20 things you should know before moving to Arizona.
So… you are thinking of moving to Arizona, to the Valley of the Sun. Welcome to a fun great State where you will love and enjoy the great outdoors, in the winter.
But before you make the life-altering decision of uprooting and moving you and your family, you may want to have a few tips on what to expect once you move here.
Where to start?? So much to tell you and to share.
1. We have sun:
We do have sunshine 300+ & + & + days out of the year. Yes. We can count the days of no sun on all our fingers and toes. This means that it rarely rains but only during monsoon season, and when it does, we all do the happy dance. Umbrellas are optional once you move here. However, you will see our kids running under anything that will protect them from the two drops of rain. A pretty sight to see.
Let’s not forget the haboobs, wonderful dust storms, and that it does snow in Arizona. It will stick long enough for you to take a picture.
2. “The Valley” or “ The Cement Valley”
Phoenix is quite a big and sprawled out city. I used to call it the cement stamp in the sand. It encompasses close to up to 4.7 million peoples and it stretches from Queen Creek to Goodyear, Avondale.
3. Yes, we know “it is a dry heat”
We know it is hot, no need to keep on telling us about it. At the end of the day, us Phoenician, we prefer it over humidity. When I first moved to Phoenix in May we went from 85ºF to 105ºF to 120ºF in two weeks. If you want to know how it feels like, turn on your oven at 120ºF, and when the ready light is on, open it and stick your head in it. You will love the feeling. Thank heaven for pools…
4. Driving in Phoenix.
The city driving map is set up on a grid, north-south-east-west, thus being somewhat easy to find your way around. Once you know which direction everything goes, then you are home free. However, if you do not know your Cardinal signs, you can be in for a major reality shock. And please do not ask for directions to a local if you come from a place where you use the terms “Turn Right and Left Turn” as you will sit somewhere in the middle of the desert wondering what happened.
My encounter with direction giving was a pretty ugly site as the person giving directions did not know if I needed to turn right or left, but sure knew where North, South, etc was, and proceeded to tell me to look at the position of the sun, as I am driving in the middle of nowhere.
5. You do not mess with our plants, they bite back
Watch where you walk or where you stand by, as our gorgeous native plants have a way to get back at you if you are too close. The Desert Botanical Garden is a great way to learn more about it. Take a tour, you will love it, and you will be less likely to found yourself covered in needles.
6. You are lucky if you found a shaded spot.
We all compete for that shaded spot for our car and do not mind walking for a mile to do so. Have you ever touched a hot steering wheel in the summer? Or sat on a hot leather seat and touched a hot seat belt? Not pleasant right? Just saved you from a burn. As a matter of fact, you will discover that in July, it only takes two fingers to drive your car. You are welcome!
7. How to spot a snowbird:
Snowbirds migrate here in the winter. As soon as the North gets its first slow, they all flock here. The shorts with brown mid-calf socks sporting white shining legs with a light vest separated the snowbirds from the locals wearing scarves, boots, gloves, coats, hats, and anything to keep us warm when it hits 75ºF.
8. Our wildlife will charm you or bite you
Our wildlife is abundant… Between coyotes, bobcats, scorpions, rattlesnakes, mountain lions, bears, javelinas…. We have it all. Rattlesnakes will give you forewarning so you better start running as they are not shy to share their poisonous venom with you.
Always shake your shoes as you never know who took up residency while you were sleeping. The smaller the scorpion, the stronger and painful the bite is. Javelinas will eat all your plants and cactuses too.
The Bobcats and coyotes even though are gorgeous animal to look at, they look back at your furry four-legged friends with the glee of happiness. The below picture was on my backyard wall, and the coyote has a toy from my dog in his mouth.
9. You cannot beat the Arizona Sunsets
What we lack on greenery we make it up on stunning sunsets with all sorts of blues, orange, red and black shades. Our photos will not do justice to the beauty of them. We never get tired of them.
10. Beware of the water
We never drink out of the water hose as we will scorch ourselves with boiling water. The same goes for our tap water. We never seem to have cold water coming out of the faucet too. Taking a cool-down shower in the summer is a wish. Same with splashing cold water on your face. Our pools are not better either. We put cold water in it to cool it off.
11. We have 4 types of temperatures
As you will learn to enjoy our local TV stations, you will also see that our weather ladies take their job very seriously as we have only 4 types of temperature: Enjoyable, Hot, Really Hot and WOW!!! It is Hotter than Hell (like anyone knows how hot hell is right?)
12. We do not do daylight savings time
Seriously why bother! We love to be one of the two states (Hawaii is the other) that do not have to worry twice a year to be either late or early somewhere.
13. We are the home of one of the Seven Wonders: The Grand Canyon
When you think of the Grand Canyon you have no concept of how Grand it really is until you stand at the rim or at the bottom of it and look around you. A must-see.
14. The Best Mexican Food North of the Border
We have so many Mexican food restaurants in Phoenix, and each has its own specialty and heat intensity. Truck food have also the best Mexican food. And then we have some great Southwest cooking. Cannot describe it but if you love heat, they sure can pack it for you. In no time you will buy salsa by the gallon.
15. Rock yard is normal landscape
Do not be surprised to see rocks as your landscape instead of grass.
16. We live the resort life all year round
Moving here is a bit like going on a perpetual vacation. You seem to always wear a tee-shirt, shorts, khakis, and jeans. Suit… well if you have to go to court you may want to own one. Flip flops are standard twelve months out of year footwear.
17. You will become the Free resort of all your friends and family
Yes, they all love to complain about how hot it is in the summer and they will not come to visit you while the kids and you are on vacation. However, when our temperatures hit the 85ºF mark and the snow start to fall in the North, all of a sudden you are everyone’s best friend and they are planning a visit here to get away from the cold.
Now, my dear friends here it’s where you follow Erma Bombeck’s advice: “First I come and visit you during the summer while it is hot here in Arizona, then you can come to visit us when it is gorgeous in the fall, winter“. It is only fair, don’t you think? I was a hotel for a couple of years and then implemented the above advice. Consequently, I have been enjoying the winter freedom ever since.
However, the Valley is home to the finest resorts in the country and they offer world-class spas and dining. A minute’s drive from your front door. Start getting those phone numbers out.
18. You play golf, we got golf for you.
We have more golf courses in the Valley, 220 to be exact but who is counting, than anywhere else in the US. Pristine, gorgeous greens. We have this to a “tee.”
19. You may want to learn some Spanish
With a large population been of Spanish descent, we do have lots of Spanish-speaking cities and signs. With that said, we only somehow do not pronounce the Spanish name as we should, and Casa Grande became Casa Grand…
20. July is an interesting month
Not only you will discover that it will take you two fingers to drive your car, but you will found it acceptable to see someone driving while wearing oven mitts or gloves. Any weather news will always end with “in case of monsoon…”
The sun is out, the pool water is perfectly heated, and not a person is moving on the street. For that matter, hot air balloons cannot fly because the air outside is hotter than the air inside.
I can go on forever and ever of all we do have to offer, between sports, dining, arts, entertainment, outdoor living, hiking, Spring training, and ….. you may want to pay us a visit. November to May is the best time, June to October if you are brave.