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Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

They Got Good Stuff There

Posted by jamesseetoo on July 20, 2009

As I was coming off a quick trip to my hometown of New York City with a side trip to visit friends in Kent, Ohio, a few things struck me when comparing Southern California and these two very different places and wondering how they all got to be so much alike. Yes it’s true, good vibrations SoCal where people surf and sun, the Big Apple where people are running in and out of stores and subways and the small, college town surrounded by farms, a place where neighborhood kids will ring the front door to ask if their friends can come out to play (without armed guards or watchful nannies) are as much alike as they are different.

Now, for disclosure’s sake, I’m someone who has relocated for a job. I went from downtown Manhattan where I was born and raised to Southern California – never in my life even considering moving to California. But it was a really good job and I got to see how the other half lives. And it’s pretty good. In fact, it’s really good. People live well in Southern California. Of course you have to leave aside politics but that’s nothing to brag about in New York either. Actually, Ohio might be looking pretty good when it comes to running a state government.

So let’s talk about some of the differences and similarities in these locations.

First of all, they speak English – in Kent, I mean. We kind of speak it in New York but walking the streets you hear all kinds of languages and sometimes even English. And so in many ways, if you don’t speak a myriad of tongues, you might get along better in Kent but even though I moved out of New York over four years ago people still pretty much understand you when you speak English to them. What they say in return could be anyone’s guess. (Is it an insult if you don’t understand it?).

I think California has it’s own version of English – can you say “Awesome Dude”? I wonder if California Spanish has those catch phrases?

Second, the food is great in both places – Kent and New York. I’m still up in the air about Southern California but the ingredients are really fresh. Okay, you may do a little better on the obscure ethnic cuisines in New York but people in New York and California pay enormously more for fresh organic produce and meats and in Kent you can grow your own or go to one of the local farms for provisions if you don’t want to go to one of the supermarkets. You can even go to Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club in all three places.

So where am I going with this? What I’m trying to say is that no matter where you go in this great country of ours you’re going to be able to live really well if you let yourself. So when a job comes up in a place you’re not familiar with you owe it to yourself to be open to relocating. Now granted, family issues are very important and I would never try to convince you to move when it’s not in your best interest but if you look at the similarities as well as the differences between places you can certainly be happy. And since very few people work for the same company for their whole career, you can always move back to where you were.

And in some ways Kent and Southern California where I currently live have even closer lifestyles. You pretty much have to drive everywhere (not much public transportation) and there are Wal-Marts, big box stores and food chains all over with some very nice local stores thrown in. Of course, Ohio doesn’t have a mandatory motorcycle law so I can see a lot of California bikers being pretty envious of their fellow riders.

Naturally on the coast you have beaches but since I prefer a pool you’re pretty well taken care of no matter where you go and you won’t have to travel to see snow in the winter.

So you can really be happy wherever you choose to be happy. There really isn’t a lack of convenience since the internet and cable tv have brought the country closer together culturally. I mean, today I saw hummus and Greek yogurt in a New York supermarket that caters to a Latino/Asian customer base. Pretty much wherever you go you’ll have all the mod cons. While you might have compelling reasons to rule out a relocation, don’t let the fear of not being on one of the coasts stop you.

And if you’re in a place like Kent, Ohio, think of it all as a grand adventure. Sure it’s more expensive than what you’re used to and the pace and noise may not be to your liking but give it a try. You owe it to yourself to see what all the fuss is about.

But the most important thing is that people are nice out there, yes, even in New York. And so keep an open mind to relocating. As they say here in California – It’s All Good.

The late comedian Sam Kinnison used to talk about the famine in Ethiopia in his routine. He screamed, “they don’t need food, they need U-Hauls!” In other words, you sometimes have to be willing to go where the jobs are. Who knows, you might like it out there.

Remember, your skills are your job security.

James Seetoo


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