. If you ask for directions, you’ll probably get a lengthy treatise on traffic patterns, old landmarks (see point five), and the three or four best ways to get to your destination. If you ask two of us, we may get in a fight.

    3) Don’t ask me to drive you to the airport. If you’re going to the airport, there is NO better way to do so than MARTA. None. It goes straight there, dumps you out right next to baggage claim, which is right next to security, and costs about $1.50. I’ll drop you at a station.

    4) POLLEN. The pollen isn’t that bad–it’s worse. I don’t care where you lived before, our pollen count is probably higher on any given day. It will make everything yellow: your porch, your car, your dog, your hair if you stand still for long enough. Make sure you have washer fluid and stock up on Allegra.

    5) We tear old things down. This tradition dates back to 1864 and doesn’t look to change soon. With a few exceptions, our architectural history stops there, and is likely to stop much more recently. For this reason, expect landmarks to change without notice.

  85. Jadey
    Jadey April 14, 2011 at 12:24 am |

    Andrea: Cottage country or just ontario in general?

    The Bruce in particular. Ceders, lichen, rock beaches, and frigid Georgian Bay water. Aaaaaaand black flies!

  86. Nyx
    Nyx April 14, 2011 at 1:10 am |

    The north suburbs of Chicago:

    1) You will need a car. There’s some public transport, but it’s not very useful; driving is the most painless way to get around if you’re outside the city.

    2) There’s probably not a ton to do besides shop and eat unless you want to go downtown. Chicago’s great food scene does extend out to its suburbs though.

    3) Complaining about the weather is our pastime. Winters are bitterly cold and windy, summers are suffocatingly hot. Spring and fall aren’t bad, but they’re inconsistent– it could be 70 one day and 30 the next. Also, we are not afraid of snow.

    4) The north suburbs contain a LOT of wealthy areas. If you’re not rich you can still do fine, but you’ll definitely feel poor by comparison at times. However, the wealthy areas do have the side effect of meaning that we take our education and school funding pretty seriously.

    5) Even though it probably annoys the hell out of actual Chicagoans, most of us identify ourselves to outsiders as being “from Chicago” even though odds are we live an hour or so away. We only use our actual suburb when talking to people from the area.

  87. Natalia
    Natalia April 14, 2011 at 1:22 am |

    2) Interracial couples will be refused service at certain restaurants, bars, shopping centers, and banks.

    That is scary shit right there. Where in Durham did this happen to you? I lived in Durham for 5 years, 4 of those with a conspicuous A-rab, and we didn’t run into that, thankfully (cops harassing him for his student ID late in the evening did happen a few times). Or was it a case of people “not minding” Arabs more…?

    5 was that Duke’s library is the happiest place on earth.

    Way too many nights of unhappiness in the library. And I never did catch anyone having sex in the stacks. *sigh*

  88. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 14, 2011 at 1:48 am |

    Natalia: That is scary shit right there. Where in Durham did this happen to you? I lived in Durham for 5 years, 4 of those with a conspicuous A-rab, and we didn’t run into that, thankfully (cops harassing him for his student ID late in the evening did happen a few times). Or was it a case of people “not minding” Arabs more…?

    5 was that Duke’s library is the happiest place on earth.

    Way too many nights of unhappiness in the library. And I never did catch anyone having sex in the stacks. *sigh*

    Random restaurants and bars. Once the Shoneys oddly enough. And Bank of America. And god that awful shopping mall where some horrid sales woman shooed me out of a lingerie department calling me a slut for living with my [insert slur for hispanic person] boyfriend. Durham was not kind to us although the campus and near the campus are entirely different from the rest of Durham.

    I was a grad student at Duke and lucky enough to have one of those little hole in the wall offices with a window. I never caught anyone in that library but the “study rooms” at the law school were somewhat notorious. I wonder if other schools have such interesting library usages.

  89. Simim
    Simim April 14, 2011 at 2:12 am |

    5 Things You Should Know About Living in Houston, Texas:

    1. THE WEATHER/CLIMATE IS CRAZY: We, as native Houstonians, will constantly complain about how it’s too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry, too windy, too calm, too sunny, too rainy, and so on.

    You are not allowed to complain about your native weather. We, for some reason or another, think we have the craziest weather ever, even though we freak when it drops below 40F or rises above 100F. We hardly see snow. It can be 40F in May and 110F in November. It can, and has, snowed days after it being in the 80s. I’ve walked inside a store when it was 89F and emerged an hour later to it being 60F.

    We will voraciously say “we can’t wait for summer” then immediately wish for winter again. Expect flooding, hurricanes, and the occasional tornado. Additionally, all insects are huge. We have cockroaches the size of your middle finger, grasshoppers bigger than that, and mosquitoes that could probably suck your Pomeranian dry.

    2. WE AREN’T ALL COWBOYS(but secretly we are): and it will do you well to remember that. Despite holding the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock rodeo every year, most native Houstonians will readily point you to San Antonio, Austin, or Dallas if you’re looking for a buck’em bronco and some ass-less chaps.

    We will fight to the death should you crack country-bumpkin jokes at us: Houston’s the 4th largest city in the U.S. and we take pride in our urban culture. Nonetheless, “y’all” is native vocabulary.

    But, please, don’t use “howdy.” We’re Gulf Coast, not hicks.

    We have an active scene here for almost any genre. Although we tend to get hopped over by a few bands, many notable bands outside of the country genre have played in an array of our venues. We’re a hodge-podge of cultures and cracking cattle-corralling jokes towards certain Houstonians may get you a punch in the face before a laugh, so be wary.

    3. YOU WILL GET LOST Houston has a third of the population of NYC, but 3 times the area. We also lack a formal avenue system. We also lack a definitive directional(north-south or east-west) street grid, as our original city was built around Buffalo Bayou and continued outward over time. As such, many “straight” streets will veer to the left and then right, eastward and westward.

    We have over 500 miles of freeway alone. We don’t have very many solid sidewalks. 75% of our population uses a car as their primary means of transport. Note that the “Houston area” aside from our downtown, includes a metropolitan area encompassing ten counties. Depending on where you live, it could be a 2-mile walk just to go to McDonalds. It’s downright dangerous to walk in some areas around here for fear of being ran over. Having a car, or someone to drive you places, is a must, unless you live within the Metro-applicable area.

    If you live outside of downtown and work in the downtown area(which a large percentage of Houstonians do, due to high pricing for residential areas closer to work) expect an hour’s commute at least.

    Heck, expect an hour’s commute to anywhere in the Houston area, if not more. On a good rush-hour time, expect to wait at least 45 minutes in traffic traveling down 59. In fact, don’t drive down ’59 between the hours of 5-8pm M-F unless you have to. Ever.

    Houston, despite our technological progress, is still a conservative asshat, and don’t think anything will be open downtown on a Sunday.

    Beltway 8 is simply “the beltway” and we’ll look at you like you’re crazy if you say “Highway 8.” Loop 610 is “610″ or just “the loop.” There is no other loop that matters in Houston except the beltway. The roads on the sides of the freeway or beltway are called “feeders.” Highway 45 is “45,” same with highway 59. Other than that, I-10 and occasionally 225 and 1960 will be relevant.

    It took me 10 years to traverse the simple stuff and there are still parts of my own city I get easily lost in. My dad’s been here for 30 years and he still gets lost. Don’t sweat it. Asking for directions is usually bunk, though: half of us speak another language, half of us use Whataburgers as landmarks, and half of us won’t approach your car. Use a GPS or map it out beforehand, and always have return directions ready.

    4. EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS: Especially in Houston. We have bigger people, bigger portions, bigger venues, bigger malls, bigger skyscrapers, bigger cars, bigger clubs, more highway, more space, etc.

    But even if we don’t, our egos will more than make up for that. The only people who don’t brag about how awesome Houston is are people from out of town(not to be confused with tourists, who brag incessantly), angsty teenagers, and people who want to move out of Houston but can’t because Houston’s economy has remained relatively stable while the rest of the U.S. has been dying.

    Just don’t get into a winky-waving war with “my city is better than your city.” We’ll win, solely because if we have to, we’ll pull 10 of our homies out and make you surrender.

    Even though our teams suck, we’re die-hard fans of the Aeros, Rockets, Texans(formerly Oilers), and Astros.

    Along the same train of thought, you can find virtually anything in Houston, if you’re looking for it.

    5. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE: Houston is awesome, but occasionally you’ll want to venture out somewhere else to get away for a while. Which is exactly why we’re awesome: we’re no more than 2-4 hours away from any number of climates: 1 hour south takes you to Galveston island and the Gulf of Mexico, 3-4 hours north takes you to Dallas and hill country, 3-4 hours west will bring you to San Antonio and the desert beyond, and 2-3 east will lead you into Louisiana.

    Mexico’s a 5-6 hour drive, New Orleans the same amount. You can conceivably cross the border and come back in a weekend trip, or go to a casino(gambling, sadly, is illegal in Texas) overnight and come back in the morning.

    All in all, Houston’s friggin huge. Everytime you think you’ve made one stereotype up, some large group will come along and break it for you. I’ve run into groups of anime cosplayers breakdancing to metalheads doing spoken word during gay pride parades. I’ve heard rappers debating politics against hippies in the middle of nightclubs. I’ve seen catholic schoolgirls snorting lines and homeless men placing citizen’s arrest.

    We’re not so much a “culture” as we are just an amalgamation of everything that’s been thrown at us.

  90. Simim
    Simim April 14, 2011 at 2:13 am |

    ^In short, we’re the Southern NYC.

  91. Natalia
    Natalia April 14, 2011 at 5:17 am |

    Durham was not kind to us although the campus and near the campus are entirely different from the rest of Durham.

    As an undergrad, I liked campus and I liked Durham. Though I don’t think I could have stayed for long, as some people do, when graduation came around – I just wound up working for Duke for a year and then splitting for Dubai as soon as the opportunity came up to split for Dubai. Where you at Duke Law?

    And not to get too off-topic, here are my 5 things about Durham:

    1) The restaurants in this town really *are* freaking great. And people can act like stuck-up foodies sometimes, which is the downside.

    2) Lying around the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at the first signs of spring is wonderful – just take care not to fall into the pond.

    3) If you live near East Campus, the possibility of someone puking on your lawn increases exponentially, especially on the weekends. The nice architecture, on the other hand, is a huge plus.

    4) Snow in the winter can, and usually does, result in much fear – though not necessarily loathing. Most people in Durham cannot drive in wintry weather, so stay off the highways if you can. Classes will get canceled in schools and universities. Life will get interesting.

    5) Do NOT confuse Duke Blue with Carolina Blue. Like, ever.

  92. Nikki
    Nikki April 14, 2011 at 9:16 am |

    Five things you should know about livin’ in The Netherlands.

    1# Homeless people in A’dam sleep on the street/station.
    2# You may drive at the age of 18.
    3# Dutch people aren’t very friendly.
    4# You have a compulsory till 18/20.
    5# Are known for their stew with sausage

  93. Tawny
    Tawny April 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm |

    My Houston 5 Goes a Little More Like This:

    1. Do not stop or brake for a yellow light. You WILL get rear-ended and everyone will hate you for keeping 3 more people from getting through the light.
    2. Tailgate all you want, no one is looking in their rearview.
    3. You will suffer breathing problems unless you are some kind of superhuman. Find a good pharmacy and get some allergy meds/an inhaler.
    4. Yes, everything floods during the rain. No, we can’t do anything about it. Navigate the puddles.
    5. If you move out of the Loop, no one will ever remember you exist anymore without frequent reminders.

  94. Mounia A.
    Mounia A. April 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm |

    @ Kristen J : Butler library stacks, at Columbia, are also an interesting place. It’s probably telling I’ve encountered that even though I’m still a prospie.

  95. Debra Beight
    Debra Beight April 14, 2011 at 9:44 pm |

    Five things you need to know about Columbus, Ohio

    1. Ohio State Buckeye football is not a sport, it is a cult-like religion with thousands of crazed disciples.

    2. No matter where in the world a significant event has occurred, NBC 4 news will find ANY kind of “Ohio connection” and report on it endlessly. I am amazed that even in the state’s capital, the news needs mindless filler.

    3. You will meet people that know all the words to a local radio station’s comedy song, “Jim Tressel’s Got a Head Like a Ken Doll”, and this is normal.

    4. Having lived in Cleveland for a number of years and understanding what a “snow storm” really is, I have no pity for Columbus residents that lose their shit when a light dusting of snow is on the road. School has been canceled over 1 inch of snow.

    5. Amazingly, the people of Columbus are incredibly friendly and helpful. They start conversations with strangers at the grocery store, compliment people they see at the mall and are very considerate drivers….unless it’s snowing or a football game day :-)

  96. Yonmei
    Yonmei April 16, 2011 at 5:08 am |

    Five things you should know about living in Scotland:

    1. “What team are you?” is a very important question. (You may possibly not be asked it if you have a foreign, ie, not-Scottish, accent: and women always have the option of saying “I’m just not into football”, but men generally don’t.) This is about football – real football, not the rugby-with-safety-equipment that Americans call football. Each city or town in Scotland has at least two teams, one Protestant, one Catholic, and sometimes a third “non-sectarian” team. These teams are never identified by religion on any of their official literature or websites or promotional material, but nevertheless, everyone knows which they are. Incoming sectarianism borrows freely from this: in Glasgow, Muslims support Rangers, Hindus support Celtic. Avoid wearing any team identifiers on match days (football or rugby), and stay away from groups that are wearing those identifiers, and you’ll generally find Scots very friendly and helpful to tourists or visitors. (If you stay long enough, you become an incomer.)

    2. If you plan to travel in the Highlands any time between April and September, take midge-repellant cream with you and use it, or get eaten alive.

    3. It rains a lot, all year round. We do have nice days – I’m writing this on one of them – but rain is what we expect to get. The beautiful days when it’s sunshine and clear skies can come any time of year, and we appreciate them all the more when we do.

    4. We are multicultural in that we’ll accept any kind of food from anywhere in the world so long as you can cook it in a deep-fat fryer and serve it with chips. This happens even with foods not normally intended to be deep-fried, such as pizza. The deep-fried Mars bar, however, started out as a joke, and only started getting advertised by chip shops in Glasgow and elsewhere because of the number of tourists who were asking for one quite seriously. Pakora supper, though, is just what you want at the end of a long night’s pub-crawling. (A “supper” is any item bought at a chip shop when chips are added to it. You could have a Mars bar supper, if you didn’t mind everyone looking at you funny.)

    I’ve been trying to think of a (5) and most of them are gnomic or just obvious, like yes, there are lots of hills, lots of hills: and Scotland is bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, and we don’t vote Tory and we don’t like the English (though this mainly applies to football these days, see (1)) and we get taught the country dances at school, and really, no matter what your surname is or where your grandparents came from or that you’ve always identified yourself as Scottish in the US, don’t think that anyone will think of you anything but another American tourist in Scotland. Whisky is cheaper and sold in larger measures in Scottish pubs than in English pubs, if you care to know.

  97. Carrie
    Carrie April 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm |

    Five things you should know about living in Southern Delaware and/or visiting one of our many fine beaches:

    1) We love that you love our beaches and quaint, charming towns, so we forgive you tourists when you turn a 15 minute drive into an hour long road-rage event from May to September and November to January. Locals know tourists movements are like clock work, so we plan our trips and errands accordingly. When you ask why we don’t go the beach and boardwalk everyday, we just shake our heads.

    2) Locals won’t tell you where the local beaches are because we don’t want you to clog them up or the town officials to raise parking prices or install meters. We don’t pay for parking in the off-season.

    3) The weather is interesting and unpredictable– its a peninsula, people. When you plan to come here, don’t bother to check the forecast. The forecast can change 100 times in a week and 15 in a day. When we locals want to know the weather, we go outside. What can predict is it will probably be windy. Very windy. You won’t see any plastic lawn furniture here because it blows away too easily. Hurricane force gusts are something that we just live with during the spring, winter, and fall. In the summer, its not so windy– just hot– unless there’s a storm, and then its wet and windy and sometimes the ocean comes on the boardwalks and sometimes on highway. We are not surprised and we are sorry this ruined your vacation. This costs us millions of dollars. We understand when you say spent thousands of dollars to come here and it rained the whole time.

    4) It may seem like a great place to live, but if you are used to a fast-paced life style, don’t move here. We are slow. It’s like living 30 or so years ago, except we have the internet and health care for almost all (if you don’t have health care, we have an app for that). We are slow because we are all about farms and chickens. Its our industry. You have to be okay with stopping suddenly, getting out of your car and shooing chickens outta the road. Or a rogue cow. It happens, but since we aren’t in a rush, that’s okay.

    5) If you veer off the beaten path and away from the beaches, good luck to you. DelDOT spent all the money for road signs in touristy places. Otherwise, there are just ‘welcome’ signs for neighborhoods and major street/town signs everywhere else. You will rarely see a speed limit sign. It’s easy though– if you are in a town, its 25 MPH (35 MPH if you on a highway in said town). If you are entering or leaving a town, its 35 MPH. If you are around homes and buildings, its 45 MPH. If its nothing but cows and corn fields or open highway, its 55 MPH. See, no need for signs. Also, YES you will get a ticket in the summer. No warnings. All bets are off.

  98. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm |

    @Natalia,

    Yup, I did both my law and post-grad econ work at Duke.

  99. Beth
    Beth April 16, 2011 at 3:17 pm |

    as a “yankee” living in Orlando, Fl

    1) This is acutually “the south” no matter what people tell you. Unless you are on Disney property you are in the American South with all that entails (religion, guns, people who are against women, gays, birth control, single women, minorities, immigrants, poor people, rich people, etc. But there is awesome bbq food.)

    2) You can buy beer and guns at any Walmart, just about 24/7. People do this. Some gun racks REALLY do have gun racks. You WILL be the only person you know without a collection of fire arms, knives and other assorted killing machinery.

    3) They deep-fry turkeys for Thanksgiving. This is a HUGE cultural thing – men sit and compare ways to season and marinate the turkey before frying for weeks in advance. This event usually takes place in their driveway, or garage. Forget explaining that your family, in the cold, snowy north bakes a turkey. This is considered a “waste” of a good piece of meat.

    4) The traffic sucks. No, not like it “sucks” in NY or Philly, I mean rush hour can randomly occur on I4 at ANY hour of day or night. I’ve been in rush hour style traffic jams at 4am. There is no real public transportation, and nothing is close to anything else, everyone drives everywhere. (good thing, because Orlando has one of the highest pedestrian death rates in the US). Also, expect random college students, in sooped up mustangs to weave in and out of traffic at 70mph on their cell phones. It happens so often no one but a tourist is surprised.

    5) and for my pet peeve: Disney is not “in” Orlando. Just because you’ve been to Disney, and their resorts does not mean you’ve actually been to the city of Orlando, you’ve seen a very nice, sanitized area owned and operated by the Disney corporation. They literally own whole towns south of Orlando. That’s why everyone was so nice and accomidating. It drives me CRAZY when people take a side trip to Downtown Orlando, and expect everywhere to BE disney – local merchants don’t have the rescources or money or staff to grant your every wish instantly, any more than locals do in any city. Disney’s great, but once you leave their property, you’re in a regular city with regular people, not a magic fairy land. You can get mugged. You can get parking tickets. No one else is watching your child. It’s like any other city :p

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