I Love Iowa!

I guess I could file this under “rude assumptions/prejudices I wasn’t aware I had.” At least to some extent. Four weeks ago I moved out of Boston and into Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I grew up on a farm in Illinois, so I figured I knew what I was getting into. But I’d been separated from my hayseed roots for quite some time, having lived in Downtown Chicago, NYC, and Boston (the latter for the past 8 years). I figured it might be a bit of a culture shock.

So, I took a deep breath and reminded myself to keep my liberal political opinions to myself, dress down, not expect too much in the way of entertainment. I just KNEW I was headed for a sea of conservative, closed-minded, white faces. I thought I could fit in, I just thought I’d have to get used to it.

How stupid was I? These people are just like me. I mean, of COURSE they are, why would they be any different? Anyone who I’ve heard express a political opinion has been quite liberal and extremely open-minded. Everyone I work with is very educated, most more than I am (I only have one degree). Sure, Iowa is pretty much a caucasian state but the giant international company I work for draws people from all cultures, all over the world.

On top of that, everyone has helped us out with a really rushed and messy move, giving us rides, buying us lunch, sending phone numbers of people who can help my husband get work, and so on.

And as far as entertainment goes, we do the same stuff here that we did in Boston: go to work, come home, watch tv, read and knit, hang out in the park (okay, we have a much nicer park here, but still) then go to bed and get up and do it all over. We hardly spend our time out clubbing or going to gallery openings or shopping on Newbury Street.

Oh, and did I mention that everything here is DIRT CHEAP? We’re now paying a third of the housing cost that we had in Boston. No, I’m serious…a THIRD. Groceries are cheaper, beer is $2.00 a pint, movies are $5.50 and you can fill your trunk with stuff from the farmer’s market for nine bucks (yeah, that’s an exaggeration, but it IS really inexpensive).

Okay, so I AM a little overdressed in the office. But that just means more people here tell me how nice I look. We’re surrounded by wide open green spaces and we don’t have to pay $30 to park. Hurrah! Iowa rocks!

Iowa is a great place. My grandparents lived there. I went to college in Ames. My SO is from there, and most of his family is still there. I have lots of friends there.

The part about people being willing and eager to help out is so true. And the best part is, they really do mean it.

If you don’t expect mountains or oceans, it’s a very pretty area. There is something nice about tracking the flow of the seasons in the fields and woods around there.

Sure, sometimes you have to go a bit farther to find something, or special order it, or just plain don’t plan on having the newest fashions from Milan. Be sure you check out what the small towns around there offer. You could find an excellent bakery, or butcher, or woodworker in the next town.

Yea KnitWit! Congratulations on breaking out of the Boswash Corridor gravitational pull.

I came back to my hometown of Ames myself last month after 19 years bouncing around in the moosh pit of clashing ambitions and neuroses that is the greater NYC area. I am pursuing a graduate degree in Professional Communications, a respected program I had no idea existed at Cow College, living in the house my family owns here, and the stress level of my life is about half what it used to be. The thing I miss the most is my cat, who stayed with my mom.

I was visiting a friend in Iowa City a few years ago and I noticed an unusual amount of signs posted everywhere for every single little thing. Is this true of Cedar Rapids?

Shhhhhhhh. Now everybody’s gonna wanna move here. :wink:

Glad to hear you’re having a good experience. I’m not familiar with Cedar Rapids, but I was impressed with Cedar Rapidians (?) after this summer’s flooding. No whining, no bitching about FEMA, just people buckling down and working to get things back to normal. I even heard one guy who’d lost his house expressing sympathy for the folks in Parkersburg, who “had it worse” (after the tornado).

Someone - I believe Rush Limbaugh - said this exact thing. It made me proud to be a Midwesterner.

I’m a southerner. However I like Iowa a lot. Everytime I’ve been there I think, ya know, except for winter (I like my mild non-snowy/icy winters) being in Iowa is no different from being home, really.

I have some fond memories of Cedar Rapids. I stayed at the Sheraton there where a lot of the visiting teams playing the U of I stay. It was a hoot! I happened to be staying there once during the Iowa/Iowa State game. That year it was being played in Ames, which has nuttin’ to do with the story but I thought I’d throw it in. Anywho… it was Saturday (the day of the game) and I had checked into the hotel. First thing I noticed was all these really dressed up people. I wondered why. Turned out it was a wedding reception and that the Sheraton was also a desired venue for wedding receptions. Anywho again, I check in, go to my room, unpack and as I’m tired from traveling, all I want is a burger and a beerverage or two so I go down to the little bar at the hotel. Lo and behold, it’s the same day as the Iowa/Iowa State football game, so the place is fairly packed. Ok… I order my burger and beer and am at my little table with the game on. I like college football so all is cool. I get into the game and decide to just hang out and watch. Remember, wedding reception… ok? This guy walks into the bar and orders a pitcher of beer (I had since that time stopped drinkin’ cause I’d had enought and was tired) and walks over to my little table and asks if I mind if he stands there a few minutes to catch up on the game and drink his beer. No problem, says I as I’m watching and the game was gettin’ interesting. He gets another mug and pours me a beer. Being all gracious and such, I drink it. He leaves and says he’ll be back in a few. He comes back in a few with another pitcher of beer ( oh, he left half of one which I did not drink any of) to check in on the game. We chat a few minutes, me reminding him he already had half a pitcher, etc. He leaves, sayin’ he’ll be back. He shows up again with yet another pitcher of beer (two half pitchers of beer on the table already). After a few he leaves again and I get the waitress over to ask her to put back the beer on the table for when he comes back again and to tell her I’d help her keep a watch out so he does not order yet another pitcher. :smiley: He comes back and both the waitress and I are sayin’ to the bartender, don’t let him order another pitcher, he’s got beer put back! He’s all surprised at this. He looks at me and says, “Dude! You’re lettin’ me hang at your table I meant for you to drink the beer!” I told him, I appreciate it and all but I’d had enough for the night. Fun time! Oh and before the night was over, I swear, half that wedding party was hangin’ around my table to watch the end of the game. A hooty night!

Wow! That was long!

I also had a really good champagne brunch the next morning.

That’s my memory of Cedar Rapids. :smiley:

Obligatory Field of Dreams quote:

“Hey…Is this heaven?”
“No, it’s Iowa.”

Youtube link.