Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with All Things Midwest

This is my first summer in the Midwest in three years and I’m remembering how much I both love and hate this place. There are the beautiful rolling green fields, the corn swaying in the breeze, the relatively inexpensive local ice cream joint where you’re sure to see someone from high school, church, or next door. There are the super cheap (if small) thrift stores and tennis courts two blocks away that are pretty much always available.

But there’s the other hand too. As far as entertainment goes, there is one movie theater with three screens and a bowling alley. There are very (VERY) few people my age either from my high school or the college around, and those that are here are not exactly the people I want to hang out with. Boyfriend is 9 hours away, best friend is about 16 hours away and my job is nothing to write home about. This state of affairs usually leaves me pining for somewhere exciting like Washington D.C. or Dublin, Ireland, where I spent my last two summers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Midwest, in theory. I like the small towns with good schools and neighbors who will take in your cat for the duration of your vacations. I like being able to see the stars and the decided absence of sirens from the nightly soundscape. But I also like some nightlife, shopping options, and public transportation in my workweek. I like having artistic people to hang out with and going to a bar that has more than two people my age in it. I like being able to get something to eat after 10pm.

But I'm not willing to embrace the big cities quite yet either. I’ve always had a certain disdain for New York City, basically because everyone loves it, and this has usually been my policy in regards to boys as well, but that’s another story. I think our society is  hypnotized by the mystic of New York: its size, glamor, prominence, and long history of being the backdrop of every other romantic comedy. It is the make-or-break-it capitol of the world and it seems like everyone is just waiting to try their luck there. And honestly I think it sounds like a terrible, horrible place to live. Cost of living is insane, food is either bad or expensive, good jobs are outrageously hard to get, schools are either struggling or very expensive, and it takes a year to get from point A to point B. Not for me.

So I’m looking for a happy medium—somewhere with a mall or two, a good newspaper, maybe an independent fashion show here or there, a film festival, a good sushi restaurant (for boyfriend, because he really likes sushi), and a decent view of the stars. And if there happens to be some corn around, great. Where is this fabulous place? I’ll let you know when I find it.


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