Hometown Defense : California

Elana Katz

In college, it’s not uncommon for the subject of hometowns to come up in conversation. My contribution to that conversation tends to be a little different than most, considering most students at Western aren’t from southern California. 

Due to an impacted and expensive school system, I found myself in the Midwest a little over two years ago, and where I’m from continues to raise questions from acquaintances. I love that people are interested in the Golden State, but I feel the need to set some things straight. I know these explanations might let a few people down, but it’s time to accept the fact the California people often dream about is not the California of reality:

Myth: Everyone in California lives by someone famous. Fact: California is 13,897,539 times bigger than most people think. It almost should be divided into two states. To get from where I live in Anaheim to San Francisco, it would take me about eight hours to drive there. Even though I live in Southern California, because of heavy traffic on the 405 freeway, it takes me a couple of hours just to get to Los Angeles. In fact, L.A. itself is gigantic. There is no specific spot where celebrities live, and there’s a very small chance of seeing one just by being in that area.

Myth: It’s hot and sunny 24/7. Fact: I will admit, my opinion on this has changed since moving here. If asked before I moved here, I would have said that it actually does get cold. However, after experiencing my first Midwest winter, (I apologize to everyone who grew up here) I have since learned that 50 degrees is NOT cold. The coldest it gets may be in the low ‘40s where I am, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. We get something called “June gloom” in the spring, when it’s constantly overcast and wind and rain like to visit us, too.

Myth: Earthquakes are scary. Fact: They are not. The ground shakes a little. That’s it.

Myth: There is candy everywhere, girls wear daisy dukes and bikinis and no one knows how to spell “girl” correctly. Fact: Nothing about Katy Perry’s insult of a song is accurate.


Myth: Everyone goes to the beach all the time and everyone is tan.Fact: Yes, a lot of people do go to the beach on the regular basis. However, there is a very large part of the population (myself included) that rarely makes it there, and also a large part that is extremely pale (again, guilty).

Myth: Everyone in “the O.C.” is wealthy, wears designer clothes and has a reality show. Fact: I actually am from Orange County (do not, under any circumstance, refer to is as “the O.C.”), and it is not at all how TV shows depict it. Parts of it may be, but not as whole. I will admit, it is a pretty expensive area to live in, but there are also very run-down areas of the county. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t exactly make it nice. A small house there probably costs more than buying land out here. Also, don’t expect everyone to be living like the people in reality shows do. We don’t all wear designer labels and have hot tub parties. Some do, but for the most part this isn’t normal. Of course, I might just think this because I’m not cool enough to get invited to swanky hot tub parties. 

All of this being said, I would still be the first person to promote California — and the first one to leave it, apparently. I live 15 minutes away from the ocean, Disneyland is 10 minutes from where I grew up, no one I know owns winter clothes and I could see a taping of a talk show anytime I wanted. Cities like L.A, San Diego, Hollywood, San Francisco and even Vegas are just a drive away, and Rebecca Black and the actress who played Topanga on Boy Meets World live in my neighborhood. So, while I feel compelled to debunk those myths, I have to admit that my heart still belongs to California.