By: KENDALL ASBELL
If you had asked me four years ago what I thought I would be doing in 2017, the last thing I would have said was, “I think I’ll be living in South Bend, Ind., and going back to college for a mass communications degree focused on public relations and pursuing a minor in photojournalism.”
But here I am. In Indiana, doing just that. And although the nightmare is almost over, and I will soon be returning to the land of palm trees, sushi surplus and homeless hippies reciting poetry (California), there are several things living in Indiana has taught me, like…
I never knew you could fry a ravioli. I realize that the Midwest loves their fried foods, but it had all been stuff I’d heard of, like chicken wings, mozzarella sticks and even pickle chips. But raviolis? The idea had never occurred to me, despite my several-year background in the culinary arts.
Not every state requires that a bathroom have a toilet seat cover. I guess this is common in most states, but it still catches me off guard. Every restroom in California requires you have toilet seat covers, I never knew what I was taking for granted.
There are people in the United States who have never seen an ocean. I guess this is obvious, but since I had always lived within an hour from the Pacific Ocean, I had never met anyone who had never seen it. I actually don’t even like going to the ocean, but it is definitely something everyone should see at least once in their life.
I learned what a gun looks like. During my short two and a half years in Indiana, I have seen and learned more about guns than in all my 27 years in California. They still scare me, and I have yet to shoot one, but maybe before I leave the state I’ll work up the courage to try it out… maybe.
The first day I bought groceries in Indiana, and I didn’t have to pay 10 cents for every bag I used, I was flabbergasted. For the last several years, bag tax (created to cut down on waste) had been part of my life. Remembering reusable tote bags when I went grocery shopping was necessary. Although this was slightly annoying, I did like it because I enjoy helping the environment, I won’t mind going back to it honestly.
I now know what it means to be a Cubs fan. I had always known that the Chicago Cubs had one of the greatest fan bases of all sporting teams in American history. But this summer I spent three months living in Chicago and I finally got to feel a fierce spirit and love for a team that I had never seen before. Go, Cubs, go!
Before I moved to Indiana, I couldn’t tell you the difference between a Pilsner and an IPA. But after this short time, I feel like a beer connoisseur, sniffing and tasting my way through flights, commenting on hop content and flavor undertones. Indiana has taught me to appreciate beer in a whole new way.
So there you have it. I’m a small town girl from Northern California (that’s where all your weed and wine come from) who dreamed of a life in the city. After several years in San Francisco, and then Monterey Bay (Pebble Beach, for you golfers), I had accumulated five associate degrees in the culinary arts, acting, directing, technical theatre, and massage therapy.
In 2012 my calling was to Los Angeles where I moved to Hollywood and worked as a spa manager and massage therapist at the luxury gym Equinox. I wasn’t planning on meeting the love of my life there, but I did, and after just six months he whisked me away to South Bend in the happy pursuit of Law School at Notre Dame.
I move back to California this summer, and while I am very excited to go, I will always remember the time spent in the Midwest where I learned about a different kind of America and way of living than I had always known on the West Coast. Thank you for having me, I’ll think of you often, while I’m lying in the sun, near a pool, drinking a properly made Sangria, thinking about which vegan restaurant I want to eat at today.