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Old 11-02-2009, 12:11 AM
 
7 posts, read 20,139 times
Reputation: 15

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Husband and I (and our 2 kids - baby and toddler) just moved to Fullerton from Philadelphia. We've lived all over the US and abroad and we hoped our move to OC would be "it". After a couple months though, I'm having second thoughts:

1- Is it a place where there is a strong sense of community? [Based on our experience with trick-or-treating with our kids this past Halloween, it doesn't even seem like people want to open their door for you - wondering if this is just the neighborhood we are in (wealthy area) or if people are just closed off - period.].

2-Do people (and their kids) have lots of "local" friends - i.e. friends that they can hang out with after school, or have sleepovers with, or have potluck dinners (the adults)? [Based on the few months we've been here, it seems that people have friends all over the L.A area - but it's so difficult to travel 30-45 minutes with kids for a social engagement.]

3- We've been in our house for 4 months (renting) and have probably exchanged about 3 sentences with our neighbors. This is very disturbing.

We are seriously considering moving back to the Washington, DC area (Bethesda or Chevy Chase), despite the humidity and the mosquitoes, because of the above doubts. We've never lived in DC with a family (only when single), but have friends with families who live there - it just seems that people in DC are more open and interested in making friends.

Our jobs are very portable.

Do we shell out another 15K to move ourselves (and our cars) back east, or is there hope of finding our (elusive) paradise here in the L.A. or Orange County area?
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:32 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,783 posts, read 28,151,902 times
Reputation: 14187
It might just be the area you are in.

Strong "senses of community" aren't usually found in wealthy areas IMO. IMO, good communities go hand-in-hand with intransient populations. For example, we went trick-or-treating last night in an upper-middle class neighborhood, and many of the kids seemed to know the people at the houses they were going to, which I thought was a little odd (this was not in CA). I did some research, and it turns out that this neighborhood has extremely low turnover -- that might be something to think about when/if you choose your next neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised at the vibe in my example neighborhood above.

I grew up in the Inland Empire, and had the typical local friends/sleepovers, etc. We'd take trips to OC to see aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Your kids aren't even in school yet, so you'll probably need to give it some time.

I've had cold experiences with neighbors as well, and I've learned that you should probably be the one that extends the hand out to start conversations, you probably shouldn't let somebody walk on by without you making the initial effort to say hello first. People won't come to you, you have to come to them (especially in wealthy neighborhoods), but there are exceptions. Us westerners are much more aloof when it comes to meeting new people.

I don't think you've given it enough time yet, how can you really know whether or not you like Southern CA after four months...you might be singing a different tune at the end of your first year. Give CA a chance, DC will always be there to return to, and it could be a "tail between the legs" type deal if you leave CA after only being there four months.
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Old 11-02-2009, 12:48 AM
 
26,666 posts, read 27,480,337 times
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The L.A. area has the smallest middle class of any large metro area in the country. It's also the most economically segregated. I think that makes it more difficult to build or feel a sense of community - at least not as easily as I believe is possible in other cities.

L.A. Area Going to Extremes as the Middle Class Shrinks - Los Angeles Times
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:06 AM
 
9,725 posts, read 14,481,174 times
Reputation: 3346
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrock View Post
Husband and I (and our 2 kids - baby and toddler) just moved to Fullerton from Philadelphia. We've lived all over the US and abroad and we hoped our move to OC would be "it". After a couple months though, I'm having second thoughts:

1- Is it a place where there is a strong sense of community? [Based on our experience with trick-or-treating with our kids this past Halloween, it doesn't even seem like people want to open their door for you - wondering if this is just the neighborhood we are in (wealthy area) or if people are just closed off - period.].

2-Do people (and their kids) have lots of "local" friends - i.e. friends that they can hang out with after school, or have sleepovers with, or have potluck dinners (the adults)? [Based on the few months we've been here, it seems that people have friends all over the L.A area - but it's so difficult to travel 30-45 minutes with kids for a social engagement.]

3- We've been in our house for 4 months (renting) and have probably exchanged about 3 sentences with our neighbors. This is very disturbing.

We are seriously considering moving back to the Washington, DC area (Bethesda or Chevy Chase), despite the humidity and the mosquitoes, because of the above doubts. We've never lived in DC with a family (only when single), but have friends with families who live there - it just seems that people in DC are more open and interested in making friends.

Our jobs are very portable.

Do we shell out another 15K to move ourselves (and our cars) back east, or is there hope of finding our (elusive) paradise here in the L.A. or Orange County area?
1. People here don't Trick or Treat much. I think it's considered an "unsafe activity" for children. Trick or Treat is usually planned as a party among people who all know each other. Door to door is kind of a "No." We used to buy candy for tons of kids but the number of kids dropped off every year and we finally stopped buying candy. The last year we left the light on (which symbolizes "We have candy for kids") we only got one Trick or Treater.

2. This is known as "Geographic Undesireable." Unfortunately, a lot of the people you will meet that you really like are going to be GU. When I first moved here, I had a great friend who lived in Anaheim -- which was a three hour drive on a Friday night for me. She was GU. If you find most of your friends are coming from a particular area, you might consider moving to the area they live in. Other than that, I don't know what else you can do. The fact is: It's really hard to live in South Orange County and have a best friend in the San Fernando Valley. It just doesn't work. If you keep looking though, you just might find a best friend in your area.

3. Not talking to your neighbors is pretty common. I think people think it's a good idea to not get to close to the neighbors so they won't be hurt when the neighbors move. Either that, or your neighbors are too busy to deal to with you. If you live there longer, you might find your neighbors are very friendly.

If you like Southern California other than the fact that you haven't made a lot of friends around here, I'd give it more time. If you really hate the whole state -- then I'd get the heck out.

If you want to make more friends, have you looked at the "meetup" groups? I don't have a link but I know that web community is full of people who like to meet in person. If you have interests in particular areas, you might be able to make friends via those interests. I like to attend cultural events and that's another place where you might meet people who could be friends.

In Los Angeles, it can be kind of hard to make friends because of the geography issue. Nonetheless, you should be able to make friends if you go all out to make friends.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:14 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,342 posts, read 89,990,558 times
Reputation: 17770
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prufrock View Post
baby and toddler)
[Based on our experience with trick-or-treating with our kids this past Halloween, it doesn't even seem like people want to open their door for you
neighborhood we are in (wealthy area)

kids) have lots of "local" friends ... here, it seems that people have friends all over the L.A area - but it's so difficult to travel 30-45 minutes with kids for a social engagement.]

3- We've been in our house for 4 months (renting) and have probably exchanged about 3 sentences with our neighbors. This is very disturbing.

Four months doesn't seem like long enough to draw any conclusions.
Are there lots of other families in your neighborhood with kids your kids' ages? Do you match up well? Or, are there bunch of retired people, empty nesters, or parents with teens living there?
Since Southern California is so dense, there isn't too much need to travel 45 minutes to kids activities; chances are there is a dance studio, soccer field, orthodontist, karate class, or birthday party venue a couple blocks away.
Easterners may misinterpret what a "wealthy" area in Southern California is. Houses worth a half million bucks today may have been built in the 1970s and bought by a guy who makes $80K now.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:23 AM
 
10,629 posts, read 25,530,167 times
Reputation: 6751
I'd give it some more time before doing anything drastic. We moved to LA after living in DC, Delaware, and Minnesota; we found our LA paradise (although had to move due to a job transfer, but would love to move back...) in South Pasadena. There was a good sense of community, it had a small town feel (despite being conveniently located between LA and Pasadena), has great schools, a nice weekly farmer's market, Fourth of July parade, several community festivals, etc. Our son wasn't yet school-age, but the parents on our block (including some people new to the neighborhood) all sent their kids to the local schools and seemed to hang out together a lot, and their kids all played together. We got invited for potlucks and things. If you decide that you want to make a local move you might want to check it out. There's been a number of posts on this forum about South Pasadena, so you can do a search if it sounds like something you'd be interested in learning more about. It's a very family-friendly place, and is pretty easy to get involved in the local community in part due to its size.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Southern California
5 posts, read 8,128 times
Reputation: 10
Try Monrovia and Pasadena in the San Gabriel Valley Use Google Maps for Myrtle (in Old Town) Monrovia 91016 and walk through the streets. Started in the 1880's very cool, very family, very Mayberry RFD. They shut down main st. for Market Night, 4th of July, etc. There is a library and park in the down town, talk about small family oriented town.

I am a realtor and architect, I came to town to see a building, bought a home and moved here.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:55 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 25,530,167 times
Reputation: 6751
Also try Sierra Madre, also in the Pasadena area.
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