Notes from the Trail: Year 2


I didn’t mean for a year to pass without updating.  Well, that’s ok; I have a lot to write. This blog post will be about things I’ve come to appreciate about living here:

  • According to Wikipedia, Kansas is officially home of the South Midland American English dialect (there are folks that have accents from other places though).  Sayings like “out of pocket” or “get back with you” remind me every time that language is fluid, dynamic, and evolving. The fact that hip hop slang is not common also remind me that agriculture still defines the culture here despite the influences from industries like manufacturing and aviation.
  • The cultural differences are no longer shocking and annoying.  I’ve just accepted the way of life here is what makes Kansas home to some and antagonistic to others.  I’ll just keep opinions to myself.
  • I like that the sun shines most of the year.  Never mind that it gets to be 100 degrees regularly in the summer; I like that it is warm and bright.
  • I truly understand now the differences between Democrats and Republicans are more than “family-values,” climate change and religion.  It is culture and way of life.  Read What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank (or watch the documentary) to understand the nuances.
  • There are parts of the country, I realize now, that don’t believe science is a legitimate pursuit (opting instead for Intelligent Design). It is parts of the country like here where I observe that extremists exist in all religions–The Westboro Baptist Church is from Kansas and consider themselves as justified as jihadists do in other religions.
  • Most of the time people are fully clothed.  You couldn’t always count on that in Oregon.
  • By living here, I’m different than MOST of the rest of the US and this gives me an different perspective. I know what chicken and waffles are now and can tell by the sky if a tornado is coming.  I have also seen grasshoppers as long as my palm and black swallowtails that mesmerize by their size. I saw my first cicada, carpet cricket, and black widow spider here.
  • Since agriculture is a huge driver of the economy,  the onset of harvest and yields of wheat, corn, and soybean make the front page headlines. Or when crops are lost to a tornado or drought.  Farmers’ success (or failures) portends to any observer of meat and other foods’ prices in the months to come. That makes Kansas more of the “heartland” to the rest of the country than just in geographical sense.
  • Finally,  I really like the house we bought.  We paid it off lickety-split and have been updating and improving it. So I’m glad for the affordability of living here.  This has given me not only a beautiful place to live, but I’ve fulfilled something on my bucket list by renovating this 100-year old home.

Wichita is really trying to enter the modern age by conducting community-wide surveys on preferences and needs to make the community more walkable, bikeable, and liveable.  I commend their efforts and look forward to watching things take shape.


Downtown Wichita retains its Wild West charm


2 thoughts on “Notes from the Trail: Year 2

  1. cheri

    I’ve been enjoying your blog. I am the author of Since it has been less than two months since we left Oregon I am glad to read that things can improve with time. Congratulations on finding a home you love. That is what we are struggling with right now as we have decided to rent for the first year. I hope you continue to adjust to your new environment. I used to live in Portland and loved that city. I would be homesick too :/

    • Hi Cheri,
      Nice to hear from you! I was delighted to find your blog as well since we seemed to have a few things in common. I will not mince words: My first year was so very hard. We rented as well until we found a home to buy. I have moved and traveled before but this last time was different than before; maybe it gets harder when you are trying to have a career. Anyway, I am now following your blog and hope we can support each other and share insights! Good luck and glad to have you on the trail! -Kris

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