"I'm learning how to wear a scarf," said Rep. Tony Cardenas, who now represents the eastern San Fernando Valley's 29th District.
The newly elected Democrat, whose family originally hails from Mexico, is adapting to the East Coast weather. That includes getting used to walking in the snow, an experience he never had to deal with while serving in local office for the San Fernando Valley.
As the 113th Congress gets under way, Cardenas joins the ranks of incoming politicians, including some from the Los Angeles region, who are making their way through the halls for the first time.
He is also one of those making history: Cardenas is the first Latino from the San Fernando Valley elected to Congress.
With that move, he also helped Congress make history. The makeup of the 113th Congress is being called the most diverse in history. There are now 31 Latinos on the Hill. Five Asians - the most ever - were elected, according to the Asian American Justice Center.
There are at least seven openly gay members, according to the website
GayPolitics.com. That includes Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona who is bisexual.
There are also more women than ever in Congress: 81 in the House, 20 in the Senate.
One of those local and newly elected women is Julia Brownley, who represents the 26th District, an area covering Ventura County and Simi Valley.
This past week, Brownley was away at a retreat in Williamsburg, Va., for new Congress members. That left it up to her staff members to settle into their new offices.
But already, Brownley was noticing differences between working in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., said her chief of staff, Lenny Young.
"We're finding the House does a lot of things last-minute," Young said. "In Sacramento, they stay on schedule. Here, it's a little more frantic."
Another woman finding her way around Washington, D.C., is Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod, who unseated Rep. Joe Baca in the 35th District, which spans from Rialto to Pomona.
While some newly elected Congress members don't choose to bring former staffers with them, McLeod, D-Montclair, brought some of her Sacramento employees to Washington.
"It's been a very busy couple of days," said Daniel Sanchez, McLeod's communications director.
For the incoming Congress members, there are apartments to rent, staff to hire and committee assignments. Cardenas, who was assigned to Natural Resources and Budget committees, has taken an apartment about a 10-minute walk away from his office.
Like other newbies, Cardenas is getting tips from colleagues like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco.
Pelosi warned Cardenas, he said, about spending too much time away from his family back in the district. "She said, `When we're not in session, go home, have dinner with your family."'
After serving in the Assembly and on the Los Angeles City Council, the biggest difference with working in Washington, D.C., is the "massive amount" of politicians he's working with.
Cardenas said one of his key issues will be juvenile justice, which has great importance to him.
He's also getting used to being on the national stage, and was recently interviewed by National Public Radio.
Cardenas had been notorious for being wary of the Los Angeles media. At times on the council floor, he vocally expressed his distaste for stories by the Los Angeles Times and the Daily News.
Now, on the other side of the country, he was downright accommodating.
A sign of homesickness?
"Call if you need anything!" he said.