From the Midwest, to the east coast, and back again

Midwest Transplant

Being a Midwest transplant to the East Coast is… interesting.

You learn a lot pretty quickly about how the middle of the country is perceived. Some people just think you are the lone survivor who escaped out of a pack of racist hillbillies, others are shocked when you tell them you’ve seen things like paved roads before. News coverage of the Midwest will make you want to crawl out of your skin because it’s presented that “people like you” are foreign creatures being observed like you’re in a forking zoo. There was literally a piece in The Atlantic titled to indicate that talking to people like me is going on safari. This is especially bad in an election year and will definitely be enough to make you at least somewhat resent at least some of the “coastal elites” you’re surrounded by.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Boston. But really any city on the East Coast thinks it’s the center of the known universe.

This is actually something I enjoyed about living in Boston. If there’s one thing you don’t get a huge taste of in Akron and Cleveland (or at least didn’t when I left 5ish years ago), it’s a widespread sense of pride in the cities. Sure there are the true Angels of the Rust Belt who love the area and will extol its virtues, but the general attitude is “Cleveland sucks, Akron sucks, and you’re delusional if you think it’s good.” In Boston, it’s just a cultural fact that Boston is the best and people who don’t like it are either idiots or from New York City (which is the same thing).

However, by far the weirdest thing I learned about East Coasters with regard to the Midwest is that NO ONE out here knows where anything in the middle of the country is.

I have heard “Ohio? That’s near Iowa, right?” Which it is, if you ignore all of Indiana and Illinois. A good friend of mine out here in Boston who is also an Ohio transplant was once asked if Ohio was near Utah. It is in fact on almost the other side of the country. A person out here once completely unironically said that Massachusetts was “a pretty big state.”

The bubble is real, y’all.

Geographical bafflement aside, I am going to miss this place. Boston has an attractive self-confidence that is hard to find outside of the area, and a lot of history to offer. I have been adopted by this place, and I’ll always have a home away from home here.

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