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life in the mid west.... !!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by halifax, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. halifax

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    I'm very curious about this phenomenon among americans in general - what's up with this hang up about the mid west - I've heard so many times now stuff like - oh for mid west its not bad and oh the only draw back is its in the mid west etc.

    could you all shed some light on this and other similar comments....am a FMG and am curious and live in chicago. any comments and clarifications are welcome.:D:D:smuggrin::smuggrin::confused:
     
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    There is no doubt that Chicago is a great city but you're right, there is a lot of disparagement about living in the midwest. I should know, I've made some of those comments. No doubt you will get lots of rebuttals about how wonderful the midwest is, but since that wasn't your question, the drawbacks are:

    the weather:
    - winter can be a horribly, airport closing, cold and wet disaster
    - summer is humid and in some places, filled with mosquitos

    conservative political mores:
    - relatively more racial and sexual intolerance which some may find stifling

    lack of sophistication
    - outside of urban centers like Chicago, finding a foreign film, ritzy new restaurants, and other sources of entertainment can be difficult
    - stereotypically, the populace thinks Applebees and Olive Garden are fine cuisine
    - affinity for mullets, Oakley sunglasses and monster truck rallies (and driving a big truck even if have nothing to haul and aren't a farmer)

    relative lack of education
    - fewer college grads and single people than on the coasts
    - high rates of obesity, unhealthy lifestyles

    But the people who grew up in the midwest can imagine nowhere else they'd rather be. So there must be something in the water there.:laugh:

    NB: I have nothing against the midwest and some of the above comments/stereotypes can certainly be made about my hometown in California (where the Olive Garden was always voted "Best Eye-talian" restaurant in the paper).
     
  4. Obnoxious Dad

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    In many respects life is much better in the midwest than either of the coasts especially if you are interested in having a family. Single people are seduced by New York, Boston, LA and San Francisco but just try to have a dual career marriage and children in a metro area where commutes take forever. In Milwaukee the average commute is about 25 minutes. How would that compare with New York?

    Furthermore the cost of living in the midwest is much lower and with the exception of Detroit, Chicago and St Louis the crime rates tend to be much lower in the midwest than the cities on the coasts.

    Furthermore in many of the midwestern states your kids can get a much better publicly susbsidized higher education than you'd get in New York or Massachusetts.
     
  5. danzman

    danzman The Ace of Spades
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    I have lived all over, Texas and Oklahoma are the best places to have a family in the country, Cheap houses, low tax, high physician income potential, and good schools. (not really mid-west but...)
     
  6. IndyXRT

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    My thoughts, as a person raised in the midwest (Indiana):
    I can't disagree with the weather comment. However, few places have perfect weather (excepting the coast of California).

    The conservative political mores are certainly present, although if you stick to the larger cities, this isn't such an issue.

    The presence of entertainment varies depending on location and what you consider to be entertainment. For example, the town I grew up in had nothing so fancy as an Olive Garden, but the city I live in now has plenty of things to do.

    Mullets and Oaklies were fads of the early 1990s, although I'm sad to say that monster truck rallies can still be found.

    The midwest can be a difficult place to live as a single person in your late 20s and 30s, because many people get married straight out of college or high school.

    The high rates of obesity are true, but I promise that we won't force feed you Twinkies if you come here.

    All in all, I haven't found this to be a bad place to live, but it is certainly a very different life from what you would have on the east or west coast.
     
  7. jumpingjax

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    This post should be stickied b/c it is right on. Great and accurate post!

    I've lived in the Northeast, MidAtlantic, and in California at various times in my life. I spent one year in the $h1t hole called the midwest and everything in the above post is true. Chicago (downtown) is the only exception.

    I can't tolerate ignorance and the lack of education and sophistication in the midwest is appaling. Obesity - ha, classic! I have never seen so many unhealthy people in my life.

    Sorry to anyone from the midwest, but the quoted post was just so right on to what I experienced in my time there that I had to comment.
     
  8. yaah

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    To each his/her own, that's all that really matters.

    The midwest is not more intolerant than anywhere else. There are pockets of it everywhere. Generally people spin things to fit their biases.

    I spent most of the first 25 years of my life on the east cost, and the last 6 in the midwest. I don't want to go back east. There are things I like about it, and things I don't. I have spent a bunch of time in california, and wouldn't live there for almost any sum of money. I mean, I grew up in massachusetts - sure, there are smart people, there are also loads and loads of complete morons. There are also loads and loads of unhealthy people.

    Personally, I can't fathom why anyone who has spent more than 20 minutes in New York would ever want to live there - but that's my opinion. Same with SF or LA. No way. Life is just so much better where I am. Cultural opportunities may be a bit more widely scattered, but that's how things are going to be when you are not packed into a city. But to be honest, there are times I could get to downtown chicago quicker than someone who lives in the suburbs, and I'm 300 miles away. I also want to live in a place with actual seasons and not different types of summer.

    The truth is that a lot of people who badmouth the midwest have never really spent any time there, same as how a lot of people who badmouth the coasts have never spent any time there. And there will always conversely be locals who hate where they live and can't wait to get out. It all depends on what you like and how you want to live.
     
  9. dragonfly99

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    <The truth is that a lot of people who badmouth the midwest have never really spent any time there, same as how a lot of people who badmouth the coasts have never spent any time there. And there will always conversely be locals who hate where they live and can't wait to get out. It all depends on what you like and how you want to live. >

    This right on. OP, what people tell you about the Midwest is basically just their stereotypical view of the Midwest, and most don't know what they are talking about. Take it with a grain of salt. Every place you can live has its good points and bad point. Every place. I have lived in the Midwest and in other places, and I disagree that people are more ignorant there and that the level of education sucks. I think it all depends on where you are talking about also. The level of education in some places is very, very high (Madison, Wisconsin, for example).

    In terms of finances, one could certainly live a more comfortable lifestyle as a trainee in the Midwest or South (particularly if one has a family). One would also very likely have a much shorter commute to and from work (unless perhaps you live in Chicago).

    A lot of your lifestyle will depend on whether you live in a large city vs. not. Obviously the cultural events, etc. are going to be much more numerous if you live in Chicago or St. Louis than if you live in a small town in Missouri or Nebraska.

    The rates of obesity are high in some places in the Midwest, but the highest rates of obesity and diabetes are actually in the South. I believe Mississippi and Alabama have the highest obesity rates right now...

    The average age of getting married is lower in the Midwest and South than in places like New York City, so it is true that if you are a 30 something who isn't married, it's kind of a different situation than being in some big city on the east coast and not married. However, if you are living in one of the bigger cities in the Midwest, particularly some place with universitiest, etc., then there are certainly going to be other single your professionals, grad students, etc.

    The weather is going to vary a lot depending on where you live. I personally don't think I am tough enough to live in the upper Midwest (like Michigan or Wisconsin) but the weather in southern Illinois or southern Missouri is quite different than the weather in those places, and I could certainly live in the latter places.

    As evidenced by the extremely stereotypical and biased comments about the Midwest on this thread, the supposed higher level of "sophistication" and education of some people in the East and West doesn't seem to have made them more open-minded.
     
  10. bigDinLV

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    Wow, I was born and raised in the midwest and that is rather disrespectful. I guess for a lack of education we better not mention some of the world class hospitals in Chicago or Washington in St. Louis.

    The lack of sophisitication can be seen in any area with trailer parks.. I meet some equally trashy people when I lived in CA.

    Weather statements are true.

    And what is wrong with conservative values?
     
  11. sandraf

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    I lived in Florida, and now I live in the Midwest. Although the weather is better there, nothing would make me move back. I feel much safer here. People go to the grocery store and don't lock their cars. They are much more polite, they drive better, life is cheaper. Great for raising a family.
    But I think the stereotype exists and I can see why. It's funny, it may offend, and as any other one, it's not always true.
     
  12. Winged Scapula

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    C'mon...I think your response and the others to me is rather disrespectful.

    The OP asked why he heard negative things about the midwest. The OP is an FMG and honestly wanted to know what the stereotypes were. I was the only one here who actually answered his questions.

    My post was not an attack on the midwest; I have spent many many years (likely more than you've been alive) in Chicago, St. Louis and Michigan and simply offered to the OP what the common stereotypes are. You can google "midwest stereotypes" yourself and find that my comments are echoed by others.

    If you read my post, you'll see that I clearly said that these were stereotypes and that these exist elsewhere. Of course there are trashy people in California; you'll find them in Manhattan as well. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I didn't return to home to a job in California near my family was for some of the same reasons - love of Olive Garden, big trucks, people with no more than a HS education (who couldn't understand the fact that I loved school), etc. Now Arizona is pretty politically conservative which bothers me but honestly there is a lot less open racism here than I saw in PA, NJ or Michigan.

    Conservative values are a problem for people who don't share them and for those who hold them and try to force them on others. Pockets of California and the NE also have conservative values, but many people find that these values do not resonate with their needs or lifestyles. If they fit your needs, then that's great...but to deny that others do not care for conservative politics and societal mores is ignorant.

    And its not valid to point out large academic institutions as evidence of the education in the midwest. The fact is that the average person in Indiana or Missouri, etc. has less education than the average person in Massachusetts or NY. Are there opportunities for education in the midwest? Obviously but my comment was not that there aren't wonderful hospitals and institutions of higher learning but that Joe Six Pack lives in the mid-west (or Alaska) and not the UE side. Are there idiots everywhere? Of course. Just as there are obese people everywhere (and BTW, Pennsylvania usually tops the list for fattest people in the US).

    I feared when I responded that this thread would become a forum for users to post what they love about the midwest. But that wouldn't answer the original poster's query, would it? I suggest people actually read the OP's query and ask themselves how they have helped this user rather than attack me for posting what are WIDELY held views of the midwest - true or not.
     
  13. bigDinLV

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    Then please point out to me where I said anything disrespectful about you or the place you were born and raised... Wait, I DIDN'T!!!!!!!!
     
  14. J-Rad

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    I agree with the existence of the stereotypes above (and, as alluded to by Winged, they are just that: stereotypes). I also agree that these stereotypes, in truth, exist everywhere, although one can objectively say that Mississippi is the fattest and least educated state (at least the worst public education in the country)...but that's neither here or there.
    I too am a MA native (little town in the middle of the state), so I've seen the Midwest, where I'm doing my fellowship, from the eyes of an outsider.
    One stereotype I've heard (mostly from my native Midwestern wife) is that Midwesterners tend to be very indirect. They're hesitant to ever say no or that they don't like something. While this is just ONE person's experience, I've ofetn found this to be true (this has lead to a few amusing moments with my inlaws when I've had to send something back at a restaurant:))
     
  15. Winged Scapula

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    Hmm...please point out to me where I disrespected you.

    I have never made any comments about you personally nor should you take my comments which were simply a restating of midwestern stereotypes available widely elsewhere as being directed toward you or the place you were born. Since you seem to assume that these comments are disrespectful, may I note that you said "I met trashy people in California". Quel horror! How dare you insult my state! :rolleyes:

    If you choose to assume that I disrepected you by simply pointing out what other people are saying, then I cannot help that. Your response to me was disrespectful because you still seem to be assuming that those stereotypes are held by me and are a reflection of the type of person I am.

    This is ludicrous. You and the others are taking this way too personally. The OP asked a question, I provided the answer. My experience is NO LESS valid than yours of California. No one else, except J-Rad, has provided any information to the OP about what the stereotypes of the midwest are and why people make these comments to him.
     
  16. Doowai

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    Ok, mostly I am arguing for the fun of arguing - being a midwesterner who relocated. I will say the midwest is a good place to find a inexpensive home and pay it off in a safe neighborhood
     
    #15 Doowai, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  17. elresidante

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    Having grown up in a town of 150,000 in the midwest I must say there are many things here people might consider advantagous - nice people, affordable houses, low crime, good schools, low traffic.

    Lacking in some places are cultural diversity and warm weather.

    If you go to a bigger city (Minneapolis, St Paul, Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis) the balance will tip the other way - for better or for worse. If you go to a college/university town you can get some of the best of both worlds.

    Also, the midwest typically pays better than the east coast, west coast, and the south.

    And lot of people move closer to where their families are, as that is important also.

    I am strongly considering staying in the midwest when I'm done training, and planning on using the extra cash to go on vacay and buy a nice care or two:)
     
  18. doc20

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    Physician salaries are always higher in the dirty south than anywhere else in the country
     
  19. J-Rad

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    (In total agreement with the above) Seriously, people, lighten up! We could all put together a list of stereotypes of any area of the country...

    OK this is a little off the original topic, but for others in the MW, have you noticed that people are a little...umm, larger than life. I don't mean fat (I haven't really found the midwest any more overweight than any other place I've been...far less than VA and MS, where I was previously). Seriously, I've never been to a place with more women over 6' than here. It's like the land of the giants. If I were single and had a problem with tall women, I might see that as a downside to the MW:D
     
  20. halifax

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    Thanks winged scapula and JRad and Doowai - here's what a foreigner thinks of midwest - having lived in a university town for nearly 2 years before moving to chicago well here are my observations of mid west:

    nice things:

    - people are polite and nice mostly
    - haven't heard a gun shot in 2 years
    - cheap cost of living
    - good diner food

    not so nice things:

    - weather (for some)
    - less permissive society than say LA or NY or Europe
    - not many social outlet

    but as was mentioned earlier well apart from east coast and LA & SF well I would think it would be more or less same life style in all other parts of this country taking into consideration local factors like weather and local political preferences and demographics.

    I do feel more confident of staying back in the mid west after hearing that its not a terrible place after all:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
  21. 3dtp

    3dtp Senior Member
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    Have they run out of bullets in Detroit?

    And I'm going to be the next senator from Illinois...gave him a sixpack and a fifty....He appointed someone else?????

    How do you tell an honest Illinois politician? One that stays bought.

    This is all said tongue in cheek. The reality is that the midwest does have much to offer in a variety of ways. Michigan and Ohio have wonderful geography and gore-tex will make the wettest rainiest days much more comfortable. The great lakes are fabulous playgrounds. Cleveland Columbus and Cincinnati have great museums and orchestras as does even Detroit. Wisconsin also has lovely rolling terrain and impressive hiking trails and rock formations as well as Lake Michigan. Minnesota has some of the best snow/snow sports around outside of the mountains for snow shoeing cross country skiing, hundreds of miles of biking trails/roller blading/snowmobile trails built on old railroad tracks. Iowa and Nebraska have I80 to get you to Colorado faster, and biking west to east across the Dakotas through the grain fields is a blast with a good tail wind.

    My native state had a cold climate, lots of fog and waters so cold that the tourists wouldn't swim, but that didn't stop the hordes from arriving every July from New York or Montreal. Winters were brutal but we still headed up the mountains to ski.

    I've lived near ole Doc Winged and hated the desert when I first moved there. It was hot, dry and really got upset when they closed the mountain bike trails for fire danger in the summer. And there's no shortage of gunfire in Albuquerque. But, I had the best times there and learned about chile verde and chile rojo. Now, I fill the baggage bay of the plane with the stuff every time I visit. For the right opportunity, I'd move back there in a Nyew Yawk minute. (sorry NY'ers).

    When I moved to the midwest from the southwest, my first thought was I'd entered a rain forest, everything was so green and moist.

    I think that most places are nice, even California, if you are willing to look around a bit and appreciate the wonders around you.
     
  22. flumazenil

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    guys lets all be grownups here and let us bash whatever we want to bash without being so damn PC all the time.
    I am a 26 y/o male with no PMH..jkjk anyways im 26 m and single and i live in the midwest...let me tell you this place is an absolute SH%thole.

    Why i dont like the midwest from my observation
    1)kids out of hs or college have already formed their group of friends and loved ones and never dare to venture outside their little realm or clique
    2) it is all homogenous either all white or all black but no mixing of areas like east or west coast
    3)few good cities to let loose and meet other people ..chicago and columbus ohio come to mind..detroit is absolute garbage
    4)not many progessive thinkers
    5) the people in the midwest may be nice but they are generally not as accepting as people in the south..
    6) midwestern girls get fat by 25

    i could go on but these are what bug me
     
  23. Doowai

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    My story - I went to undergrad and my first grad school in a larger midwest city, grew up in a rural college town. Got on a plane my final year of grad school to go see a girlfriend who had just moved out west - it was 25 below zero when i got on the plane in the midwest and 80 degrees when i got off the plane. I moved out west upon graduation. The girlfriend thing did not work out, but I found my future wife - married and have been married now ~20 years. Our first year of marriage we live in that beloved western large city and loved it.

    But then my first child was born and the western city I loved now looked like a polluted crime filled hellhole when seen through the eyes of a father. We moved back to a small town in the midwest (population ~3000) to raise our children in "Mayberry" to raise our family around Andy Griffith and Barney Fife. On the move back to the midwest we were listening to Paul Harvey, and he mentioned the towns with the highest teen pregnancies - ours was listed. We looked at each other, in our Ford Tempo pulling a U-haul with gaping mouths. We had rented a house sight unseen, and when we pulled into town it was ironically located next to a grocery market called "Mayberry RFD" - named after the store owners whose last name happened to be Mayberry.

    My first customer in town in my new business was an 11 year old girl who was already using meth and was turning tricks at the local truck stop. Both her parents were ex-cons. Another town, 16 miles away was on MTV's television series called "Sex in the 90's" comparing the sex lives of the small town kids to those in New York - the small town midwestern kids blew the NY kids away..,..,.. far more sex (hence the high teen pregnancy). Then Barabara Walters and Hugh Downs did a show on our police department. There had been an old lady murdered in a nearby town. They police forced a ******ed boy to sign a confession to the murder and he went to prison for several years. But for some reason the police recorded the "interrogation" , which obviously showed they coerced the confession. Why they would record themselves forcing a ******ed boy to confess to a murder, and how Barabara Walters got ahold of it - I don't know. Their show helped free the wrongly convicted boy. Then John Stossell did a show on our town/area showing it was a national meth manufacturing capital. I could tell you so many more things.

    We moved back to the western city I loved - with its gangs, pollutions, horrible traffic etc. The only real environment that matters is the one you create in your home. We lived in that troubled little town - and I know I influenced the town for good. One day I took that 11 year old girl, sat her down and made her cry and cry and cry as I painted a verbal discription of her life for the next 20 years - she went to church by herself and they sent her on a "mission" to get her away from her parents - she came back to town a few years later and thanked me for saving her life. The very first time I met her she had PID from turning tricks, now she was happy healthy and clean. I have had people from the town drive out here to visit us and several have called me as well.

    That little town was full of all sort of sordid things, but other than dealing with these people on a professional level - it never touched my life or the life of my family. Because our real environment was behind the doors of our home.

    We moved back to my beloved western city and there are gangs, and violence, and drugs and some crooked cops etc - but we feel almost none of it. My son is graduating high school and has done 2 years of college calculus, taken college level calculus based physics (not agebraic physics where you memorize equations, being calculus based you derive the equations for each problem). He has been selected to go to Europe as an amabassador and attended school leadership conferences and been a state swim champion (his dad - me- followed in his footsteps and was the state swim champ 50 m freestyle in 2007). My oldest daughter is the youngest person in state history to take college level credit courses in the public school - she finished her K-8 elementary school math program in the 4th grade. She has been a national art champion, state math champion, and carries roughly a 4.9 on a 4.0 scale in high school (college credit AP classes can count for 5 points). She is a school officer and a state level high school representative (one of 4 chosen out of the entire state). My youngest daughter is in the gifted program of her elementary school. My youngest boy can burp like a 215 LB man and can burp not only the alphabet but popular songs.

    This sounds like braggin and may be, but the point is - your real environment is what you create in your personal home life. I realize that many of you are young single 20-something traditional medical students and have no families other than mom and dad - but I too was single until I was 29 when I got married - and living in one of the larger midwestern cities while going to school, I had already learned to create a peaceful happy personal life.

    Its not so much where you live but how you choose to live.
     
    #22 Doowai, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  24. superoxide

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    That really cracked me up! :lol:
     
  25. J-Rad

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    Doo: Umm, thanks for sharing that touching story about something that had nothing to do with the original question but seemed to be an attempt to illustrate what everyone in past posts on this thread already said:sleep: (JK ;))

    (Just to spare another this-is-why-I-love-where-I-live, unnecessary response-I have seen the charm in every place I've lived; even Biloxi and the Hampton Roads area of VA, both places that are tough for some to love. And I actually like the Midwest quite a bit). Last stereotype I've encountered of the MW (at least the last I can think of for now): Midwesterners (outside of the urban areas, which seem to defy all of the above stereotypes) are a dour bunch. Many farmers in the MW, and farming is a tough life. Conversation tends to revolve around how bad things are, who died, who's in jail, and who's out to get who.

    So now, since we all want to be fair and point out how much we love where we live and where we come from and how everybody else has its fair share of Dill Holes:

    Other Regional Stereotypes:
    -New England
    Snooty or overly gregarious drunk Irishmen from Boston
    Elitist, even if either of above
    Secretly racist
    Aggressive drivers
    Like to use the F-word in place of commas
    Norther Maine is the exception-just "The South" of the North (Southern Maine is just Northern Massachusetts, and Mass just defines the rest of the area. And Rhode Island...screw 'em, everyone hates Rhode Islanders)
    -South
    Openly racist
    Hillbilly
    Fat and uneducated
    -California
    The definition of flaky and self absorbed
    -Texas (its own region, cuz it's just that g'dammed big and obnoxious)
    Like the south, but slightly more edumucated, and definitely more arrogant.
    Pacific NWest
    Earthy, crunchy, and way too hippie.

    Honestly can't think of anything for the southwest, except for Utah (I just picture a million of 18 year old boys in short sleeve dress shirts, ties, dark pants riding their mountain bikes [always with a helmet on] and their "Elder Mordichai" badges on) or the Mid-Atlantic (except Jersey, New York's leech field). Any thoughts?
    Her's to being an equal opportunity offender. Anyone care to add to the list?
     
  26. J-Rad

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    #25 J-Rad, Jan 3, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  27. Doowai

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    post #24 - Jrad so thoroughly enjoyed his own post he had to post it again as post #25. Kind of the New York New York of posts ;)

    Southwest : NM and AZ, transplants in search of something. If they have lived there 2 years they are considered "natives".

    The Carolinas : do not believe the civil war is truly over yet, but are glad to play a game of golf while waiting for the temporary truce to end

    Arkansas : incest is best. Riddle: if a man and wife married in Arkansas move to California and get a divorce, are they still legally brother and sister?

    Hawaii : flowered shirt, short and flip flop wearing people with permanent grins
     
  28. cali-ob

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    I have been in the midwest now for 5 years in Ohio and I must say that 1 and 2 are very true. It is hard to make friends who are natives here because of number 1 specifically, and #2, well, being from california, I wondered where all of the Asian and Mexican people were at.
     
  29. J-Rad

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    The Mexicans are in Ottumwa and Postville, Iowa.
    Ahh, Ottumwa. The poster town for the meth epidemic. Maybe the "heart of meth" could be another MW stereotype.
     
  30. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker pepper needs new shorts
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    ...
     
    #29 johnnywalker, Jan 3, 2009
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  31. dragonfly99

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    Well, there is quite a bit of ethnic diversity in most of the bigger cities in the Midwest.
    There are definitely hispanics around in a lot of places (not just the larger cities) but a good number of them are migrant farm workers and/or construction workers.
    It is definitely true that there aren't as many Asians and Asian-Americans as there are out in California, but then there aren't as many of them in the South or Southeast, or probably in New England, as there are in California either.

    Good posts by 3dtp and doowai.
     
  32. J-Rad

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    Just so I'm not misunderstood: I really like the Midwest. Like I said, every region has its stereotypes and every region has those that will live up to those stereotypes and many more who will defy them. And many will do both, like the Midwesterner who IS insular and mistrusting of outsiders (actually, something of a stereotype shared with New Englanders) who, with a little time, opens up and is far more open, warm, and generous than you realize at first.
    When selecting a fellowship, being able to come to the area I came to played into the decision. This is a great place to raise a family, the people are nice, the public schools are good in my area...all the good stuff everybody said. Truthfully, even the winters are milder than where I grew up (but three years of mild VA winters have made me soft and squishy when it comes to cold and snow). One thing that wasn't mentioned: I find the landscape beautiful (the rolling hills, fields, rustic farms). I also love exploring things that are unique to a region, however trivial. Whodda thunk that one of the cooler stores you could go into would be the local "Tractor Supply Company" where you can pick up a nice pair of boots, some fashionable John Deere clothes, a toy for the kids and some parts for the plow.
    As for ethnic diversity, obviously the big cities have plenty. But the smaller cities and larger towns are getting some as well. My observation has been that any town with some larger industrial plant does have its fair share of immigrant workers. Postville was the location of Agriprocessors which, as people might remember, was raided for its use of illegal immigrant labor (and the town has suffered for it). Ottumwa, where my wife is from, also has a large Mexican population most of whom work at the local hog slaughtering plant. In towns like these, I haven't seen the "diversity" extend much past that. There is a diversity that some don't think of: lots of Amish and Mennonites in certain areas; people with a very different lifestyle than most.
    So if anyone misunderstood my response to the original question as a slight against the Midwest, apologies. Having lived in the NE, SE, and MW and visited CA, I can say that the Midwest is one of my favorites.
     
  33. medicienne

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    I am an FMG and since I moved in the USA , I have lived in the Southeast, Southwest, CA Bay Area, and Chicago area. I have visited NE states and coastal California too, so have a good idea of the differences in cultures between different states.
    About the only negative thing I can say about the Midwest is the severe winters, and maybe the lack of mountains ( which others may not miss). Otherwise there is great diversity in the area, several ethnic neighborhoods (which means great variety of cuisines!), and so much opportunity in Chicago area. Having this diversity also mean people are generally aware of other cultures, which is a positive thing.
    Maybe if it's a smaller, sleepy town, the weather & lack of things -to-do can really get to you.
    The people are definitely great here and I enjoyed my time here. The only reason I would move out of here is for my love of sunny outdoorsy life- I can't stand the severe winters forever!
     
    #32 medicienne, Jan 4, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  34. Doowai

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    Have you ever been to a Bass Pro Shop - Fish tanks so big they send a scuba diver in several times a day to feed gigantic fish by hand, as well as taxidermied Polar bear, bison, etc. You can pick up a crossbow, a k-bar and mucklucks in one stop - then eat at the upstairs cafeteria.
     
  35. DrThom

    DrThom Thundercat
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    Can we please talk about the unfair rap the Olive Garden is getting in this discussion? Sure, its not five-star dining but unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks for $5.95? DELICIOUS. I spend more in our hospital cafeteria for food of much suckier quality.
     
  36. bjackrian

    bjackrian Senior Member
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    :thumbup::clap: Totally agree.
     
  37. Winged Scapula

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    The point was not that Olive Garden makes bad food or that it isn't a reasonable value but to rate it as "best Italian" or fine dining is, IMHO, a mistake in almost every case. I agree that its not bad but even in the smallest of towns, there is generally a family owned Italian restaurant which has better food.
     
  38. IndyXRT

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    In the town I grew up in (~18,000), we had to drive a little over an hour to get to an Olive Garden. Just for some perspective. They do have a better selection of eateries now, but still no Italian.
     
  39. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    I grew up in the same size town in California.

    We didn't have an Olive Garden either but there was Rosa's Italian which was great. A little Bennie and the Jets on the jukebox and her homemade lasagna - Yum!!!
     
  40. Raggaman

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    I have lived in the NE, the midwest and now currently the west. What I can tell the OP is that if you are someone who likes his ethnic background and want to see droves of people from your country, then you might have a harder time. Kansas City and St Louis offer various ethnic opportunities, but nothing in the scale of chicago or NYC. I spent time in a very small town (around 15K) about 200 miles from a major city. This place lacked 'decent' restaurants and Walmart was the most happening place in town. People were simpler, nicer and wore more cameo than you were comfortable with. Life was also cheaper, slower paced and relaxed. No one was ever in a hurry on the road or in the stores. It was severely lacking in diversity and anyone not of a Caucasian descent or dressed differently was definitely stared at - not in hate but more for curiosity. Overall, I liked it for a small amount time but didn't want to live there longer. If you end up in a 'bigger' city like KC, then you wont be disappointed as I think its a very nice place to live in.

    FYI: I have been to a monster truck rally, country fairs, local country music venues and other such 'country' places where I was the only 'ferner' and I can tell you that it was great experience! Its a culture of its own. :)
     
    #39 Raggaman, Jan 4, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  41. PeepshowJohnny

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    I doubt it.
     
  42. BlondeDocteur

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    I find it interesting that in proffering these stereotypes, everyone really seems to have drunk the Establishmentarian Kool-Aid. Regional stereotypes, as I like to say, are the "last socially acceptable prejudice." It is perfectly fine in polite, well-educated, well-travelled circles to make horrible, ass-backwards comments about the vast swath of the country not bordering on an ocean-- and to actually believe them!

    These stereotypes are largely engendered by the same upper middle class, highly educated, white elite which arbitrates the rest of our culture. These people-- half of whom were probably born in Nebraska-- enjoy their urban bicoastal life and recoil with horror when confronted with the specter of living in fly-over country. So examine the stereotypes above: people in the Northeast are "snooty and insular," whereas the South and Midwest are full of dangerously unhinged, racist ******s. Hmmm.

    It's also interesting how the sacred cow of Culture is so damn selectively applied. The Midwest, the South, rural America-- they have a culture. A distinct, ultra-American, culture that in fact is more 'authentic' than life in a large American city, with its globalized influence. Many people sneering at the Midwest's tractor pulls and agrarian life will pay many thousands of dollars to fly to less-developed regions of the world and marvel in similarly family-centric, homogenous, land-rooted cultures abroad. I suppose the people Over There are dissimilar enough that the Establishmentarians feel they couldn't possibly reflect poorly on them.

    That being said-- the comments above (ethnic homogeneity, lower %age of people with a bachelor's degree, lack of world-class restaurants) applies to rural life, regardless of locale. Don't confuse the urban/rural split with true regionalism. If you feel you would be unhappy in a small town, it really doesn't matter much if that town is in Vermont, 4 hours from Boston, or South Dakota, 4 hours from Minneapolis.
     
  43. freaker

    freaker Senior Member
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    A bonus.

    Depends if you like cross-country skiing, snowmobiles, downhill skiing, ice skating, and ice fishing. I frankly don't consider sitting in an over-priced bar full of people buying $10 drinks to be that entertaining. Or even worse, a club.

    Wisconsin and Minnesota fair better. The lowest rates of obesity are not along the coasts but in the Mountain West. California has higher rates than many other surrounding states.

    This is just a matter of taste, really. I've lived in Southern California, in several European nations, in Central America, in larger cities in the southeast and northeast, and in a small farming town. Frankly, I couldn't give a rip about diversity anymore. I think it's probably the most over-rated and unimaginative aspect used to describe a place imaginable. All of my friends are different, even when they look the same. Same thing goes with new people I meet. And without homogenity, there's never any diversity, anyway. Cultural isolation can be a very good thing. It seems diversity caused more problems than good from my observations. What some would call "homogenous" cultures were where people truly seemed happy, probably because they weren't focusing on their differences.
     
    #42 freaker, Jan 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  44. Long Dong

    Long Dong My middle name is Duc.
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    Most of the ones that tall have BMI>30+

    Yeah I get stared at all the time as a ferner metrosexual. Still looking for some good thia food in my town.
    I like snowboarding, surfing, and being at overpriced bars/clubs cuz that's were the dolled up hot girls are at.

    As for homogenity, I like variety I can't eat steak every night or chinese food I've got to mix it up with thai, sushi, indian, italian, french, mexican. I like my women with the same variety, I'm an equal opportunity dater. I don't discriminate I regulate.:D

    You scare me with your cultural isolation statement. You are probably thinking about genetic isolation too, and then I start thinking about inbreding and lack of genetic diversity. But if you love your cousin that much just don't have kids with her, cause trust me I've seen the genetic conditions that come from that in clinic the other day, you wouldn't wish that apon your worst enemy.

    As for obestiy along the coast i didn't see to much of that living in the O.C. in southern cali almost everyone is in shape and takes good care of themselves. You pretty much have to if you gonna hang out at the beach all day, did plenty of that during my TY. I'm thinking about packing on some fat myself just for the insulation against the MN winters, a muscular low body fat body is pretty pointless when it's do dam cold to show it off. ;)
     
    #43 Long Dong, Jan 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  45. dragonfly99

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    Sorry, longdong
    but the Midwest does not have the highest rates of obesity, no matter how much you might think that is true. Still, rates of obesity there are definitely higher than some other states.

    Obesity correlates with socioeconomic status and also rates of obesity are higher among certain ethnic minorities (particularly rates of obesity in females).

    The person who states the mountain west has the lowest rates is correct.
    California does not have the lowest rate of obesity. The rates of obesity among certain ethnic minorities, such as African Americans and Hispanics, are higher than in some other ethnic groups. Since California has a lot of ethnic diversity (particularly Hispanic people) that may be bringing up the overall rate of obesity there.

    If you are hanging out on the beach, that's probably not a place where you are going to see a lot of obese women. Obese women (and obese people in general) often tend to not like being seen in swimsuits.

    There is a good chapter in Braunwald's Cardiology (of all places) that discusses this, among other topics related to the epidemiology of cardiovascular dz.

    I also agree with blondedocteur's comments about the rural vs. urban divide. I would also like to point out that having more formal education doesn't always make people "smarter". There are some people with not so much formal education who are actually really smart and who would be more fun to hang out with than many college grads. Also, just observationally, it seems to me that having a degree from a well known private college just isn't necessarily as valued in some of the smaller towns I've lived in. For example, in my high school class in a public midwestern high school in a town of 35k people, there were folks in my AP biology class who ended up becoming things like a plumber and house builder. Of course, most went to college, but nobody really looks down on the guy who is a plumber. I mean, his dad is a plumber, now he's in business with his dad, he likely does fine financially and there is nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't be a plumber, but I think it's fine that he did and I don't think he's dumb or "lower class" for having done so. My impression based on some middle and upper middle class folks from the northeast that I have met is that they feel like if someone doesn't get into a private college with a well known name then his/her financial, social and overall life prospects are going to be severely hindered. I think there are different values in many of the rural and smaller town places. I'm not saying that one point of view is more valid than another.
     
  46. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon
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    Ah yes, or as Ms Palin put it, the real "Pro-American" America... ;)

    I think that if you look at a map like this one, which breaks down "red states" and "blue states" by county--you'll see plenty of pockets of diversity whereever you look--north, south, east, west, and midwest. Likewise, good ethnic restaurants and cultural events can be found everywhere, even if most of us, whereever we are, tend to come home to eat the same Hot Pockets and frozen pizza post call, and watch the same American Idol broadcast...:rolleyes:

    Nicely put.
     
  47. BlondeDocteur

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    OPD, I am still diffusing my slowly-burning anger ignited by the Republican rhetoric from the campaign. Nothing offends my sensibilities more than the Party of Yesteryear arbitrating who is a "real American" and who isn't.

    I hope my unfortunate choice of words didn't tarnish my central point: "All cultures are equal, but some are more equal than others."
     
  48. OldPsychDoc

    OldPsychDoc Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quite so--was just referring to this as a further example of the regional stereotyping going on here.

    Hang in there--2 more weeks!
     
  49. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    As I recall, that was the whole point of this thread.

    The OP wanted to know what these were, why people had a negative attitude about the midwest. For some reason, everyone seems to have forgotten that this was the question asked and rather focused on those of us posting the stereotypes as if we were the progenitors of those stereotypes and actually believed them.:rolleyes:
     
  50. BlondeDocteur

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    I admit I could have been misconstrued that way... but I was railing more against the fact that these stereotypes are openly believed-- perhaps not by the enlightened members of sdn-- and that it is perfectly acceptable to typecast people from a certain part of the country in shockingly negative, reductionist terms.

    I can't tell you how many times, when I tell people where I'm from, I'm met with shocked stares and disparaging comments. The best I can hope for is a simpering "wow, New York must be really different for you;" the worst are comments along the "Yee-haw! Rustle me up some n*****s" / "please don't drool on me" line. I'm serious.

    I actually used to make jokes back in return ("well, it was tough getting used to wearing shoes in the summer;" "I did research back home, and once we figured out that the earth goes around the sun, it went just fine," etc) but stopped once I realized people didn't know I was kidding.
     
  51. montessori2md

    montessori2md Member
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    Honestly, if I were an FMG, this would matter to me. Darker people in a pretty homogenous small town stand out -and add that you're an MD, your kids are going to be really obvious. My husband grew up in this situation, and he's pretty normal, I guess, but it wasn't till we moved to DC (which is really diverse) that he finally felt comfortable telling people his actual name, instead of his more "normal" sounding nickname.

    I'm from Ohio, now in Va.

    Good parts about the coasts: beaches and mountains (not much of that in OH, though you can pretend at the lake and in the southern part of that state).
    In DC, Seattle, NY, San Fran, you can hear 6+ languages in one city block. Being foreign is a non-issue. Most white people are just relieved you speak English.
    In smaller cities or more homogeneous cities, people aren't necessarily racist, it's just that they won't know anything about your native culture, and may make silly assumptions (like anyone brown is hispanic, or anyone with slanted eyes is Chinese, or you like to eat cats, or worship cows....). It's not horrible, it can be a nuisance sometimes, especially when you have kids, and they ask you why Mrs. So-and-so says you'll burn in hell....

    Crime is a neighborhood thing, not a regional thing. My parents (in OH) never lock doors and my dad has a tendency to leave his keys in the car at home. At my university (an hour or so from their house), people had their homes broken into all the time, and people regularly sifted through our trash looking for food (this personally didn't bother me.)

    Food and schools are also very local -use the internet to see what is available where you could end up. Larger cities tend to have a better selection of produce and ethnic food, the trade off being the crime rate is often higher. Real estate in my neighborhood is pretty typical for most large cities in the US -it wouldn't be cheaper for us to move to Chicago.

    For myself, I want my kids to grow up in a more urban environment, where there are lots of museums and activities, and I like being able to walk places. But I get the whole small-town concept of family too. Personally, I think as a busy MD, that's a little harder to pull off -here, everyone works, so our culture is set up for busy parents. Most of my small-town friends have a spouse not working if they have kids.
     

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