The wild Mid-west

Well, I’m home again, and slowly processing all my experiences, and slowly settling back into normal routines again. It’s harder than I thought it would be, and some little things – such as where I sit to write my blog – I’ve changed, just because I am new, and I didn’t want to simply fall again into old patterns and habits. Funny thing, that.

However, I never had a chance to tell you about the Mid-West (or about Thanksgiving), and I know there’s a fair few people who want to read about my experiences of their part of the US, so you shall have it. Part of it. Here goes:

20121121_122141(1) Yellow school buses are real. They really are! Just like in the movies (although they’re not magic, as far as I can tell). Know what else is real? Yellow traffic lights that hang on a rope in the centre of the road. And really boring street names, like 90th St 20121122_101738 (YES! And 32nd St, and 48th St. Just like in the movies!) and rows of timber houses with no front fences and no front gates, and big deciduous trees that grow right up next to places, like the owners have absolutely no idea about bushfire safety (they don’t have bushfires, apparently), just like in the movies. And rows of letterboxes with those little flags that the postie puts up to let you know you’ve got a letter. Yes!

So here’s the thing…you might be picking up on a theme here…if LA felt like Melbourne, and Hollywood was small and grimy and a lot like Carlton or some place in Melbourne (I did love it by the way), the first morning I woke up in Michigan all I could think of was that I’d woken up on the set of “The Fugitive”. The culture shock I’d expected on arriving in LA and didn’t happened for me a week later when arriving in Grand Rapids, Michigan.20121121_075547And…SQUIRRELS! In people’s front gardens. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Driving on the wrong side of the road. Dr Pepper with breakfast. Creamer in coffee (I’ll explain that one later). Orange cheese. Deep fried turkeys (YES. No, I didn’t eat one. Yes, they are real).

Sigh. Still processing all this. Can you tell? Still adjusting to being home, and, strangely, mourning the distance. Mourning the loss of a place that’s still there. Expecting that soon, in January perhaps, there’ll be a knock on my front door and there will be all the people I met in Grand Rapids dropping in for a coffee.

If only it were that easy…

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10 thoughts on “The wild Mid-west

  1. Yup, it is all true -except I don’t drink Dr. Pepper for breakfast – I like coffee with LOTS of cream in the morning. πŸ™‚ Why would you drink coffee without cream? In small town the streets have interesting names like Main Street and Michigan Ave. and West Ave., and East St. How do they label streets in Australia?

    • Yeah, interesting names like East and Main…yeah πŸ™‚
      Our street names are all kinds of things – surnames of the founding fathers of the area are common: Collins St, Macquarie St, Davey St, or girl’s names: Elsie Court, Ruby Crescent; or plants: Melaleuca Grove, Wattle Avenue…
      See? Variety. Interestingness. And we have the obligatory View St and Hill St in pretty much every suburb in Hobart…for the obvious reasons.

      • We have many of those, too. I find it interesting to see the different names where I travel. All across the US we have names from Native American tribes.

  2. Squirrels in the front garden, I take it you don’t get squirrels in your garden at home then, we feed them in ours, along with the birds, foxes and hedgehogs.

  3. Ha! Americans keep asking me that. Truth is, our school buses are just charter buses normally, or plain white boxy-looking things also used by nursing homes or disability-care places. Just buses, nothing you’d automatically look at and say “oh look, there’s a school bus”.
    I knew yellow ones were in the movies, but I’d figured, like so many things, they’d been phased out years ago. I was beyond thrilled to see them for real!

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