Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lovely in Our Differences

Picture this, Northwesterners: You climb a tall tree and can see for miles (many, many miles) in Every. Single. Direction.

Picture this, Midwesterners: You drive in any direction for 15 minutes and experience an elevation change of at least 1,000 feet.

Crazy, isn’t it?  I have found that people who have lived here in the northwest their whole lives have this odd mixture of disdain and fascination with the Midwest.  They ask me questions like, “Have you ever slaughtered a cow with your bare hands?” or “Did a blizzard ever wipe out your entire family?”  

In case those very same questions were burning in the back of your mind, the answer to both of these is no.  However, in my short time of living here, I have found a lot of differences between these two regions.

*Before you read, yes I am purposely making broad generalizations.  It’s so much more entertaining that way!*

1. Food 
In the Midwest, you eat meat.  Real men eat meat and potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Grandmas bake apple pies, you eat fried foods at the county fair, and if you’re in a big city, you go out for chic drinks with friends (if you’re in a small town, you share those drinks in the back of a pickup.

In the Northwest, you eat vegetables.  Preferably organic vegetables that you grew in your backyard.  If you eat meat, it must be free range, organic, fed at a banquet table with all its friends, and in very small portions. Grandmas bake tofu cookies and you go out for coffee with friends (or beer if you’re a man.  Always a local brew, of course). We went to the Portland Saturday Market and saw a booth selling cotton candy made with organic free-trade sugar and all-natural fruit juice dyes. These people are serious.

2. Weather

In the Midwest, you’ll wake up on a beautiful October day and it will be 75 degrees outside.  You will fall to sleep with a blissful love of fall, and wake up early to scrape the frost off your car.  You go to the beach and the park and shopping in the summer, and you go to work and back home in the winter (if you can get your car to start and the roads aren't covered in ice and snow).

In the Northwest, you’ll wake up on an October day to lower 60’s with a light drizzle on and off throughout the day.  You will fall asleep to the pitter patter of raindrops and wake up to upper 50’s with clouds in the morning and a light drizzle in the afternoon.  That’s about it.  It’s predictable and consistent, 2 foreign words to Midwesterners.  In the summer you go to the ocean and hiking and running on the Nike trail.  In the winter, you go hiking and skiing and running on the Nike trail.

3. Mailboxes

In the Midwest, people have mailboxes.  In front of their houses.

I don’t know if this is a city-wide or region-wide thing, but where I live, there are community mailboxes where you get a little locked slot.  No house has a mailbox.  Can anyone explain this to me???

I joke, but I love all of these things.  I love hiking, I love sunshine, I love apple pies (only my grandma’s, of course) and all-natural cotton candy.  I have had so much fun getting to know my new home, and the Midwest will always have a special place in my heart.  There are many other differences, but these have by far been the most noticeable.  What categorizes your area?


  1. Midwest is best! Ha, just kidding, I'm not even from here :). And I want to check out the Northwest! The food category was so funny/interesting... esp. that picture, haha. All I want when I go to carnivals is tofurkey, forget funnel cakes! ;-) Also, Chicago weather is just ugh right now. That is all.

  2. Yes YOU have quite unique characteristics where you're from too! ;) And even though I am half joking, that cart really was at the Oregon state fair...