Author Topic: Talk to me about the Midwest  (Read 10123 times)

Lanthiriel

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Talk to me about the Midwest
« on: January 12, 2017, 10:02:21 PM »
The Alaska economy is tanking and my husband hasn't had stable, full-time employment in eight months. He's accepted a job offer in South Bend, Indiana. When we tell people where we're moving, we're met with almost universal incredulity. I see a lot of pros about moving to the Midwest, including:

  • Cost of living
  • Small town living (we're not city people)
  • Easier access to cool parts of the country I've never been as a West Coaster
  • Four seasons

I'd love to hear your experiences and pros/cons (with a Mustachian slant, of course) about living in the Midwest.

CongoKid

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2017, 11:19:29 PM »
I grew up in Ohio.  Been to South Bend many times.  It's a great small town with tons to do related to the university.  Look out for taxes....the midwest tends to have local sales, income and property tax...the trifecta.  But it's true that cost of living is generally low - especially for housing.  In a college town, the housing situation might not be as attractive though.  In general, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to move to the midwest. 

marty998

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2017, 12:07:12 AM »
The Alaska economy is tanking and my husband hasn't had stable, full-time employment in eight months. He's accepted a job offer in South Bend, Indiana. When we tell people where we're moving, we're met with almost universal incredulity. I see a lot of pros about moving to the Midwest, including:

  • Cost of living
  • Small town living (we're not city people)
  • Easier access to cool parts of the country I've never been as a West Coaster
  • Four seasons

I'd love to hear your experiences and pros/cons (with a Mustachian slant, of course) about living in the Midwest.

Sounds like you will help be the change you want to see.

Emg03063

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2017, 05:58:44 AM »
Living in smal town Ohio now.  For COL, it can't be beat (in the US, anyway).

boarder42

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2017, 06:05:07 AM »
i live in western MO.

COL is great. 
Have most of the same amenities as larger cities just much cheaper.
Great local schools in most suburbs.
Lots of lakes for summer fun late march to early Nov. for me.

My wife and i love hiking and she's a landscape photographer so we dont really have much of that in our general vacinity and regularly find ourselves in the mountain states on vacation. - we plan to retire here after our unborn children move out.

i hate winter. - we dont get enough snow to enjoy winter like the more northern areas.  but it was 60 two days ago and we're getting freezing rain this weekend. so you get all that.
every other time is pretty tolerable since we live on a lake.

MightyAl

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2017, 06:10:54 AM »
I have lived in the Midwest my whole life.  I grew up in STL and have lived in Cinci, The Quad Cities, and am now just south of Indy by an hour in Seymour.  I have had job offers in other areas but you just can't beat the cost of living out here.  I am rural at this point and my taxes and housing couldn't be cheaper.  Plus South Bend is near Chi town without having to pay the higher costs of IL or Chicago. 

The winters with the lake effect are a little more brutal up there but being from AK I don't think you will notice a difference.

Neustache

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2017, 06:18:05 AM »
I love the Midwest, but it's taken most of my adult life to grow to love it.

Seasons - I used to only love fall and spring.  Summer has become more tolerable because we swim in our neighborhood pool almost every day, and winter you just need the right clothing.

Access to cool places to visit - I live in w. MO (same area as boarder42) and I love that we can be in the mountains after a days drive or in Chicago. 

COL - our west coast family members are always in awe of our low housing prices.  It's great. 

General friendliness - this is a con if you don't like chatting with strangers...but I like it so it's a pro for me.  Although maybe I'm just the chatty one?  LOL? I was once told I was having too much fun in the DMV line, but the guy seemed amused not annoyed.  So it may be just me.


Cons:

My sister is uber liberal and she feels very lonely out here.  You are probably going to be surrounded by conservatives although maybe not if you are in a college town.




Cwadda

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2017, 07:04:35 AM »
Quote
General friendliness
Quote
People are nice here.

yes, compared to New England, people are super friendly. The northeast has a rat race feel and people aren't as laid back and friendly.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2017, 07:08:57 AM »
I live in Iowa. I live in the highest cost of living area in the state, but of course it is nothing like a true HCOL area. Still, there are times I think that the housing prices are ridiculous, especially when combined with our taxes. The rents are even worse.  Daycare in my city is more than 40% higher than what is considered average for our state.

People are nice. There are things to do here. Living in a university town means we get a good amount of cultural events: musicians, theater, dance. There are lots of street festivals. We have lots of ethnic restaurants that are authentic because they are run by people who came as international students and stayed, we have many speciality grocery stores (asian, hispanic, mediterranean).

What we call daily "traffic" is laughable to people in cities. This is my favorite part. I like rush hour lasting 30 minutes instead of 4 hours.

We used to get enough snow to do things like cross country ski, but the past two years there hasn't been enough. We have good outdoor options like hiking and kayaking; but not what you'd get in a state like Colorado. Camping here is pretty dismal :(

I live in a liberal bubble, which is nice. My state used to be fairly progressive, but is turning more and more conservative. I'm not sure how long I can stick it out. Some of this is pretty painful.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 07:57:50 AM by iowajes »

MayDay

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2017, 07:12:49 AM »
Pluses and minuses.

I would rather live near better hiking and camping. It's pretty boring and flat. OTOH flat is great for biking (as a transportation biker- obviously it's bad for mountain biking).

Cheap is nice. I'd pay more to live in a medium sized city.

Very conservative once you are about 15 minutes out of a city. You're probably OK in northern Indiana but in southern Ohio and Indiana it is quite racist in my experience of counting Confederate flags. 

People are friendly.

Just depends what you are looking for.

Stachetastic

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2017, 07:24:50 AM »
I've lived in North Central Ohio my entire life and the cost of living can't be beat. I used to hate the winters, but they are getting milder than when I was a kid. Coming from Alaska, the cold/snow won't even faze you. We do seem to get lots of ice (more predicted tonight, in fact).

Midwesterners are polite and friendly, every house I've ever lived in has had helpful, neighborly people around. I do agree with previous posters that these states are primarily Red states when you get away from the bigger cities. I feel like I'm in a liberal bubble, and avoid talking politics with most of my neighbors and coworkers for this reason.


*Edited--State are primarily RED
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 08:44:52 AM by Stachetastic »

Bradfurd

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2017, 07:37:37 AM »
I grew up in rural Indiana, went to college in Indiana, and lived in Indiana/Ohio my entire life until I moved to Maryland in 2012. There is a certain charm about the midwest that is hard to describe.

Things in Maryland move at a much faster pace, there is more traffic, and houses are just closer together! However, I have really enjoyed living in both areas.

Pretty much everything everyone said here about the midwest is true...the cost of living is amazing, and the people are generally very friendly, no matter their political leanings. You will have fun on football weekends at Notre Dame. Best of luck in this new adventure!

MayDay

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2017, 07:40:11 AM »
Oh yah. They're obsessive about football. It's really bizarre.

Like parents will refuse to take their children to their activities because they are busy watching some football game. I judge.


brute

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2017, 07:44:23 AM »
You're close to beer nirvana. Three floyds on the west of you, founders/bells to the east.

I'm a midwestern kid who has moved around a lot. I don't much care for it any more. Except for:

The people are nicer
The land is cheaper
The jobs pay well for the cost of living
No earthquakes or forest fires

My issues:
Not much to do outside. (You'll be near a real lake though, so you'll have options)
Hard to find interesting people - sure they're nice, but it's difficult to find people I can relate to
Tornadoes - eff that.
Hard to find specialty food items (You'll be close enough to chicago that you should be able to get what you need)
Overly conservative - the bad kind. I haven't been able to find a church that can finish a service without bashing LGBTQ or that shows any real community

Still, it's a great place. You just have to put in more time to make it work for you than you might in a different area.

boarder42

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2017, 07:51:56 AM »
haha tornados.  hardly if ever really affect many of the people the way earth quakes and hurricanes effect the coasts.

MayDay

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2017, 08:00:40 AM »
haha tornados.  hardly if ever really affect many of the people the way earth quakes and hurricanes effect the coasts.

The key is not to own fancy things. We have regularly wished for a tornado to wipe out our house. Haven't gotten lucky yet. Darn.

(I mostly kid, but OTOH, I really don't care if our house and belongings get flattened, I have faith that we'd all be OK in our basement, and who really cares about the stuff?)

boarder42

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2017, 08:04:09 AM »
I've lived in the midwest for more than 30 years and still haven't ever seen a tornado in person.  Since 1950, the deadliest year for tornadoes, according to google, was 2011 when 553 people died.  65 million people live in the midwest.  Your odds of dying in a tornado in the midwest appears to be 0.0000085.   Just throwing that out there.

yep my experience as well in tornados

haha tornados.  hardly if ever really affect many of the people the way earth quakes and hurricanes effect the coasts.

The key is not to own fancy things. We have regularly wished for a tornado to wipe out our house. Haven't gotten lucky yet. Darn.

(I mostly kid, but OTOH, I really don't care if our house and belongings get flattened, I have faith that we'd all be OK in our basement, and who really cares about the stuff?)

I joke about this as well.  as our house is larger than i wanted and not a ranch so we would gain super energy efficiency rebuilding it exactly the way we would want it.  plus all the new up to date materials.

MVal

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2017, 08:08:28 AM »
The Midwest is more than just flyover territory. I've lived my whole life in MO and love it. The cost of living is a huge plus and honestly, I don't think we felt the recession of the last decade as hard as other parts of the country...we seem to be somewhat insulated from extremes in the economic climate. The only thing that swings between extremes is the weather, so as long as you don't mind blistering hot and humid summers and cold winters, you're good.

CheapScholar

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2017, 08:31:30 AM »
I live in Granger, Indiana - the town to the east of South Bend.  I've been here 3 years, I'm from Chicago but I've spent time in Detroit and DC as well.  We refer to the South Bend area as "Michiana."

I generally like it here.  I'm 36 and my wife and I have one 2nd grade child.  I'm sure you've noticed housing prices here are pretty decent.  Also, I think property taxes are quite low.  Granger has great public schools. SB does not.  I recommend Granger over SB.  SB still has some crime and you can get to SB from Granger in 20 minutes anyway.

I could go on.  Do you have specific questions?  I'd be happy to answer.  You should know that this area (outside of downtown SB) is very conservative politically and socially.  Many families have 4 or more kids. 

MayDay

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2017, 08:44:38 AM »
Cheap Scholar- why are SB Schools bad? Most Midwest college towns have excellent schools. We've thought about applying for jobs in SB, but we definitely would want to live in SB, not 20 minutes away.

boarder42

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2017, 08:48:42 AM »
The Midwest is more than just flyover territory. I've lived my whole life in MO and love it. The cost of living is a huge plus and honestly, I don't think we felt the recession of the last decade as hard as other parts of the country...we seem to be somewhat insulated from extremes in the economic climate. The only thing that swings between extremes is the weather, so as long as you don't mind blistering hot and humid summers and cold winters, you're good.

It has been about 8 years since I was last in MO on a business trip, do they still allow smoking in all the restaurants?  After arriving at the airport and driving to the hotel, all seemed well until I go to the restaurant right next to the hotel and the hostess asks me "smoking or non-smoking".  Even in the non-smoking section you feel like you are sitting in an ash tray and all your food tastes like crap from the cigarettes.

no we dont have smoking and i think its been gone for around 8 years at least.  I think it lasted longer in STL than KC.

CheapScholar

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2017, 08:52:34 AM »
May Day - SB public schools are rated much lower than Granger.  The reasons?  My guess would be that SB is suffering from blight and problems that go back decades from Studebaker and others leaving SB.  Broken families, substance problems and the cycle of those things still influence many parts of SB.  Again, I lived in Detroit before.  Parts of SB have a real "Detroit" feel.  I work at the university.  If you MUST live in SB then live within the 5 blocks south of ND or live in the sunnymeade neighborhood of perhaps by the zoo.  My opinion, do not live on the west side of the river, especially if you have children. 

If I didn't have a 7 year old I probably would move to SB and walk to work.  But I do have a child and my opinion is that Granger is worth the drive.

And to the other poster, no we don't allow smoking in restaurants in Indiana.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2017, 08:56:48 AM »
I live in Granger, Indiana - the town to the east of South Bend.  I've been here 3 years, I'm from Chicago but I've spent time in Detroit and DC as well.  We refer to the South Bend area as "Michiana."

I generally like it here.  I'm 36 and my wife and I have one 2nd grade child.  I'm sure you've noticed housing prices here are pretty decent.  Also, I think property taxes are quite low.  Granger has great public schools. SB does not.  I recommend Granger over SB.  SB still has some crime and you can get to SB from Granger in 20 minutes anyway.

I could go on.  Do you have specific questions?  I'd be happy to answer.  You should know that this area (outside of downtown SB) is very conservative politically and socially.  Many families have 4 or more kids.

My husband's job is actually in Granger, so this is good info. We're childfree, liberal atheists, which is probably my biggest concern with the move. I'm hoping I can find a few likeminded people,  but it sounds like I might have to work at it.

Thanks so much for everyone's thoughts and comments! I'm excited to hear that folks seem to be able to find enough to get out and see. Last night I read up about the Indiana Dunes and Brown County, plus found out we'd only be a six-hour drive from Nashville, which, despite not liking country music or generally anything Nashville stands for, is somewhere I've always wanted to go.

I'm not excited about the summers, but I did specifically want to go somewhere that still had a winter. Snow is good for my soul.

Our other option (maybe, we don't have the offer letter yet) is going back to the Portland, Oregon area. I lived there for six years and housing costs combined with 9% income tax and nine months of mud make me excited for an alternative.

Keep the comments coming!

Lanthiriel

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2017, 09:01:02 AM »
May Day - SB public schools are rated much lower than Granger.  The reasons?  My guess would be that SB is suffering from blight and problems that go back decades from Studebaker and others leaving SB.  Broken families, substance problems and the cycle of those things still influence many parts of SB.  Again, I lived in Detroit before.  Parts of SB have a real "Detroit" feel.  I work at the university.  If you MUST live in SB then live within the 5 blocks south of ND or live in the sunnymeade neighborhood of perhaps by the zoo.  My opinion, do not live on the west side of the river, especially if you have children. 

If I didn't have a 7 year old I probably would move to SB and walk to work.  But I do have a child and my opinion is that Granger is worth the drive.

And to the other poster, no we don't allow smoking in restaurants in Indiana.

This is interesting because my husband wants to live in Granger, but I love the neighborhood feel of exactly these areas you posted or maybe close to the river in east South Bend/Mishawaka.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2017, 09:14:02 AM »
I'm not excited about the summers, but I did specifically want to go somewhere that still had a winter. Snow is good for my soul.

Summers in the midwest are pretty great, if you factor in that most homes have central AC these days.  In South Bend you have easy access to the Michigan beaches, which are actually quite beautiful, and as you mentioned Indiana Dunes is right there as well.

Indiana is quite conservative, but college towns tend to be liberal enclaves where you can find like minded people.  I grew up on the East Coast, but have lived in the midwest for a decade now and at least where I've lived, I have been able to find "my people".  There's a pretty strong biking culture in a lot of midwestern college towns, and that connected me to a lot of friends when we lived in Michigan.  In Chicago we've connected to like minded people through camping and hiking meetup groups.

COL is low.  Tons of local produce in the summer, low cost recreational activities, etc.  We have LOVED our midwestern camping vacations.  Hiking is better described as "walking" since everything is flat, but like a PP mentioned, it's great for transportation biking.

You'd be less than 2 hours from Chicago, which provides tons of (free! cheap!) cultural activities for the cost of gas.


CheapScholar

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2017, 09:29:06 AM »
Glad I could help with the info.  If your husband's job is in Granger then living there probably makes sense.  I can't imagine anyone living in SB and working in Granger.  That's a totally unthinkable concept to me.  Especially if you're mustachian and trying to limit miles driven.  But you'd be quite the minority already being a childless atheist, so why not go all out? In all seriousness, while this area is quite conservative, it's not like people won't accept you or be friends because you are different.  Many of the conservatives are obviously Catholics like myself from ND.  We typically don't try to "save" people, and we keep to ourselves.  There are a lot of Trump/Pence yard signs still up though in Granger.  I dispute what someone above said about the area not being LGBT friendly.  The mayor of SB is openly gay.  If you're THAT concerned about living with a bunch of church going large families in Granger, then pick SB.  You won't get atheists in SB, you'll get "enlightened" liberal Catholics who probably teach philosophy.

As far as things to do and travel:

If you like the beach, the Warren Dunes in SW MI are flat out amazing.  About a 45 minute drive.
Traverse City and NW Michigan are wonderful.  About 4 hours.
Chicago is close.  You can take the South Shore line in 2 hours for $22 round trip.
Chicago midway is served by Southwest and offers cheap flights.  I travel all the time to west and east coasts - I feel I get to experience the entire country from here.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 09:33:01 AM by CheapScholar »

CheapScholar

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2017, 09:52:05 AM »
Couple other remarks.  SimpleCycle says college towns can be liberal enclaves.  You'll find liberals in SB.  There's a progressive radio station and I've even seen some Sanders bumper stickers.  There's a decent art community (so I'm told).  But, this isn't a typical college town.  We are not Ann Arbor, MI or Eugene, OR.  It's not a public flagship university town.  I'm not saying we are Provo, Utah (BYU) either but this isn't a college like most.

You said snow is good for your soul.  Definitely move here, then.  Lake effect snow makes this one of the snowiest places in the country.  We can get a foot without warning.

StarBright

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2017, 10:05:51 AM »
I grew up in Indiana, spent my college years through early 30s living all over both coasts and now I'm thrilled to be raising my kids in NW OH.

-Houses are cheap
-Food is cheap (especially compared to Alaska)
- South Bend is fairly liberal for Indiana (I think they elected the youngest mayor ever and he's also gay) but not like a liberal haven or anything.
-People are legit friendly
-Indiana Dunes national Lakeshore is pretty close and is lovely!
-Proximity to Chicago, Detroit and Anne Arbor for nice long weekends (and Indianapolis too- which is fine but not amazing.)
- 4 seasons! One of the things I've been happiest about moving back to the midwest is distinct seasons

I would say the one thing that central/northern Indiana lacks is awe-inspiring/gorgeous nature. There is a special kind of beauty in cornfields and sky that you learn to appreciate but it certainly isn't jaw dropping. Brown County in fall is awfully nice though.



Fomerly known as something

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2017, 01:59:26 PM »
Grew up 1.5 hours north of South Bend, in what is now beer nirvana of Grand Rapids (it was boring when I was young).  Winter won't be as good as the western cold weather states.  The lakes make the area Grey for most of it but I'm guessing it will be better than the almost all dark of Alaska.

As others have said Chicago is close, and the Great Lakers are too. 

While there aren't mountains most areas aren't flat, the kettle/moraine geology from the last glacier keeps it interesting.

Saguatuck, MI is 1.5 hours away for when one needs a touch of liberal.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  I haven't been as we head North to Sleeping Bear but I'm guess it still rocks.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 02:02:37 PM by neverrun »

lhamo

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2017, 03:11:20 PM »
I have never spent time in the midwest, but I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and you might find it interesting in terms of understanding the socioeconomic background of the area.   The author's family was part of the huge post-war migration from Appalachia to the industrial midwest.   I'm finding it quite interesting (and he references other more scholarly works that cover the same historical period). 

Lanthiriel

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2017, 03:58:20 PM »
I have never spent time in the midwest, but I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and you might find it interesting in terms of understanding the socioeconomic background of the area.   The author's family was part of the huge post-war migration from Appalachia to the industrial midwest.   I'm finding it quite interesting (and he references other more scholarly works that cover the same historical period).

Interesting. I arrived in South Bend today and am super interested in the story behind the sprawl and, in some areas, decay.

wberkgal

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2017, 04:03:41 PM »
I live in the SF Bay area but am from small town Ohio and often go back there for extended visits. In my experience many of the people living in the Midwest also grew up there and have extended family ties there that often go back generations. Social life often revolves around family or longtime friends. School concerts and sporting activities are big deals. It can be hard to enter that world. Church is also a big part of life for many people, not only for religious reasons but also social reasons. People will go out drinking together on a Saturday night and see each other for church the next morning, for example. People are polite to strangers, but not necessarily curious. (Many people who were curious about the world around them moved away after high school.) Some people I know who are ethnic minorities (for example, my husband) have told me they felt uncomfortable, that people seemed wary or not welcoming, in my husband's case when I was not with him. I'm not sure how much of this feeling is from racism or how much is from the wariness of strangers that I have noticed. It seems that for some people you have to prove that you are OK (whatever that means to that particular person) rather than that you are not OK. In other words, you don't get the benefit of the doubt. That said, for those who have cracked the shell of Midwesterners, they care about you and look after you. My mom is old and still lives in her big house (she is stubborn.) The plumber comes by (free of charge) and checks her basement, the guy across the street brings her paper to the porch every morning and changes her lightbulbs, people call her or drop in regularly but never say they are doing it to check up on her, people bring her home-cooked meals, just because. My advice to you is if you do move somewhere there that you get involved in some activities in a quiet way and take the initiative in becoming friends with people and be patient.

CheapScholar

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2017, 04:06:00 PM »
I have never spent time in the midwest, but I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and you might find it interesting in terms of understanding the socioeconomic background of the area.   The author's family was part of the huge post-war migration from Appalachia to the industrial midwest.   I'm finding it quite interesting (and he references other more scholarly works that cover the same historical period).

Interesting. I arrived in South Bend today and am super interested in the story behind the sprawl and, in some areas, decay.

I'd be interested in hearing your first impression of the area.

wberkgal

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2017, 04:19:12 PM »
I should have said "high school sports"--yes, my mom and I have spent some fun times during the basketball playoffs these last 2 years. I thought the poster was intending to move to a small-ish town?

katscratch

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2017, 07:32:24 PM »
I grew up in the PNW and it took me 15 years to truly appreciate the upper Midwest.  It actually took deciding to go the east coast for vacation last year instead of west, and being able to drive out with our bicycles in 1.5 days instead of a week to realize that this is a pretty special part of the country.  It also took finding outdoor activities I enjoy without missing the mountains.  I love it here now and for the first time ever feel like I might be Home for good (much to my parents' and son's dismay) -- but I still miss the mountains and especially volcanoes on the horizon! 

the_fella

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2017, 09:25:41 PM »
The midwest isn't horrible if you move to a "major" city. Indianapolis is probably the "big one" in Indiana. But in Ohio (where I'm from), we have the Three Cs: Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. For Cincinnati, the COL outside of Downtown and the University area is very reasonable. I've never lived in the other two, so Idk about them. But the suburbs tend to be pretty reasonable and some have similar COL (though the "rich" areas, like Indian Hill are higher, obviously). I grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati, about 30 minutes away, actually (in the westernmost county in Appalachian Ohio). Now, I live in a small city completely surrounded by Cincinnati (which Cincinnati has attempted to annex many times over the years). Other than a lack of reasonable public transit, I like it. In Cincinnati, we have a bus system that's decently extensive. We also have streetcar to nowhere that runs through Downtown, exclusively. We have the abandoned subway, too. No trains ever ran in the tunnels before they were abandoned. I'm getting off track.

I have lived in the midwest my entire life, and I would recommend it. There's a decent COL in most of it, and if you can find a decent paying job, so much the better. My job only pays $16.50 (which is over double the minimum wage in Ohio, btw), but I get by. Haha.

Cranky

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2017, 05:44:33 AM »
Is Alaska terribly liberal? That hasn't been my impression. I do think that Indiana is pretty conservative, but there are exceptions everywhere.

My part of Ohio is pretty conservative about most things, but we've had no trouble finding like-minded friends. Plus, even here, lots of things have changed over the years.

I don't like the weather, but we're well settled in, and you can't beat the COL. There's plenty to do!

kandj

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #37 on: January 16, 2017, 09:33:03 AM »
I've lived in MI my whole life, have a house 1/2 mile from the lake now and we love the area, though we do kick around moving to the PNW someday - for the mountains, which you may or may not miss depending where you live in Alaska.
Indiana is kind of meh in our opinion (we may be considered West Michigan snobs ;) ) but South Bend is a pretty nice location for Lake/Dunes, Chicago/Indianapolis aren't terribly far, and you can learn about the Amish culture if that suits you. I wouldn't claim Indiana is vastly more conservative than Alaska, but my only experience in Alaska has been a mission trip Sutton, where the people didn't seem terribly different than home, just a little poorer (nothing like other work aid trips I have been on). The cost of living will be less and again, depending where you are from, the seasons may be more or less brutal - Sutton as my example was a hell of a lot more mild in the winter than MI.

On a side note - if you are into home diy and whatnot Elkhart, IN and White Pigeon, MI, which are close to SB, are the rv capitols and there are several surplus stores (not just RV stuff) which sell tons of home supplies super cheap. I've made the 3 hour trip numerous times because the savings are that good.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2017, 06:53:47 PM »
I have never spent time in the midwest, but I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and you might find it interesting in terms of understanding the socioeconomic background of the area.   The author's family was part of the huge post-war migration from Appalachia to the industrial midwest.   I'm finding it quite interesting (and he references other more scholarly works that cover the same historical period).

Interesting. I arrived in South Bend today and am super interested in the story behind the sprawl and, in some areas, decay.

I'd be interested in hearing your first impression of the area.

Long story short, am I stoked about the move? No. Does it have enough to lend itself to somewhere we could live comfortably? Yes. I actually found downtown South Bend and downtown Mishawaka incredibly charming. We drove around a lot and like that there isn't much traffic and it's pretty easy to find anything you need. My husband has his sights set on finding a house with a little bit of land in Granger while I fell in love with some of the older houses on the outskirts of the Sunnymede area.

While there are clearly areas of blight, the area overall impression was much more prosperous than I expected. My husband's new job seems to be doing brisk business and his coworkers were super friendly. I also have an interview at Norte Dame tomorrow, so the employment situation might be wrapped up nicely. I compared our salaries to Portland, OR (our other option) and we'd need to make about $30k more to hit the same standard of living, so it seems like from that perspective Indiana is the best choice.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2017, 06:56:46 PM »
Is Alaska terribly liberal? That hasn't been my impression. I do think that Indiana is pretty conservative, but there are exceptions everywhere.

My part of Ohio is pretty conservative about most things, but we've had no trouble finding like-minded friends. Plus, even here, lots of things have changed over the years.

I don't like the weather, but we're well settled in, and you can't beat the COL. There's plenty to do!

Alaska is more libertarian than anything. Folks pretty much are against anyone telling them what to do, which seems to extend itself to lifestyle choices. It's sort of a you do you mentality.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #40 on: January 16, 2017, 07:05:23 PM »
I grew up in the PNW and it took me 15 years to truly appreciate the upper Midwest.  It actually took deciding to go the east coast for vacation last year instead of west, and being able to drive out with our bicycles in 1.5 days instead of a week to realize that this is a pretty special part of the country.  It also took finding outdoor activities I enjoy without missing the mountains.  I love it here now and for the first time ever feel like I might be Home for good (much to my parents' and son's dismay) -- but I still miss the mountains and especially volcanoes on the horizon!

So much of my love of Alaska is being next to things that are "exciting": volcanoes, moose in the front yard, bears in the campsite. There is such an incredible sense of place and oneness with nature (even for an indoors girl like me) that is hard to describe if you'ever never been there. I am deeply saddened to be moving away and absolutely wouldn't be if I had any confidence my husband could get a job there in the near future.

iris lily

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2017, 07:09:18 PM »
I have never spent time in the midwest, but I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and you might find it interesting in terms of understanding the socioeconomic background of the area.   The author's family was part of the huge post-war migration from Appalachia to the industrial midwest.   I'm finding it quite interesting (and he references other more scholarly works that cover the same historical period).

Read the book, enjoyed the book...   But n 30 years in the midwest, living in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I've never lived anywhere that halfway resembled life in Hillbilly Elegy.  And I think you'll find many of the midwestern folks in this thread will agree with me.
Yes. We had no hillbilly enclaves in Central Iowa. Dont have them in St. louis, either.

The late summers here in STL are miserable. All other seasons are lovely, and mild.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 07:11:52 PM by iris lily »

CheapScholar

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2017, 07:34:17 PM »
I have never spent time in the midwest, but I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and you might find it interesting in terms of understanding the socioeconomic background of the area.   The author's family was part of the huge post-war migration from Appalachia to the industrial midwest.   I'm finding it quite interesting (and he references other more scholarly works that cover the same historical period).

Interesting. I arrived in South Bend today and am super interested in the story behind the sprawl and, in some areas, decay.

I'd be interested in hearing your first impression of the area.

Long story short, am I stoked about the move? No. Does it have enough to lend itself to somewhere we could live comfortably? Yes. I actually found downtown South Bend and downtown Mishawaka incredibly charming. We drove around a lot and like that there isn't much traffic and it's pretty easy to find anything you need. My husband has his sights set on finding a house with a little bit of land in Granger while I fell in love with some of the older houses on the outskirts of the Sunnymede area.

While there are clearly areas of blight, the area overall impression was much more prosperous than I expected. My husband's new job seems to be doing brisk business and his coworkers were super friendly. I also have an interview at Norte Dame tomorrow, so the employment situation might be wrapped up nicely. I compared our salaries to Portland, OR (our other option) and we'd need to make about $30k more to hit the same standard of living, so it seems like from that perspective Indiana is the best choice.

Welcome to the area!  I can appreciate that part of you will miss the beauty of Alaska.  Truth be told, the topic of moving often comes up in my house, usually by me.  I love hiking and the outdoors, especially in the west.  I turned down a job offer in Seattle 2 years ago and part of me kind of regrets it.  Of course, my 180K house in Granger would cost 800K in Seattle.  I also think about Portland sometimes.

Anyway, welcome to Michiana.  I think you'll find it can be a mustachian's dream.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #43 on: January 16, 2017, 07:39:15 PM »
I have never spent time in the midwest, but I am currently reading Hillbilly Elegy and you might find it interesting in terms of understanding the socioeconomic background of the area.   The author's family was part of the huge post-war migration from Appalachia to the industrial midwest.   I'm finding it quite interesting (and he references other more scholarly works that cover the same historical period).

Interesting. I arrived in South Bend today and am super interested in the story behind the sprawl and, in some areas, decay.

I'd be interested in hearing your first impression of the area.

Long story short, am I stoked about the move? No. Does it have enough to lend itself to somewhere we could live comfortably? Yes. I actually found downtown South Bend and downtown Mishawaka incredibly charming. We drove around a lot and like that there isn't much traffic and it's pretty easy to find anything you need. My husband has his sights set on finding a house with a little bit of land in Granger while I fell in love with some of the older houses on the outskirts of the Sunnymede area.

While there are clearly areas of blight, the area overall impression was much more prosperous than I expected. My husband's new job seems to be doing brisk business and his coworkers were super friendly. I also have an interview at Norte Dame tomorrow, so the employment situation might be wrapped up nicely. I compared our salaries to Portland, OR (our other option) and we'd need to make about $30k more to hit the same standard of living, so it seems like from that perspective Indiana is the best choice.

Welcome to the area!  I can appreciate that part of you will miss the beauty of Alaska.  Truth be told, the topic of moving often comes up in my house, usually by me.  I love hiking and the outdoors, especially in the west.  I turned down a job offer in Seattle 2 years ago and part of me kind of regrets it.  Of course, my 180K house in Granger would cost 800K in Seattle.  I also think about Portland sometimes.

Anyway, welcome to Michiana.  I think you'll find it can be a mustachian's dream.

Thank you!I hear you about the allure of the PNW. It's been a big debate, but I think we've been spooked by my husband's lay off into wanting a lower cost of living. The factor that really killed Portland is commute. I'm counting on the trade offs being worth it.

sixkids

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #44 on: January 16, 2017, 08:00:24 PM »
I live in Ohio. Was raised in a suburb of Columbus, and now live in a suburb of Cleveland. It took a while, but I like it here.

greengardens

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2017, 08:23:07 PM »
I'm a lifelong Iowan but my best friend moved to Alaska 10 years ago. Whenever she comes to visit she has a hard time readjusting to the lack of mountains. Even with the lack of mountains there is plenty of outdoors things to do, you just have to look for them. I suggest looking up the local city or conservation site - in my experience they will have information on trails, rentals etc....

Oh also, expect to get a lot of personal questions such as what do you do, are you married, how many kids, what church do you go to, how long did you live in Alaska etc.... and you'll get asked these a lot! Not because people are mosey but because they are genuinely interested and curious.

CheapScholar

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2017, 08:57:14 PM »
You'll want to get a good real estate agent. It's been a real seller's market in SB lately.  Low inventory compared to people moving in.  I purchased my Granger 3bed 2bath 3 years ago for 160K and it is now 190K.  I've had coworkers miss out on homes getting outbid.  I know of people selling homes in less than a week easily.   The market is more competitive in Granger than SB. 

Verdure

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2017, 10:27:47 PM »
Read the book, enjoyed the book...   But n 30 years in the midwest, living in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I've never lived anywhere that halfway resembled life in Hillbilly Elegy.  And I think you'll find many of the midwestern folks in this thread will agree with me.
Yes. We had no hillbilly enclaves in Central Iowa. Dont have them in St. louis, either.

Sorry to thread highjack, but the term "Midwest" is very broad. The experiences in Hillbilly Elegy likely aren't going to apply or translate to the Midwestern plains states, like Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, or the northern states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I've spent much of my life in the Ohio Valley and even went to high school one town south of the author. Plenty of what he wrote was familiar to me, though Vance's experiences are quite different from mine. They would probably be even more familiar to my parents, even though they are not from Appalachia.

And I do have to contest that there are no hillbilly enclaves in St Louis. It's one of the places I've lived, and I've known some formerly rural Missourians. The city is in the foothills of the Ozarks; there is almost certainly an area or 2 where they are concentrated, if not in the city, in the metropolitan area.

To get back on track with the thread topic, reading Hillbilly Elegy wouldn't be so far off in terms of getting a feel for the region for the OP, as part of what the book covers is the hopelessness of many living in a struggling rust belt town like Middletown,OH, which absolutely applies to Northern Indiana.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2017, 07:20:11 AM »
Oh also, expect to get a lot of personal questions such as what do you do, are you married, how many kids, what church do you go to, how long did you live in Alaska etc.... and you'll get asked these a lot! Not because people are mosey but because they are genuinely interested and curious.

I agree. Both in Iowa and Ohio, the people I met wanted to chat. Same happened to me in Texas.  Although in Texas I was A LOT more likely to be asked questions about church than in Iowa or Ohio.  I can't recall any "do you know Jesus?" questions since I've moved to the midwest, and in college in Texas it was a daily occurrence, slightly less often growing up- since I was in Austin; but still frequent "where do you go to church" questions.

I know a lot more people in Iowa who don't go to church than I did in Texas.

MayDay

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Re: Talk to me about the Midwest
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2017, 09:33:10 AM »
Oh also, expect to get a lot of personal questions such as what do you do, are you married, how many kids, what church do you go to, how long did you live in Alaska etc.... and you'll get asked these a lot! Not because people are mosey but because they are genuinely interested and curious.

I agree. Both in Iowa and Ohio, the people I met wanted to chat. Same happened to me in Texas.  Although in Texas I was A LOT more likely to be asked questions about church than in Iowa or Ohio.  I can't recall any "do you know Jesus?" questions since I've moved to the midwest, and in college in Texas it was a daily occurrence, slightly less often growing up- since I was in Austin; but still frequent "where do you go to church" questions.

I know a lot more people in Iowa who don't go to church than I did in Texas.

Haha, so true.

I interned in rural Texas and I got SO MANY invitations to come to church.