Be prepared, Californians: Winter is coming.

I was so nervous moving to the Midwest, let alone Missouri! Born and raised in California, I couldn’t imagine life without a beach 30 minutes away, authentic Mexican restaurants, or what I think of as perfect weather. The transition was soooo much easier than I expected! I’m really happy here. Most days I’m still able to run outside — one of the prettiest things I’ve actually seen are all the leaves changing color during the fall in Forest Park. This is rare in California. The weather is really manageable and I’ve had fun shopping for winter clothes. (You can wear a big jacket that is basically a blanket!) St. Louis definitely has its charm, and the cost of living is low, with many great activities that are free or cost almost nothing! There’s always a decent-sized group in each class from the West, so if you feel like complaining about the picture your friend just posted on Instagram (“At the beach — 80 degrees in November!”), there will be someone who understands.

— Ashley O., M1