Now that we have been in Boise a little over seven months we have a few observations about this place that we now call home.
1. From Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day I am not sure the sun shines that much more in Boise than it did in Grand Rapids. Most of January and December was cloudy, and many of those days we were able to experience the dreaded "inversion". An inversion is when the cold air is trapped in the valley while the warmer air sits on top. It is characterized by lots of fog and air pollution from wood-burning stoves, etc. What is interesting is that it can be 20 degrees in the valley but if you drive up to Bogus Basin (one of the highest points and where the skiing is located) it can be sunny and 40 degrees. The inversion stays until a strong front moves it through. What annoys both Russ and I is that many Boise drivers do not turn on their lights during an inversion. I have never lived in a place where over half of the vehicles do not have their lights on in foggy conditions!
2. We have a Midwest accent. Evidently, when you say words like "tag", "bag", "wagon", "dragon" with a long "a" like "tayg" or "waygon" instead of the short "a" sound, it is a tell-tale sign you are from the Midwest. My kids have been given many a blank look when they offer to play "tayg" with their friends. Interestingly, those from the Boise area pronounce "apricot" with a long "a" and correct our children when we use the short a...
3. Most of those native to Boise do not care if you pronounce their city's name "boy-zee" or "boy-see". The latter one is correct, but I have never had anyone correct me (maybe they are just too nice?) Russ has occasionally had the comment, "You are not a native!" when pronouncing it wrong.
4. Driving distances are always given in time, not miles. We did experience this somewhat in GR, as well, because I think it just characterizes city driving. I remember many years ago when my California cousins visited Iowa, they made a comment on the fact that we gave driving distance in miles, not time. If it was 12 miles to Orange City...it would take you about 12 minutes. No need to give a time. Here, and with most city driving, miles mean nothing. You can be 3 miles from Walmart, but if you hit the stoplights wrong, or go during times of high traffic it can take you 15 minutes. Incidentally, when we ask about how far certain places are we invariably get the answer, "about 20 minutes."
5. In most of the places we have lived there is a pretty good distinction between city and country. Not so in Boise. Probably due primarily to new development, it still takes me by surprise. One of the biggest shopping areas is across the street from a corn field. And it is not at all unusual to pass several subdivisions and then an acreage or two with livestock/horses followed by a couple more subdivisions.
6. Driving with bicyclers may take some adjustment. Just the sheer amount of people who bike to their destinations or just as a form of exercise is significantly greater than I am accustomed to. Most major roads have bicycle lanes; however, at some intersections you have to yield to the biker on your right when you take a right turn. Usually, when you are taking a right turn on green you don't yield to anyone, and because they come up so fast, well, let's just say I need to be more diligent and observant.
7. BSU attire and cowboy boots. No more to say about that.
8. Before we moved when people told us there was lots of hiking just minutes from our house we immediately thought of Oak Grove, trail hiking, woods, etc. Not exactly. Most of the hiking closest to our home is all treeless foothills. Barren. Desert. You need to go up quite a bit to hit that tree line and have the "Oak Grove" experience.
8. I don't think I will ever tire of the landscape. The mountains and foothills still take my breath away on those beautiful clear days. So different from anywhere else I have lived... I know, a whopping two places:).