I lived in Idaho for 18.5 years. Then I lived in Provo for 10 years. We moved to Concord, CA for approximately 1 year, and then proceeded to live in Provo (again) for another 5.5 years.
We have lived in Pennsylvania for 8 months, which means, of course, that I am not an expert. East coast living is different than the West coast (how could it not be?), but it's nothing drastic.
Things I've noticed lately (Oh! And if these are repeats, I'm sorry. I'm just thinking out loud. Also! If I'm totally off my rocker about these observations, then you can let me know. I can take it!):
*The nice driving is sincere. People are polite, use their blinkers, and quite often are happy to let people in. I've never been honked at, cut off, or been sworn at (including rude hand gestures).
*The "God Bless you!" I receive when they hear I have six kids is not as polite as I thought it was. I've begun to realize that it is a thickly veiled way of saying, "You are completely insane, and you definitely God's blessings to help you through all of that crazy!" It's thickly veiled (not thinly) because they're so good at making you think they admire you!
*Beach trips are not day-trips. They are for at least 3-7 days, and it's up in the air as to whether Jersey, Delaware, or even Maryland is the best destination. Everyone has their favorite place!
*The bugs are out of control! Holy BUGS! Everywhere! All kinds! The fireflies are my favorite, and they almost make up for the rest.
*Humidity is of the devil. I don't mind a little bit of humidity --like, Hawaii-type humidity, but this is ridiculous, people! It truly feels like you are walking into the hot shower. Fully clothed.
*Church is the same, but not the same. Diversity? Much more. Languages, races, cultures --you name it, we probably have it. Off the top of my head, just today, I talked with people from Paraguay, Haiti, Korea, and England. Many did not grow up in the church; several are converts as adults. Living the gospel here takes work because nobody in your neighborhood would ever notice if you didn't go. It takes nearly 30 minutes (one way) to get to church, and our youth/primary is small (30 Primary kids, 15 youth). Most kids are the only Mormons in their schools (like my elementary kids), and every choice to participate is a conscious one. My daughter said, "I'm glad we moved, if only so I got this chance to really find out if the church is true. It has been so good for my testimony because now I have to be so strong!"
*It's impossible not to grow plants. Plants grow on plants! The struggle is cutting the growth back --no worries in keeping things alive! There are no sprinklers. Very few hoses. Nobody has to water their grass, because of the rain. For example, the other day I had left the little kiddie pool on the grass for a few days. It killed the grass. Bummer! So we moved it, and within 48 hours, the grass is almost completely grown back. Fireworks for 4th of July? We did some of them right in the grass. This is just so strange to me, coming from a desert!
*Education. They take it very seriously, here. There's a reason the school districts around here (the greater southeastern PA area) are so incredible --competition. And why? Is it Ivy League country? Tradition of excellence? East coast competitive attitude? Probably all three. But this means my kids are getting a pretty good education, and I like it.
*There's a lack of excellent Mexican food, Thai food, and Chinese food. Not that there aren't some good choices! Just... very few. Now, if you want excellent Italian, American, or Indian? There you go!
*Pronunciations are so funny. I love hearing the "Joisey" accent! "Water" is "wooder" and "Lancaster" is "Lane-custer." But when they say "Ne-vahda" and "Colorah-do," I totally freak out a little.
*Water ice is awesome. We know it as "slushees" in the West, but it's still not quite the same as it is here. Just as a snow cone could never be as awesome as shave ice!
*You cannot escape any form of Revolutionary War History. Nor do you want to! But it is seeped into everything here, and how could it not be? The birth of our nation happened 40 minutes east of my house, and the war took place right where my house stands. Some of these homes and churches have been here since then, and you can't throw a stone without hitting something registered in the historical society! It's just how it is and I love it.
And that is all. It's been an exhausting few weeks, and I will report on it and provide photos later. For now, enjoy your beautiful Sabbath! Happy July and all that jazz!