I just arrived in California and it has been a crazy week!
I am currently living on the NASA/Navy base in the lodging they have. It is pretty decent. I have a microwave and a fridge and it is pretty quiet(It is the off season as most of the visitors come in the summer). Looking for a place has not been as bad as I expected just not as easy as in Chicago. In Chicago you go around to a few places and have a credit check for the one you want and then move in. Here everyone just goes out and puts in like 20 applications and then based on which ones are not taken by other people they choose from the ones they are approved from. So for every place you are usually hoping the people before you don't want it and you are quicker than the people after you.
So I found a place. It is a 500 square foot studio for ~$1400/month. It has about a 60 square foot covered private patio which adds to the place but it is pretty ridiculous in price. You can rent a pretty swanky apartment in Chicago for $1400, at least on the south side. It is actually one of the nicest/largest/cheapest that I found.
NASA is super cool. Everyone is so laid back. It really is so much different from any University environment I have been in. There is no pressure from anyone. Not that I plan to be lazy I plan to work really hard but I want to do it on my owns terms. If I want to be lazy for a day and not do much I don't want to be hassled by a PI. Not that the PIs I have hassle much but they act like your boss instead of your colleague and they usually think your only job is to produce results for them.
California is much more relaxed than Chicago. Though most people in Chicago are pretty nice and relaxed(at least when not driving). I think the weather here has the effect of making people more laid back. I really enjoy it here and I am excited to be more settled and less stressed out. Because travelling staying in hotels, crappy food, stress have all taken a toll on me. I completely forgot how hard moving is. Hopefully it will be a bit until I move again.