• Melissa Miller


If you did not know, I moved to Iowa at the beginning of February!

Coming from Las Vegas, this is a huge cultural shift for me. Along with beginning a new career in a little town, trying AirBnB for the first time, and more, it has been a crazy couple of weeks. Yes, literally. It's been 12 and a half days.

It took me a full four days to drive from Vegas to Eastern Iowa. Never have I driven more than 2 hours at a time, I decided to pack all of my belongs in my little Hyundai Elantra and make the trek. Stopping for 3 consecutive meals at Whataburgers on the way, was an exciting flashback to my life in high school in the Texas suburbs. I cried more than I figured I would, being away from home. Fear of the unexpected. Going 30+ miles over the speed limit and getting a nice ticket from a cop in Oklahoma.... The trip was the roughest part of my adventure. Being entirely alone, with a car on its last few miles, and someone who doesn't have a ton of driving experience-and no long distance driving experience. I must say I do not ever want to drive that again.

Being in Iowa is a different story. Life is so pleasant here. I never once could say that about Las Vegas. Now, in Vegas' defense: It has been colder than the Arctic more than half the time I've been here. Driving over the bridge from Illinois into Iowa I looked over the Mississippi river the day after the dreaded polar vortex hit the area. Trying to drive in the white-out conditions, I still managed to peak at the river. The entire Mississippi was stalled due to the ice covering it. Without a second thought I began screaming. Screaming on the middle of a bridge, by myself, in traffic. What the absolute f*ck did I get myself into? *Keep in mind, before leaving on my trip I owned one hoodie.* As I finished screaming I got a phone call from my future boss,

"Hey are you in Iowa yet?"

"Uh, yah, I'm at a gas station right over the bridge..." I reply.

"Oh. I was just calling to tell you not to come into town today."


"The weather is getting really bad and I didn't want you to have to drive on these roads."

She then offered to pick me up and take me wherever I needed to go. It was more the conversation itself I was sharing. Don't come. Weather is too bad. Wait another day or two.

I have seen the sun twice in 12 days which is pretty good for winter, I guess. I only noticed while walking to work one day I saw the building next door had a strange hue. Was there another building downtown testing a spotlight? I stand in the street looking around to see where the spotlight came from. Just the sun. Whoops.

People here have been incredibly kind. There are jokes about the friendliness of people in the Midwest and I finally understand it. When I was in Omaha, I thought it was just a Nebraska thing. Nope. I have come to realize people are just genuinely nicer out here. I have a theory as to why. With all the trouble you have to do to even check your mail (put on coats, shoes, gloves, mittens, etc) you take all your anger out on the world rather than the people around you. In Vegas, you are so hot and cannot cool down even in the air conditioning. You take that heat and throw it on anyone who walks by. Here, you are so cold and can easily warm up when you go inside somewhere. The warmth greets you like a friendly hug and you want to spread the warm with everyone. It's all about the heat. Too much, angry. Too little, nice.

That could just be me though. People could just be jerks on the westcoast.

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