Clearing up California & Kentucky misconceptions

I just moved to California having lived in Kentucky all my life. I can’t say I am now an official expert on California, but I wanted to let you in on some things you may or may not know about this state. I can’t say this is going to be a long post, but there are a lot of things I am discovering living here and it is a nice change. I’d also like to address a few things Kentucky while I’m at it. I have been talking to a few coworkers about the differences and we’ve been having some great discussions. Anyway, here goes…

Things about California I’ve discovered

– California isn’t just about “Your going to Hollywood, dude!” it’s a lot more than showbiz related stuff. It’s about agriculture! I live in the Central/San Joaquin Valley. This central part of the state as well as a lot of other parts is totally dedicated to raising the produce that is in our grocery stores. So, the next time you go into a market and pick up a head of lettuce or can of green beans, it’s very likely it was grown and processed in California.

– The traffic isn’t that bad here. I think a lot of people have the misconception that California driving is awful. I haven’t noticed much of a difference. I even drove through L.A. last week. Yeah, there were more lanes, but it didn’t feel any different than driving in Louisville. There are considerate drivers here too that let you in. While I’m sure there are some that cut you off, there are those back in Kentucky too.

– California is a huge melting pot. I notice a lot of times that I’m in the minority. It doesn’t bother me, but I observe that there are a LOT more ethnic groups than in KY. In KY, there are mainly just whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, but here you have a wide range of people from different backgrounds. It’s actually refreshing to live in a place with diverse cultures. I’m glad I’m getting the chance to have a broadened perspective.

– Not everyone in California is thin and healthy. I thought moving here I would feel out of place size-wise, but there are a lot of people in different sizes. You do see a lot of people who are healthy and take very good care of themselves and their image, but you also see a lot of people who don’t. While in the grocery store, I observed a lot of people that looked like they were from my hometown. People are people, no matter where you go and they come in all shapes and sizes. In California, the weather is just better and you have much more opportunity to stay in shape (exercise outside) year round and eat fresher foods. I think that’s the advantage that the California people have.

– This one has to do with both Kentucky and California. I often am discouraged by the stereotypes that come with Kentucky. In movies and television, they portray Kentuckians as redneck/hillbilly people who are uneducated and poor. Kentucky is a large state…some rural parts and some more urban. I find that living out here in California, I am just as much in tune with them on a lot of topics or even more than they are (it just depends on what it is). There are a LOT of very progressive people in Kentucky just like there are in California and vice versa (KY has high speed internet just like anywhere else!). In Kentucky and in any part of of our country, including the major cities, there are going to be uneducated and narrow minded people. So when people ask (and I haven’t officially been asked this, btw), “Do you where shoes in KY?” that’s a pretty big insult to us Kentuckians. I think anytime you move to a new place or go to a new place, it’s important to help people better understand misconceptions about where you are from. I hope that the people who meet me will be able to learn from me and that I will be able to put out a positive vibe about Kentucky. I also hope I’m able to inform my Kentucky friends and family on the realities of California and what it is really all about as I learn more. I think that one way for us to stay educated is to share information and connect with each other. We really need to try to break away from the little bubbles we live in and get to know other regions.

For example, last week, I noticed while at a grocery store that vast amount of beans and ethnic foods available for purchase. In Kentucky, we don’t have as great of a selection of foods. When I told my co-workers about this, they were quite amazed and I made a point to tell them what growing up in a rural area and shopping was like there. For example, as a child, living in a small KY town, I was not exposed to exotic fruits or vegetables or even organic foods. I think things are just simpler there and without the broad band of cultural influences to influence the food in that region, we just had basic things. They found that quite interesting.

Well, I could write a book about this, but I think I will draw to a close. I just wanted to share some of my observances and misconceptions that people might have. I hope you found it informative 🙂

Until next time Swellions!



  1. says

    Welcome to my favorite state! I was born in the San Joaquin valley and the produce is one of my favorite things about it! Whenever I’m in the area I make it a point to stop at as many roadside stands as I can. California is so, SO diverse. The valley is a different world from the area of California I live in now. So much to explore and do here-I hope you have fun!

  2. says

    At least you’re not from Ar-kan-saw… Not only do we get asked the really-not-funny shoes question (and I HAVE been asked that one), but we also get questions about whether our family tree actually branches, and how many people we know who still use outhouses. Oh, and they assume we’re all racists, too. (Thank you Gov. Faubus circa 1957.)

    Though I will admit that, due to the wonders of adoption, my husband’s niece is now also his sister. (His mother is raising his cousin’s kids and made it all legal.) So I guess our family tree really doesn’t branch after all.

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