Something inside of me screamed. I knew that this was my chance to get out of Indiana. Yes, Indiana, that state that claims to be the crossroads of America despite a location that is too far northeast and too lacking in civil engineering to deserve this appellation. As a senior in high school applying to college, I was finally presented with the opportunity to get out of the state that has been my home for 18 years. I applied to seven schools: three in Chicago, three on the East Coast, and one in Indiana. The last application was mostly just for a safety school and to appease my parents. Despite my acceptance letters and scholarships to out-of-state schools, I selected the in-state institution of Indiana University. For the next four years of my life, I am going to be an official Hoosier.
Considering my bitter first paragraph, one may wonder why I chose to attend Indiana University. To be honest, money was a large factor. I simply cannot justify a five figure annual tuition. I think that college is like anything else—it is what you make of it. But more importantly, I realized that sticking around in Indiana for the next few years is not a bad thing. There are some truly wonderful things about Indiana. Its seasons are beautiful and full-fledged. Its people are genuine and grounded. It provided me a Norman Rockwell childhood. I knew that there were more things that I loved about the state, but I had yet to find them.
And then, fate intervened. (Okay, so that is a bit melodramatic, but allow me this grandiosity.) While absentmindedly sorting through some magazines at my grandma’s house, I came across the August 2010 issue of Indianapolis Monthly. If you are unfamiliar with this publication, please run out to the nearest grocery store/pharmacy/newsstand (are those even around anymore?) and buy a copy ASAP. Or at least visit their website www.indianapolismonthly.com. This monthly magazine is filled with skilled writing and updates on Indy area restaurants, stores, and happenings. If you are under the impression that Indiana is a wasteland filled with little more than dusty farmland and smoky bowling alleys, this magazine will shatter your illusions of love…er, Indiana.
Anyway, the cover of this issue caught my attention. A picture of a model who is a cross between Pippi Longstocking and a redheaded Kirsten Dunst holding a corn cob was odd enough to stop me in my tracks, but the cover story next to this picture sealed the deal. The article “The 50 Things Every Hoosier Must Do!” was filled with an appealing mixture of obscure (#10. Don your lederhosen in Jasper) and mainstream (#39. Sing along to John Mellencamp’s “Small Town”) Indiana traditions. Given my love for road trips, small town exploration, and open summer schedule, I knew that I had to complete this bucket list. Creating a blog about my adventures would allow me to keep up on my writing before embarking on my journalistic studies, so the situation was a win win.
For the next few months, I will be completing as many of the 50 tasks as possible and blogging about my experiences. Join me as I discover the quirky and quintessential niches of Indiana. And maybe if we’re lucky enough, we can figure out what the heck a Hoosier really is.