In late July 2014, I packed up everything I owned and drove 2,000+ miles from California to Indiana. Having only been to the Midwest one time before, I really had no idea what to expect. But, I was excited to start a new chapter in my life with Marcus. For those who don’t know, Marcus and I moved to Indiana so Marcus could attend Purdue University and pursue his dream of becoming a veterinarian. Over the past 4 years, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about our country. Here are some of the things I’ve learned during my time in the Midwest:
- There are some awesome places to visit in the middle of the country that don’t get enough credit. Chicago is now one of my favorite cities. Lake Michigan is crazy beautiful! Louisville has some of the best BBQ food I’ve ever had in my life. And Nashville is super fun! I’m not sure if I would have visited these cities if I hadn’t moved to the Midwest, and for that I’m thankful.
- I am not strong enough mentally or physically to live in a climate similar to Indiana. Snow, freezing temperatures, and rain in the summer just aren’t for me.
- Affordable housing is really cool. I will really miss cheap rent!
- Racism exists everywhere in America, but it’s way more in your face in Indiana than in California. I learned a lot about how racism often stems from ignorance and not from hatred. I met some extremely kind and generous people in Indiana who also have some very unfortunate views about people of color. I realized that these views stem from fear and a lack of interactions with people of color. Also, this is in no way a generalization about all people in the Midwest. (If you have questions about this, I’d be happy to discuss this in more detail. I could probably write a few blog posts just dedicated to his topic.)
- The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that success and long-term happiness often requires sacrifice. It hasn’t been easy living 2,000+ miles away from my friends and family for the past 4 years. I’ve missed a lot of birthdays, get-togethers, and celebrations. However, in the meantime, Marcus and I have gained advanced degrees that have set us up for the life that we have always dreamed of. So, while we missed quality Mexican food, struggled through the winters, and missed out on a few good times with friends and family, the sacrifice was all worth it.
I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned while living in the Midwest. And now, I’m looking forward to heading back to my home state, never to leave again!