For my first blog post in the heartland, I wanted to evoke a sense of out-on-the-farmness, so I went for the obvious backdrop. Having never been to Iowa before relocating here a month ago, the only image my city slicker mind could conjure when prompted with the idea of Iowa was fields upon fields of corn. And in that respect, I wasn’t wrong about the Hawkeye state—of corn, and soy, there is plenty.
Other than the requisite corn, I really had no idea what to expect of my new hometown. This was mostly by design; I worked hard to keep my imagination at bay and my expectations low. I surmised that if I simply had no idea what to expect in Iowa City, I couldn’t be disappointed. Thankfully, this theory proved to be true. In fact, I’ve found myself mostly quite charmed by this place.
Where I vaguely imagined flat cornfields as far as the eye can see, there are rolling hills with sun-dappled shade oaks and stately silos in various states of picturesque decay. Where I assumed there would be a dearth of brunch options, there are quaint establishments named The Bluebird Diner and Hamburg Inn (the latter of which is apparently a mandatory stop on the presidential campaign tour come election season). Where I feared I would find a limited selection of the produce I was used to in California, I’ve been treated to locally grown squash blossoms, beets, and corn so sweet it would not be an overstatement to say it tastes like candy.
Thanks to Max’s Craigslist efforts, we have set up shop a tiny white Dutch Colonial Revival (aka barn-style) house on the east side of town, just far enough away from all the undergrads. It has two porches and some built-in bookshelves, so I’m a happy girl. It also has a lovely ivy-covered garage in the back, which I am sure I will soon employ as a photo backdrop.
And that brings us to the shopping. As pleasantly surprised I have been with the situation here, I’ll admit I was slightly appalled to learn that in the whole state of Iowa, there is not one single Zara, H&M, or Nordstrom. I guess online shopping will have to do between our semi-regular trips to Chicago.
So, for those of you who have asked, this pretty much describes my life in Iowa so far: lots of sun, food, online shopping, and getting settled in. And I’m more than okay with that.