Dorothy, the tin man, the scarecrow, and… Roar-ee the Lion?

Last Tuesday, I clicked my heels three times, said “there’s no place like home,” and a tornado came and picked me up and dropped me right in the middle of Kansas.

I was born and raised in Kansas: the state that makes incredibly questionable decisions politically yet is now an honorary Swiftie state (Even though most of Kansas City is in Missouri, we get to claim it anyway. Don’t fight me on this). Over Thanksgiving break, I went home to visit some family and friends, and the difference between Barnard/NYC life and Kansas life was so extreme it gave me a severe case of whiplash. I’ve complied some of the most distinct differences between the Big Apple and the Sunflower State to share with you all so people can better understand my Midwestern trauma.

  • Transportation: In NYC, you can basically take the subway anywhere you want to go. You just hop on the 1 train and make any sort of transfer you need. This may come as a shock, but Kansas doesn’t have a subway system. So, you have to drive everywhere. Now, that wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for one thing: the roads are used by everyone and by everyone, I mean cows, horses, tractors, and even the occasional donkey. Attached is a picture I took over break to prove this point. Keep in mind that this is the highway.
  • Law enforcement: Kansas, at least the town I live in, is a lawless state. I was in the car with a family member (who shall remain anonymous for legal reasons) and they were explaining to the driver that “it’s the Kansas backroads, you can literally go as fast as you want to, no one cares.” My friends from high school and I once found a bag of illegal substances just sitting on the sidewalk of Main Street in broad daylight. In New York City, however, I’m still scared to hop the turnstyles at the subway. I’m also half convinced that if I forget to return a book to the library, Columbia will send the entire NYPD to come get me.
  • Neighbors: New Yorkers are so loud!! Even Barnumbian New Yorkers! I can hear people in their dorms all the time, whether it’s music or talking or laughing, I hear it all. In Kansas, my neighbors are cows.
  • Food: One thing that I love the most about New York City is the crazy amount of diversity that there is when it comes to food. Even Barnumbia follows that trend and I really appreciate it. That’s not to say that the food is always amazing, but to give credit where credit is due, and they really do try to celebrate different cultures. As a freshman, it’s only been about four months since I’ve been here, but I can honestly say that in that short amount of time, I’ve tried so many different foods from so many different countries. Now Kansas, on the other hand? Not so diverse. We have your typical Tex Mex and Panda Express-type places trying to sound cultural, but there is a significant drop in the number of places that serve authentic food from other countries. One thing Kansas does do right, apparently, is barbecue. But I hate barbecue, so I can’t speak to that…
  • Friendliness: Honestly, this one took me by surprise. I came to New York City thinking that the whole “New Yorkers are the rudest people” thing was just a myth, but, I mean, it’s true!! Honestly, I think if I had like half a penny for every time I’ve been yelled at on the street, I’d be richer than Bill Gates. And this is such a culture shock coming from the Midwest. I mean obviously Kansans have their flaws, but it just feels like more people smile at you there and hold the door for you. I think that’s something we should bring into the city. Normalize just smiling at people and being nice for no reason.

Despite how this article may make it sound, I do actually love Kansas. It’s such an underrated state when it comes to physical beauty. I’ve genuinely seen the most gorgeous sunsets of my life back at home. I think that if I had to describe Kansas in one word it would just be “comfy” (that is obviously disregarding some of the political decisions made by the state, on behalf of all Kansans, I’m sorry). To summarize, I really just want to load up all my friends on to a big charter bus and take a field trip to the anomaly of a state that is Kansas.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

Tractor via Author