Orange County and San Diego
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA and ORANGE COUNTY - A Word of Caution:
What are you going to do for a job? There are already too many servers here, and you will NOT get a job as a bartender unless your best friend owns or runs the place. And don't think "I'll just move to San Diego then." Seriously, good luck with that also. The CA job market is "Locals Only" and they will cast your resume into the trash if you live an hour away (no joke.)
RENT PRICES: Rent here is excruciating - figure $1200-$1700 for a one-bedroom apartment, and don't believe the rents you see on Craigslist. Also, you are not going to live in a nearby community such as Westminster or Garden Grove, trust me. Most people that visit Disneyland think they are coming to "The OC", with it's lush beaches and beautiful people . . . well, at least the beaches part is true. They should start a show called "The Medicated Housewives of OC", or better yet: "Every Woman has plastic surgery and is on medication", but back to the OC: At Disney, folks are shocked to find that they can hardly walk the streets even a half-mile from the resort without being shot at. Google "Anaheim Crime Rate" and you'll see. So, you are not going to live outside the beach cities just to save money.
The bottom line on Orange County, CA is this:
RENT: If you are not making at least $80,000/year, plan on having a roommate, street parking, community laundry, and neighbors that smoke cigarettes and party late into the evening. Street parking assumes that you can find it in the beach cities - good luck on the weekends.
SLEEP: While trying to get some sleep, you will be awakened between 11 PM and 3 AM by The-Fast-and-the-Furious-wannabe Japanese cars with Folgers-can exhaust systems. You will then be awakened at 5 and/or 6 AM by monster truck drivers leaving for work, followed by the masses at 7-8 AM. So, your net sleep will be about 5/6 hours a night. You have to sleep with a fan or some other white noise generating device here or you you may physically and mentally deteriorate.
NOISE: This is a very lush place, however, lush requires a lot of maintenance. Constant landscaping (leaf-blowers/edgers/lawn mowers), traffic, and trash trucks will be never-ending because of a very high-population density. Plan on your days off as less than serene. Most apartment/house/condo windows are all single pane (no winter and also no noise blocking), and most adjoining walls/floors are paper-thin. People come here to party in the summer, mainly college kids from all over the world. They move to the beach cities, which become unbearable during the summertime.
If you want to find out the good things about OC, there are far too many to list here. This article merely attempts to expose the reality of living here. Now you know what to expect when the honeymoon wears off, which takes about 2-3 weeks, but during that magic time - paradise is indeed yours. Watch the Film "Mulholland Drive" and watch Betty's descent into what the CA dream can (and so often does) do to you. Good luck!