One of the great things I love about my job when it comes to transplants to the Greater Phoenix area, are the questions. Everything from, "How many snakes do you see a day?" "What are the chances I will get bit by a scorpion?" "Is it really a dry heat?" "Does anyone have grass in their yard?" All of these are great questions, and I do my best to give answers. Even if you already live here, some of these fun questions and answers may surprise you or at the very least, give you a nice chuckle.
1. "Why does everyone call Phoenix 'the Valley'?"- Phoenix is a very large city. Roughly 4.5 million people live here. Because it is so vast, people tend to say they live in "the Valley" even though they may live in cities within the valley like Gilbert, Temmpe, Mesa, Peoria, Surprise, etc.
2. "Is it true it never rains?"- Phoenix averages about 8 inches of rain each year, primarily during the summer monsoon season. A rainy day here makes people happy, unlike any other city in the US!
3. "I've heard the city is very easy to navigate, is this true?"- Phoenix was designed with nearly all streets in a clear north, south, east, and west grid. Very easy to navigate!
4. "What exactly is a 'dry heat'?"- If you come from a city or state that experiences high humidity in the summer, then you will know right away what a "dry heat" is. The heat here is very much dry, but hot. Humidity levels are very low, so don't worry about your hair, it won't go flat.
5. "We've been told that most everyone who lives here is a transplant."- That is pretty much true. There are very few native Phoenicians. I find that most of the transplants come from states like California, Oregon, and Washington, and major cities like Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. However, I do find most everyone I meet is from a different state or city. As Phoenix grows, and more babies are born here, we will see more grown "Phoenicians" in the future, including my own child!
6. "What's up with your sports teams? They don't seem to do well."-Well while that may be partially true, both the Diamondbacks and the Cardinals have gone all the way to the World Series and Super Bowl at one point. Because we are such a transient state, I do find many people are still fans of teams from their home state. I find myself buying tickets for Diamondback's games when they are up against the Phillies, my favorite team from back East where I grew up. Such is true for many folks who live here; they are diehard fans for life of their original home state/city teams.
7. "I've been told Phoenix is a huge vacation place? Do you get a lot of vacationers?"- Yes, Phoenix is a seasonal state for many. We often refer to the long term vacationers as "snowbirds!" Many of these people do not want to be in their home state or city during the winter months when it is cold and snowy, so they often stay in Phoenix for weeks or months at a time and enjoy not only the weather, but all of the amenities! You will find traffic increases from October through April, the seasonal time of the year for Phoenix.
8. "Where I come from, we 'dress up' for special occasions. I am told that doesn't happen here." This is partially true. I have been to weddings in Phoenix where people attending are in shorts! It is much more relaxed here when it comes to attire. Afterall, it is warm almost all year, and people are a lot more lax. There are no rules on attire, and fancy restaurants don't require a tie or formal outfits.
9. "What the heck is a 'haboob'?"- Simply put, a dust storm Be wary of these. You don't want to be caught driving during one.
10."Why do most people not have grass in their yards?" - This is the desert. It is hot. Grass takes way too much work, it is much easier to have rock type landscape.
11. "How often am I going to run into a snake?"- I have lived in Phoenix 24 years and I have seen 2 snakes. One in the Grand Canyon in the 90's and one a couple of weeks ago in my yard. They exist, you just have to be smart and know they primarily come out in the spring and summer when they can sunbathe. Most of the time I hear people see them when hiking on the trails. Word of advice, keep your garage doors closed. The fire department gets a lot of calls about snakes in garages.
12. "What about scorpions? Am I going to get bit at some point?"- I'll be honest, I know people who have been bit by scorpions. Although uncomfortable for a few days, they are not deadly. Be sure to keep shoes in places they cannot crawl into, and if you live near a mountain, get a black light so you can see them easier. Also, be sure to have some sort of monthly pest control to help. Scorpions are not something you see every day.
13. "Is it true you cannot remove a cactus?"- Yes and no. You can remove cactus, but you have to replant them. Each arm on a cactus takes 50 years to grow. They are a precious commodity.
14. "Someone told me you will see a lot of famous people in Phoenix, is this true?"- Yes, particularly athletes. I ran into Randy Johnson (former pitcher for the Diamondbacks) at a gas station, and my husband ran into him at Blimpies. I met Troy Aikman years ago when Phoenix hosted the Super Bowl and I have many friends who have seen dozens of other famous athletes. Other famous people like Alice Cooper and Stevie Nicks live in Phoenix, so it is not uncommon to run into famous people.
15. "We come from a city where you walk everywhere. Can we do that here?" Somewhat, but most of the time, you will have to drive to get anywhere. Phoenix is not designed like NYC or LA.
Hopefully this answers some of your questions. If not, shoot me an e-mail. If you already live in Phoenix, I would love to know what questions you have been asked from visitors!