Written by Mary-Todd Christian. Media by Garrett Streeter.[divide]
Coming to Illinois from Virginia, I knew I was going to encounter some unfamiliar territory. Here are a few differences, and unique things that this East Coast girl discovered since making her home in Illinois, and in the midst of these flyover states.
This threw me for a loop the first time I heard the term. What’s ‘Pop’?
On the East Coast, we just call it Soda. Or if you’re from the Deep South, everything is Coke. Even Pepsi…
“Can I have a Coke, please?”
“We serve Pepsi products, sir.”
“That’s what I said. Coke.”
SWEET TEA AND SKI
Just call me Uncle Si, but I love a glass of sweet tea. (And I’m not talking about McDonalds tea.) Unfortunately, I have yet to come across a good glass of sweet tea out here. BUT… to make up for the lack of tea, there’s Ski! This carbonated delight is definitely a nice alternative to fill the “tea shaped” hole in my heart.
Or as I like to call it, “little bites of heaven!” Okay, maybe this isn’t just a Midwest delicacy, but I had never experienced such happiness on my taste buds till moving here! I couldn’t believe I went my whole life never having Puppy Chow. If you’re reading this now and haven’t tried this scrumptious treat, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Also known as, the reason for my mini heart attack on the first Tuesday of every month. While I’m glad the sirens are in place, and working… we don’t have these on the east coast. Let’s just say that I may have to do breathing exercises after the fact.
Thankfully, the weather has been a little more gracious to us this year than it was last. However, if there’s a change for snow, Midwesterners don’t seem bat an eye at weather. In Virginia specifically, if the weatherman is calling for even two inches of snow, the governor will declare a state of emergency, and the whole state shuts down. There is no such thing as a snow day out here, which makes this Southern Belle very sad.
Getting stuck behind a tractor is a completely acceptable reason to be late to school. Coming from a farming community myself, I can absolutely relate. Commuters in the country, I feel your pain.
SO MUCH CORN
Don’t get me wrong, I come from a small farming community in central Virginia, but I have never seen so much corn till I came here. The cornfields stretch for miles. I have mad respect for the farmers, during harvest season.
HIGH SCHOOL MASCOTS
Some of the high schools in Illinois specifically, have very unique mascot names including, The New Berlin Pretzels, Centralia Orphans, and the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes. It makes me wish my high school was more creative. Although, I’m sure it would create for awkward conversation.
“I’m an Orphan!”
“Sorry, my high school…”
Abraham Lincoln: Sixteenth president of the United States, the Emancipation Proclamation, and now Daniel Day Lewis thanks to Hollywood. In other words, he is the bee’s knees. According to some of my friends who grew up in Illinois specifically, Lincoln was almost worshiped during their grade school years. (And why not? He’s awesome!) When I was in grade school we focused more on George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, just to name a few. (Granted the three presidents were from Virginia.)
Sic Semper Tyrannis, am I right?
While I’ve only been here two years, I have been very blessed to experience the “Midwest Life.” Even though I miss having snow days, and good sweet tea, Illinois and the Midwest has a whole, has definitely found a special place in my heart.