We’ve been in Pennsylvania now for about 3 months. It’s been interesting seeing all the differences between here and Utah. There are obvious ones, like: lack of mountains, lots and lots and lots of trees, air that makes my lungs feel like they’re drowning, serious lack of good, but also cheap, Mexican food…stuff like that. But there are also things that I only noticed as I started to settle in. Some of them are only mildly surprising and/or annoying, and some were more like a drive-by-smack-in-the-forehead. I’ll let you figure out which ones left me saying “hmm…interesting…,” and which ones caused bruising.
Produce is NOT better in the grocery stores here, like I assumed it would be. You would think that moving away from a desert would provide you with cucumbers that weren’t squishy because they’d sat on a truck for a week, right? Not so. I’ve been unimpressed with grocery store produce, especially since everything costs more out here. However, they do have a decent amount of farmer’s markets, allowing you to get great produce at cheaper prices.
Then there’s the actual food you can buy at the store. Instead of mounds of Jello salad and coleslaw, you get copious amounts of sauerkraut. There are real delis here, with real butchers. Olive bars, imported cheeses, all in the place down the street. In Utah, you usually can’t find the same type of thing without going to a specialty store, which are really only found in Salt Lake City. Also, instead of a lot of Mexican products (which I miss) you find things like matzo ball mixtures, and falafel kits. And sauerkraut. Seriously…there’s a lot of it.
I think I’ve mentioned the liquor laws before, but it’s worth bringing up again. Really, it’s just the fact that they are stricter, not to mention stranger (ever been to a place where you BYOB? And they put it on ice for you and serve it as well?) than Utah’s.
The aesthetics of my PA driver’s license are pale compared to the Utah one. The Utah one is all shiny and glittery. The PA version is very plain. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person to ever feel bothered by this, but it’s important stuff, people!
And then there are the roads. I don’t know if they were initially made for horses and buggies, or what, but they are really not automobile friendly. At least not when the speed limit is above 25 mph. The on-ramps to almost every single highway or freeway have a merging section about 20 feet long or less (none, in some places). This means that unless you are driving at 11:00 am, or 11:00 pm, you have to wait in a line of 10-15 cars, waiting for a break in traffic so you can squeeze onto a two lane highway that you immediately need to cross, in order to get on another on-ramp, only to wait again. And the reason you have to do that, would be the sheer volume of highways/freeways/state roads that you have to maneuver, in order to get from Point A to Point B, which are usually only about 1.7 miles apart.
How can I make this clearer? Let’s see….
Of course, what matters most is that the people here are nice, and have made us feel welcome. That, and they don’t have some freaky accent that, at first I would mock, and then end up adopting to perfection. It’s one of my many useless talents.