As a person who has never lived in another state for any extended period, moving to Idaho was a bit of a shock for me.
My bedroom view of a thousand lights shining in the night was replaced by the streetlamps of the road in front of the building, and the dark slopes of the mountains. The constant noise and urban bustle of the Los Angeles area were replaced with a quieter, yet still busy downtown brimming with activity.
Though I’m living almost a thousand miles away from home, this may be the most relaxed I’ve been in my entire life. This sense of tranquility and belonging comes not only from the immense kindness of the people of Boise but also some of the surprising similarities I have found between metropolitan Idaho and California.
The first similarity I picked up on when arriving here was the attitude of both states. If there’s one state that can match California’s endless ambition and quest for more, in the search for better medicine, better technology, better universities, etc., it’s Idaho. The same persevering spirit that led pioneers and settlers to transform the largely inhospitable Southern California desert into a thriving metropolis is alive and well in all parts of Idaho and is reflected in its history.
As I’ve also noticed, Idaho thankfully has the common courtesy to not be as stubborn as some other states in what we would consider “rural America.” Idaho and Boise especially are close enough to the West coast states to absorb new ideas and embrace change more frequently but are also far enough away to retain their own identity.
State and local pride are also large parts of both Californian and Idahoan identities. Though I wouldn’t say that we’re aggressively patriotic to any degree, California retains a sense of accomplishment and self-pride matched by few other areas. Idaho rivals this pride in spades, with massive support of sports teams, local industries and businesses, and public buildings and spaces. Both states care greatly about their own environment and demonstrate this through regular boosting of community and environmental awareness, as well as tireless dedication to public works, committees, and activities.
The biggest and perhaps most important similarity I have found between my birth state and my adopted home is their willingness to innovate. By this, I don’t just mean dedication to improving technology or living standard, though both have this in spades. I mean that both possess the foresight and humility to acknowledge their current problems, as well as any that may arise in the future.
California and Idaho are more dedicated to problem-solving than any other areas I have ever visited. I have seen this firsthand in my hometown of Orange, where our community works to solve issues like drought and rampant coyote activity. I see this every day at Boise State University, where students are faced with looming challenges such as urban development and the disappearance of affordable housing within the city.
The same spirit that drove the brave and industrious to build a new future for themselves is alive and well in these two states, which is something I couldn’t be prouder of. During my time in Boise, I hope to grow closer to its people, culture, and attitude, secure in the feeling that Idaho is as much of a home for me as my own house.