37 Things Midwesterners Think While Driving Through The South

37 Things Midwesterners Think While Driving Through The South

Some thoughts from a mid-westerner traveling through the South.
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As a Midwesterner, I pride myself on Casey's Pizza, Golf, and the occasional game of bean bag toss. I have a passion for traveling and was eager to cross of some states I hadn't been. Starting my journey in Orlando, Florida, I was convinced the South was a bunch of hooplas and wasn't that different from the Midwest. However, I was in for a surprise as we took to the road in a cramped Toyota Rav4 across the gulf shores, through New Orleans, Memphis, and St. Louis. This 25-hour car ride was steadily broken up with sight seeing, food eating, and hotel sleeping. Throughout my time in the Heart of Dixie, I learned some, experienced a lot, and ate enough food for more than one soul. Here are some of the thoughts I had, much like any other Midwesterner would. Here are 37 thoughts that came to mind on this five day trek.

1. Damn it's hot here!

2. You mean to tell me there are different type of southern accents

3. Is it Crawfish or Crayfish?

4. WAFFLE HOUSE!

5. Mississippi is more boring to drive through than Iowa...

6. If you see a Florida license plate there is a 99% chance they'll cut you off

7. "What's Whataburger?"

8. Again, why is it SO hot?

9. No, I don't want a Coke! I just wanted a pop!

10. Which city actually is the City of Blues?

11. Bourbon St. in New Orleans and puts Las Vegas to shame

12. The Civil War ended over 150 years ago people!

13. Which city has the best barbecue again?

14. Why does everyone keep asking me if I am Canadian?

15. Yes, Iowa is a state. No, I don't grow corn or tend to cows

16. I'm not "fixin" anything

17. Why did he call me a Yankee? I'm a Cubs fan...

18. I thought they passed a law against Confederate flags...

19. What is a Dixie?

20. Beignets? Beign (holy fried dough god) ets!

21. Who lied and told me sweet tea at Runza is just like southern sweet tea?!

22. So many ghost stories...

23. IT'S SO HOT OUT

24. Hey, Y'all!

25. Do you think they noticed my accent?

26. They most definitely noticed and are judging me

27. Tom Thumb=Kwik Shop

28. I still have yet to see an Alligator

29. Dang, this IS God's country

30. Is St. Louis really the south?

31. Missouri is just jealous they aren't in Dixie

32. How do you actually pronounce Zaxby's?

33. SO MUCH FOOTBALL!

34. When it rains, it RAINS.

35. Contemplating if she's actually blessing my heart or really pissed off

36. Someone explain what Cajun actually is...please, please, please.

38. They don't joke... This really is food for the soul

37. IT'S WAY TOO FRICKEN HOT!!!!

It has been quite the journey, and as much as I love the midwest, I would like to take home the food and soul of the south home with me.

Cover Image Credit: Photo News 247

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing. My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from Shameless.

Shameless is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out-of-place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside, Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum -- it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone -- however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by Shameless.

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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Car Rides Are Underrated

Let's go for a ride

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The day I got my license was the BEST day of my life. Ok maybe not the best, but that's definitely what was going through my 16-year old mind.

"I'll finally have more freedom, I won't have to wait for Dad to pick me up from school, I won't be late to EVERY occasion, I'm finally driving!!"

My list of reasons went on and on. The glory of being able to drive myself everywhere only lasted so long. My "I'll drive separate" quickly turned into "Can someone ride with me?". Within the first year of having my license, I wondered why it felt as if I was becoming distant from my parents, and so much closer with my friends. In the midst of blasting Kanye West throwbacks, it hit me.

From the time I was born, I've always been the passenger to my parents. Whether it was taking a ride to or from school, to a friend's house, or to the grocery store, I didn't realize the value of the time we shared in those car rides until it wasn't part of my daily routine anymore. Those were the times my parents would ask "So, how was your day at school? Learn anything new?" and I would share the excitement. Being able to share my day within an instant was a part of the reason I grew so close to my parents. Of course, now, they are only a phone call away, but there are times I wish they were only a "Hey, put your seatbelt on!" away. As time has gone on, I constantly wish I could turn back time and spend those couple minutes with them. The minutes that felt like hours were our bonding time, and I wouldn't trade that for the world. So next time I'm visiting home and my Mom asks "Do you want to come to the grocery store with me?", my answer will no longer be a dreadful "Do I have to?", but rather an "I would love to."

As for you, take a ride and enjoy the beauty of all of it! Embrace the scenery, the music, the billboards, the people driving by, and most of all- your passengers. Here's my favorite way of putting it. We're always asking Uber drivers what their "craziest" or "most enjoyable" ride was- so become that rider- the one who sings the loudest, the one who seeks advice, the one who wants the windows rolled down even when it's raining, the one who makes it unforgettable.

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