Connecticut and California — What’s Different


My Cousin Michael and I were talking about mountains yesterday. There are mountains just east of here. I keep wanting to say they’re west.

I grew up on the East Coast. Mountains were always west.

“23 Years here and I make the same mistake,” he said.

There are lots of differences between Connecticut and California more significant than the relative position of mountains or whether the Sun rises or sets over the ocean.

We have moved to Irvine. It is a planned city, one of a handful in the US.

In Connecticut things grew organically. Towns today still uses roads established before Declaration of Independence was signed! There are 169 cities and towns, because that’s what worked back in the day.

I have one friend whose family came over on the Mayflower. They’ve been a presence in Milford since there was a Milford–maybe before.

Irvine was incorporated in 1971.

The layout of Irvine was designed by Los Angeles architect William Pereira and Irvine Company employee Raymond Watson, and is nominally divided into townships called villages. The townships are separated by six-lane streets. Each township contains houses of similar design, along with commercial centers, religious institutions and schools. Commercial districts are checker-boarded in a periphery around the central townships. Source: Wikipedia

Our house in Hamden was on a one acre plot. Here in Irvine we’re on a tiny postage stamp of land. That’s part of the plan. Developers have to set aside acreage for parks, shopping and other businesses. You’re never far from anything, but you sacrifice personal space to get that.

Even if you are across town, the six-lane streets (usually straight as an arrow) often have a 60 mph speed limit with computer coordinated traffic lights that adjust to speed the flow! Please think about that next time you attempt to keep to 25 mph through the center of Cheshire.

All buildings have to ‘fit’ architecturally. Though the houses in our development are all different, they’re all very similar in style and color. It’s not right or wrong, just different than what we’re used to back east.

We’ve gone from oil heat, well water and a septic system to gas, city water and sewers. No overhead power lines either.

This is a politically conservative area, ironic because Irvine is a city where the government sticks its nose in so many facets of life! Want to change your house’s paint color or add an addition? Not so fast. Approval is necessary and not always easily obtained. The rules and regulations our home’s developer had to follow are epic.

Because of its good schools, jobs, and housing, the city was chosen in 2008 by as the fourth best place to live in the United States. In 2012, it was ranked in sixth place. In September 2011, Businessweek listed Irvine as the 5th best city in the US. In June 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that Irvine had the lowest violent crime rate among cities in the United States with populations of more than 100,000. – Source: Wikipedia

All these factors help make Irvine a desirable place to live. My significantly smaller house here has a significantly larger price tag than the one it replaces in Hamden!

That’s not to say this place is better. It’s just different… very different.

What Irvine doesn’t have are all the friends and acquaintances we accrued over 28 years in Connecticut. I wish I could have packed them up and brought them with us. Friends are irreplaceable.

You can’t plan friends. They grow organically.