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A year in
February 7, 2013 - David Alexander
I have been in Iowa now for just over a year. Although I have gotten more or less accustomed to it, there are still some differences that continue to confound me. For instance, people eat meatloaf in restaurants. I can understand places like Perkins that cater to a little older crowd serving meat loaf, but I am talking about other establishments like the Tremont. Many people—young people—like meatloaf around here.
Also on the food front, I didn’t know chicken and noodles was a dish people ate. Similarly, my co-workers in the newsroom had to convince me for like 10 minutes one day that farmers call lunch “dinner” and dinner” supper.” It still doesn’t make sense to me.
The term “small town” means something entirely different to people in Iowa. To me, Marshalltown is a small town. However, people will say “it’s a decent sized town” when they mean the town has like 10,000 people in it.
Some things, though, I have noticed seem to be universal. Everyone talks about the weather as if their state is the only one ever to get rain/snow/sleet. People say “This is Iowa” when talking about how mercurial the weather can be. They say the same thing in Michigan.
Also, everybody thinks the roads are horrible. This is funny to me because one of the first things I noticed when I moved her was how great the roads are by comparison. Everyone thinks parking is a problem. Someone who works for the city once told me when people say “There is not enough parking downtown” they mean “There is not enough parking downtown … in front of the store I want to go to.”
It’s hard to tell if I am adjusting to the differences or if I am becoming more acutely aware of them as time wanes on. Consequently, I am unsure if there is a point where I will accept these idiosyncrasies as the status quo or if they will always seem weird to me. _____