I would say a lot of people know the following exchange:
"... Is this heaven?"
"No, it's Iowa."
If you don't know it, the lines come from the movie Field of Dreams, which takes place in Iowa. Dyersville, mostly, and yes - I have been there. It is not the most exciting place on earth. But yes, I have been there and ran the bases of the baseball field and wandered a few steps into the fields of corn that Iowa is, well, "famous" for.
Corn, and pigs.
Oh, and soybeans.
These are the things Iowa is known for.
And here in Cedar Rapids, the Quaker Oats factory.
Also, down the street from where my parents live is Brucemore, a "castle of America", whose residents owned one of the MGM lions. Fascinating.
... I thank the good Lord that I was born in Alabama and raised there for the first ten years of my life before my parents moved us to Cedar Rapids, Iowa - not gonna lie.
There are a number of reasons as to why.
But I think one of the main ones is that I like having experienced living in two [very] different places before heading off to college. America, a melting pot? Or, as some have come to see it, a stew? Indeed.
Iowa is not the worst place to grow up or live.
... Really, it's not.
I mean, as with every place, it has both good and bad qualities.
And over time, I have come to see the beauty of Iowa.
The rolling hills, covered with rows and rows of plants in the summer.
The deciduous trees, turning brilliant hues of gold and rust and ruby.
The ground and foliage and cars and houses and mailboxes dusted with snow.
And the smell of the damp earth in the spring, the rivers churning with melt-off.
I appreciate these things more than I used to.
Would I choose to live here, though?
I just... couldn't.
I think I partly fear becoming like the people here. These... midwesterners. Iowans. Cedar Rapidians. Whatever they are... I do not like it. I know that I have been affected by them in small ways, both good and bad. For example, my manners slack when I am with friends here. The "yes/no ma'am"s and "yes/no sir"s tend to be left at home. There's a story that goes with that, though:
In my seventh grade social studies class, I had a great teacher. Mr. Schile. He was fun, and made learning really enjoyable. Anyway, one day, he asked me a question and I replied with, "No sir." He squinted his eyes at me, cocked his head to the side, and said, "Now, don't you get smart with me, young lady." He was not being sarcastic or anything. My eyes widened and my cheeks grew warm as I shook my head slightly. I had not intended to 'get smart' with Mr. Schile. I was simply answering his question the way I had been raised to. I then lowered my head and hunched up my shoulders. I think my reaction tipped him off about my use of 'sir', and he later apologized. And one way Iowa has affected me in a good way is that I have developed a good work ethic, when I put my mind to doing something. I can be lazy, that is for sure, but I can also be the hardest worker you know, when it comes down to it, whatever 'it' may be.
There's a lot more I could say.
It's 'home' for now, I suppose.
It does alright.