I got a comment the other day asking me what was so bad about iowa and reminding me that it was, after all, my choice to be there. Here. And it was! And I felt just a smidge bad because really, Iowa has been pretty good to me and I don’t think it is BAD, at all. It’s not for me, but that is much more my issue than Iowa’s.
It’s funny about places. I could easily list more things that I don’t like about Boston than I could about Iowa. But Boston, Maine, New England, wherever, is my home. It’s where I feel like me. Iowa, is not.
However, I really don’t want to give the impression that Iowa is a bad place, so I thought I could wax romantically on about Iowa for a bit.
Also I have finals that I should be studying for. Plus work to do. And so, on with the post.
Here are some things that I particularly like:
1. The school. Of course it has some shortcomings, no doubt every school does, but I really like the vet school here. I’m proud to be a part of it.
2. The coffee shops. There is a Starbucks in town, but it isn’t pervasive, and hasn’t come close to running the local places out of town. The coffee is good, the environments are generally cozy and welcoming, even to students who might spend 12 hours studying and drinking the same cup of coffee.
3. Central Standard Time. Central time ROCKS. I so much prefer it to eastern time. The late night comedy shows start at 10:30, primetime is over by 10. Plus I always feel like I have a whole extra hour since my heart is still on eastern time.
4. Cost of living. The cheapness of everything has made living here SO nice. My apartment is positively luxe, compared to anything I’d get in boston for the same price. I’m ruined forever.
5. Excellent take on the democratic process. Here in Iowa, you can register to vote on election day and they encourage early voting. Registration is quick and easy. Obviously it’s also very politically active, which I think adds a certain something.
6. I’m kind of happy that it’s a strong blue state now, but I honestly really like that there is a strong Republican base. I’ve had a lot of good conversations with Republicans in the past few months, and it’s great. Even though we don’t agree, it’s nice to be able to have intelligent conversations and listen to opposing views.
7. Cost of entertainment. Sure it’s uncomfortable, but the cheap theatre plays movies for $.75 some days. Parking tickets start at $3 (NOT KIDDING!!! Unpaid meter fee!!!). Gas seems to run cheaper, as do groceries, sometimes. Drinks in bars and restaurants are NEVER priced above $7 (same drink in Boston would be $11, and usually cocktails are more like $4. You can have a fun night out EASILY for $15 – $5 if you don’t want food. Also, servers ALWAYS ask if you want to split the check, which we often do – why do east coast waitstaff always seem SO put out by that? Is it really so difficult?
8. The flatness. Okay, this one could fall on the what-I-don’t like-about-you list, and it’s true that the first year I was hear I constantly felt over-exposed and like I was going to get plucked off by a sniper, but once I get over being ridiculous, the flatness can make things really really pretty. I love the sunrises and sunsets.
9. The movie references. Bridges of Madison County and Fields of Dreams is the obivous one. But also, Michael, that angel movie with John Travolta was set in Iowa. And What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. And that episode of Lost!
10. Des Moines. Generally this city always surprises me. I mentioned before how much I loved the summer Farmer’s Market (they even have a great Web site). There are a lot of trendy and affordable restaurants. It’s very pretty. Airport parking is cheap. It’s a good city, for sure.
11. Ames. It’s a quick 40 mins to Des Moines and the airport, and even though it’s a college town, it is an extremely easy place to live. A good selection of grocery stores, restaurants, and major department stores makes it so that if you are stuck in town for months on end, you might not notice.
12. It’s kind of cool, feeling like you are smack dab in the middle of the country. Only marginally, but I wanted to end on an even note.