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I Moved From Southern California to Seattle, and Here’s How I Feel About It

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

“Where are you from?”

“California!”

“Oh, Bay Area?”

“Southern California actually…”

“Ok, so LA?”

“No…I’m right by Disneyland!”

“Cool! What city?”

“Orange!”

(Look of confusion)

“Orange, it’s a city in Orange County?”

I wouldn’t necessarily say I dread telling people where I’m from, but I’ve had enough poor reactions to my hometown that the conversation does make me wary. It seems many people from my home state who have moved to Washington tend to come from Northern California (NorCal): the Bay Area to Seattle pipeline is extremely common with San Francisco and Seattle being “cousin” cities with their plethora of similarities. The Southern California (SoCal) to Seattle pipeline is a little (a lot) less common.

As a native of Southern California, my move from Orange to Seattle in the fall of 2023 was both easy and difficult in unexpected ways. People hear SoCal and they think beaches, sun, rich old people, and that the move to Seattle must be devastating because you lose months of vitamin D and tanning. Seattle weather supposedly sucks in comparison to the near-constant 70 degrees in SoCal, not to mention rain dumps down on you for half the year. However, here is where my unexpected opinion comes in:

Seattle weather is not that bad.

Yes, losing the sun for a good portion of the year was not easy. But the constant rain that people always talk about in conjunction with Seattle isn’t really rain, it’s just a drizzle. Sometimes not even enough to need a raincoat. I was fully expecting to be trudging around campus in rain boots and my rain jacket 24/7, but that reality was (thankfully) something I never faced. Yes, there were days here and there where the rain killed my mood and I found myself cuddled up with zero desire to work, but those days were few in comparison to the cloudy-with-no-rain days. When we talk about Seattle, we need to change the narrative from “it rains so much” to “it’s so cloudy,” because never-ending rain is simply not what Seattle has. Cloud cover for two thirds of the year? That’s more like it.

I am by no means saying I enjoyed all those clouds. What those clouds did give me, though, was a greater appreciation for the sun when it does come out because now I know how it feels to go without the sun for months. I hate hot weather, which is partially why I came to Seattle, and when the weather does get nice in the “rainy city,” it barely reaches 75 degrees, making it perfect weather (in my opinion). And to address Seattle’s beaches in comparison to SoCal’s beaches–I miss Cali beaches every single moment of every single day.

Aside from the weather, a major change in my transition from Orange County to Seattle was the immense difference in public transportation. Living in Seattle has made me realize how awful Orange County’s public transportation is. There are buses from point A to point B, but OC is not walkable. At all. It takes me a solid twenty minutes to drive to my best friend’s house, even longer to get to the beach. Walking isn’t really an option. In Seattle, realistically, you can walk to most places, and if you can’t, there’s the Link train or a bus to get you there. Though the timing isn’t always reliable, there are many options for getting around in Seattle. It did take me some time to figure out the bus routes and Link stations, but once I did, I was cruising around the city. Going from poor public transportation to great public transportation was an easy (and very necessary) transition.

One part of my transition to Seattle that I didn’t see coming: the Seattle Freeze. It’s real. If you don’t know what the Seattle Freeze is, I will take the pleasure of explaining it to you! The Seattle Freeze is a phenomenon where someone just stops talking to you. Say you talk about making plans with someone, and they simply never happen, that’s the Seattle Freeze. Now I’ve yet to determine if this location specific ghosting is just something that the city does to people, or if it’s something about Seattleites themselves. It’s a mystery. But it’s definitely something I’ve experienced since living here. All of a sudden people just disappear from the face of the Earth. Not actually, I just don’t see them anymore and we don’t talk. Sometimes it’s a mutual thing, sometimes it’s one-sided. The Seattle Freeze definitely claimed me as a victim this year.

Now one of my favorite things to talk about: food! One food I had to tragically give up coming to Seattle is authentic Mexican food. I hate to break it to you, but Agua Verde Cafe is not good Mexican food. Sure, it tastes good and can temporarily satiate your cravings, but it is nothing is comparison to SoCal Mexican food. I’ve yet to find a good old hole-in-the-wall spot that lives up to the excess Mexican food I’ve had from SoCal. Though Seattle makes up for it’s lack of Mexican food with a wide variety of Asian cuisines, no yummy ramen can make up for the hole left in my heart without Mexican food. With that said, Seattle does have an amazing variety of different foods to try. I’ve immensely diversified my palette in Seattle with all of the food options in places like the Ave and Downtown Seattle. I’ve been loving Aladdin’s, Jai Thai, and Samurai Noodle, and there’s always a new coffee to be tried, but my favorite is the Ugly Mug Cafe. The transition variety-wise was a little bumpy, but Seattle’s food is undoubtedly good quality and tastes great.

Last but not least, the political change from Orange County to Seattle was, frankly, like diving headfirst into the deep end of an Olympic swimming pool. OC and Seattle are polar opposites politically, so transitioning from being surrounded by people who believed one thing to being surrounded by people who believe the opposite definitely required a learning curve. To put it simply, I feel I’ve become significantly more educated on both sides politically since coming to Seattle and I’ve been able to form my own beliefs outside of how I was raised.

My move from SoCal to Seattle was a journey, and I’ve learned so much. After only a year, I’m tempted to say I prefer Seattle to my hometown. It feels like there’s always something to do in Seattle and as an extrovert who loves to keep busy 24/7, I live for it. If you need me to define how I feel about moving from SoCal to Seattle in one sentence, here it is: Seattle is nothing like how Grey’s Anatomy pictures it.

Happy almost-summer, Huskies!

Abby Heinicke

Washington '27

Abby Heinicke is a freshman writer at the Her Campus at University of Washington chapter. She enjoys writing about fashion, thrifting, food, and sustainability. Outside of Her Campus, Abby is working as an Intramural Referee for the University of Washington. She also was the Editor-in-Chief for the online publication The OLu Muse. While writing for the Muse, she wrote about many topics, some of which included the environment, conservation, and high school stress. Abby also worked for Panera Bread as an associate. She is currently a freshman at the University of Washington majoring in Journalism and Public Interest. In her free time, Abby enjoys playing basketball, thrifting, trying out new coffee shops, and going to the beach when she is home in Orange, California. She loves rewatching 10 Things I Hate About You, and binging TV shows, Sex in the City as of late. She also has five cats at home - Peggy, Pepper, Natasha, Thor, and Bucky - all named after Marvel characters!