Coastal Living vs. Midwestern Living

Coastal Living vs. Midwestern Living

Get ready for a life like no other.
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Growing up in the Midwest, I thought I had seen all that I needed too. A family that loves me, hanging around at home all of the time, and dreaming of travel. Once I reached the age of 15, I started to get to different states, including Kentucky, Illinois, Colorado, and Wisconsin.

The biggest shock of all of them, to me, was Illinois. The group I went with stopped in Chicago, where we went to Target and were warned about the 3% increase in taxes on certain items. We got to see the change in personalities, and the different types of people that wander the streets, compared to the wonderful Midwest, where everyone is the same, and those that aren’t, stick out like a sore thumb.

However, since my high school travels, I made it to college, and went further. These further travels took me to California and Seattle.

California brought a big surprise in terms of cost. Living takes so much, not only for rent and owner’s insurance, but for gas, and food, and travelers. Not only did the price shock me, but so did the people. People, out with how they want to dress, not caring if they get looks, and not caring if someone was dressed the same way that they are. Makeup, done in ways I could never dream of mastering. Fashion, with labels that I can’t even pronounce. It was such a shock to a way of life that I could never even dream of attaining.

But the most interesting place I have ever been is Seattle, Washington. Though I loved all of my experiences there, the cost was insane. It was even more than living in California, which is something that I would have doubted. Coming from the Midwest, it’s almost as if two states exist growing up: California and New York. And one would never fathom a place like Washington being more expensive and extravagant. Farther than the extravagance, however, is the amount of homeless people I saw. My heart broke. So many people, everywhere, who can’t even afford a cheeseburger.

More than that, I was also shocked by the kinds of people that I saw. Not only were they out with their piercings, and fashion, and way of dressing, they were out with their personality. Everyone that I saw seemed happy and in tune with who they are. It was awesome to see. And the best part was seeing the acceptance there. So many people were out with their sexuality, and I loved it. In my small town, seeing someone who is gay used to be few and far between. While its becoming more common for someone to come out with who they truly are, it still barely happens in a conservative place.

It just goes to show what growing up and opening your eyes will do. You get introduced to new ways of life, and different things that require global awareness. In addition, it will produce a passion for exploring that just continues to grow daily.

Cover Image Credit: Brandi Blunk

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6 Places in New York City Every "Friends" Fan Needs to Visit

Grab a cup of coffee at Central Park.
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As a Friends fanatic myself, I often wonder about the places in New York City featured in the various episodes and whether I could actually visit them. Most of them are fictional or no longer exist, but there are a few places you can go to reminisce about your favorite Friends moments. So, here are 6 places in New York City you definitely need to visit as a Friends fan.

1. The Apartment Building, Obviously

The building used for the exterior shot of the apartments in Friends is real, and is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village. It's an obvious must-see.

2. The Pullitzer Fountain

This is the fountain that the friends danced around in for the iconic theme song, and it's located right in Central Park.

3. Bloomingdale's

This is the department where Rachel worked before she moved on to Ralph Lauren, where she met Joshua, and where she started her career in fashion.

4. The Plaza Hotel

This is where Monica and Chandler celebrated their engagement in The One WIth Monica's Thunder, and is actually really gorgeous.

5. The Central Perk Replica

While Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop, a pop-up replica opened up in 2014 on Lafayette Street and it's definitely a must-visit.

6. Chandler's Office

The fictional Chandler works in the real Solow Building, located on West 57th street.

Cover Image Credit: Fame Focus

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As An Original Northeasterner, I Grew To Love The South And You Can, Too

Where the tea is sweet, and the accents are sweeter.

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I'm not Southern-born. I'll come right out and say it. I was born in Connecticut and moved to Atlanta when I was 9 years old. I didn't know a single thing about the South, so I came without any expectations. When I got here, I remember that the very first thing I saw was a Waffle House. I thought it was so rare to see whatever a waffle house was but little did I know there was a WaHo (how southerners refer to Waffle House) every two miles down the street.

There is such a thing as "southern hospitality," and it's very pleasant for a newcomer to see. Southerners are raised with such a refreshing sense of politeness, and their accents are beautifully unique. It brings a smile to my face when I hear a southern accent because it's such a strong accent and one of my favorites. They answer your questions with "Yes, ma'am" or "No, ma'am" in the most respectful tone. I remember feeling so grown and empowered just because I got called ma'am. Southerners' vocabulary and phrases really have its ways of integrating into your own vernacular.

Before I came to Georgia, I never really said words like "Y'all" and "Fixin' to" but it's definitely in much of what I say now. I can tell when I go back up north to visit family that some of what I say may sound a little off because the dialect is very different. I find no shame in it, though, and neither should any southerner.

The weather in the South isn't so bad, in my opinion. Sure, there is very high humidity, but after living here for 10+ years, you learn how to deal with it. However, there's nothing like the summer thunderstorms. I love stormy, rainy weather and it rains quite often in the south, so when my birthday in July rolls around, I look forward to seeing that rain. It's the most peaceful weather to me and inspires me to write even more.

I could go on and on about the amazing fried foods here or the iconic yet insane Atlanta traffic, but those aren't what make me love the South. The people of the south are so different from up north but in the best ways. Everyone is so expressive and creative, as well as their own unique self. Southerners aren't the shaming kinds of people, but instead the kind who embrace who you are from the start. There's a fierce loyalty and a strong sense of appreciation that is just unmatched by any other place. No matter where I go, I always find comfort in knowing that I'll be coming back to this place I'm proud to call home.

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