17 Culture Shocks From People Who Moved From One Part Of The US To Another That Have Me Convinced The US Is 50 Different Countries

Moving from one part of the US to another can feel like you're living in a different country, or even like you've landed on another planet. I'm a Florida native who briefly moved to Arizona, and none of my friends from my hometown can believe how dramatically people reacted to the rain out West. People put tarps over their cars during a light sprinkle, while Floridians just shrug and nonchalantly drive through a thunderstorm.

people driving in the rain in florida versus people in arizona covering their car when they see a cloud
Douglas Sacha / Getty Images / Sergey Pavlov / Getty Images / iStockphoto

I knew that others had to experience surprising differences after moving from coast-to-coast or from one region of the US to another, so I asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their most unexpected experiences. Here are the most interesting responses:

1."I moved from the South to Los Angeles, and the thing that struck me the most was the way people ignore strangers here. In the South, it’s normal to smile at people you pass on the street and make small talk with the teller or barista. In Los Angeles, people just keep their head down and ignore everyone around them."


2."I moved from the upper midwest to the Mid-Atlantic. The way people treat winter here is adorable. Life stops in the snow and they act like winter means they have to live under house arrest. Also, the lack of cheese selection compared to Wisconsin makes me want to cry."

person flipping the table and saying, where's my mac and cheese
Broadway Video

3."Moving from the Midwest to Southern California and first experiencing the traffic maneuver known as 'zippering,' where the on-ramp and off-ramp for the freeway are the same road. The traffic was overwhelming enough as it was!"


4."I lived in Memphis and moved to Southern California. I feel California is a safer place to raise my daughter. She has bodily autonomy and her school has a robust learning center for kids who need additional help. We wouldn't get that in Tennessee."


5."I lived in Boston for college after moving from Minnesota. My east coast friends never gave full hugs, and every side hug felt like a rejection."

woman giving a side hug to a man
Warner Bros. Television

6."I moved from California to Washington, D.C., and I HATE the lack of toilet seat covers everywhere!!!"


7."I moved from California to New York. In my California city, courtesy was the default setting. New Yorkers seemed to have the attitude of, 'If I don’t already know you, how dare you move here.'"


8."I moved from New York to Chicago and found it strange that they don't make all the paper currency face the same way — even in the ATM machines. The bills are upside down and backwards no matter where you go. In New York, I never saw that because money was always face forward and right side up. It just seems lazy and sloppy. I get strange looks when I fix my cash to face up and forward."



Juanmonino / Getty Images

9."I moved from Portland, Oregon to a very tiny town in Northeast Arizona where the population was about 5,000. It is a very rural setting. My work ethic in Portland was to arrive to work at least 20 minutes early so I could get my mood and my mindset for the work day, and it's the same habit I still do today. It seems not to be a big deal to arrive late for work all the time in a tiny town. The person I work with in the office arrives pretty much whenever she wants to — anywhere between 10 minutes to a half hour late almost every day. It surprised me how laid-back it is here compared to big cities."


10."I moved from Indiana to Idaho and the wind is wild! I told my hometown best friend about the windy weather before her trip here and she was completely unbothered until she showed up and the wind started blowing her around! We have over 20 miles per hour sustained winds for days at a time. I hate it."


11."I lived in Illinois and moved to Colorado. It shocked me how poorly they plow the streets here. My street in Colorado has literally never been plowed, and I've been here almost seven years."

snow plow in the winter
Cappi Thompson / Getty Images

12."I moved from Iowa to Texas. When I lived in Iowa, I could get to the other side of the state in about two hours. If you drive two hours in Texas, you’re barely a county over because it’s HUGE. The sheer size of Texas is no joke."


13."Our family moved from rural Ohio to El Paso, Texas. The desert was the biggest shock. The heat and the lack of trees and water compared to Ohio was wild. One hundred and fifteen degree days with no humidity was so much easier to tolerate than a 90 degree day with 100% humidity in Ohio."


14."I moved from Georgia to the Bay Area 10 years ago. The biggest shock was how different the beaches are! Summer at the beach in Georgia is hot and the water is warm. You need to wear a sweat suit and five more layers to go to the beach in San Francisco, and getting in the frigid water is out of the question. It makes for some wildly different beach day experiences."

friends swimming in the lake wearing beanies
Lambert And Young / Getty Images

15."I moved from California to Minnesota. It felt like moving to a different country! I love the changing seasons, how friendly people are and how safe I feel in a smaller town. What was a shock to me was how so many people don’t ever leave Minnesota. My sister-in-law literally lives a mile from where she grew up. So many people have no desire to even travel. They 'go up north' to a cabin in the summer and just never leave the state."


16."I moved from Arizona to Kentucky and the biggest change is the weather. Living in a place that’s literally been named the sunniest place in the US to being introduced to severe storms was not fun."


17."A few years ago, I moved from Kentucky to Colorado. I never knew that climate could be dry and pleasant on a 90 degree day. Kentucky is a humid cesspool."

kid saying, i'm baking like a toasted cheeser it's so hot here
20th Century Fox

Have you moved from one part of the US to another and had a moment of unpredicted culture shock? Let me know in the comments!

NOTE: Submissions may have been edited for length or clarity.