A Texan’s Guide to the Midwest

Despite our best efforts, sometimes the Universe has other plans for us and a Texan might find themselves having to relocate out of our great state. As devastating as that might seem, since moving to the Midwest I’ve learned that it’s definitely possible to find happiness in other places! That’s not to say the adjustment won’t take some time, but lucky for you I’ve developed this quick guide to get you started:

blue-bell

Thanks Mom and Dad!

1. Go ahead and erase HEB, Whataburger, and Blue Bell from your heart and mind. Trust me, it’s easier that way.
It’s true. These luxuries Texans take for granted don’t exist in the Midwest. However, you’ll be relieved to know that HEB and Blue Bell will ship to you! The options are limited, but if you’re craving Texas salsa, Whataburger ketchup, or some classic Blue Bell favors, this is a great alternative to begging friends to ship to you.

2. Even if you don’t have a thick southern accent, saying “y’all” will give you away every time.
Don’t feel bad if people start laughing at you mid-sentence because you dropped a “y’all” into the conversation. You’ll find that they say some pretty funny things too… (See below.)

3. Try not to freak out when you ask where you can get breakfast tacos and someone recommends Taco Bell.
I think I had a minor panic attack when I received this advice from a coworker. Unfortunately, in the year and a half since moving to the Midwest, I have yet to find acceptable breakfast tacos. All I can offer on this point is to bring awareness to this issue and hopefully afford you the opportunity to mentally prepare yourself.

4. They make you add your own sugar to iced tea.
Everyone knows the best way to make sweet tea is to add the sugar while the tea is still freshly brewed so that the sugar will dissolve and become one with the tea. Well, I guess no one told them that up here so you’ll just have to add it yourself… from packets… at the table!

Tip: hold the straw about three-quarters of the way into the glass. That’s where you’ll find the highest concentration of sweetness without slurping up mouthfuls of gritty sugar (unless you’re into that.)

snow

This is what 14″ of snow looks like.

5. Snow is this white stuff that falls from the sky, sometimes in large quantities.
In the beginning, snow was genuinely one of the things I was most excited to experience when I first found out I was moving here. (They have more than one and a half seasons up here.) As a naïve Texan, I remember I would gawk excitedly out the window as white snowflakes fell from the sky and dismiss the moans from disgruntled coworkers. Then one time it snowed 14″ and I realized snow wasn’t that great after all.

 

snow-drift

Tunneling out…

 

6. “Snow days” aren’t really a thing.
Snow days must be something southerners made up to keep bad drivers off the road when it “snows” (aka frosts.) Even if there’s three foot snow drifts between you and your vehicle, the best you can hope for is a short delay until you have to be at work. Either that, or just enough time for everyone to get dug out of their driveways – whichever comes first.

Fun fact: They do have these things called “cold-weather days” which seem to occur when the wind chill is below -35 degrees F.

 

 

winter-driving

Parked and not sure where the road is…

7. Sometimes the roads are made up and the lines don’t matter.
To be completely honest, Texans probably just shouldn’t drive in the winter. However, I understand that might not be completely practical unless you have the means to hibernate for several months. So, when the road disappears under a blanket of snow, I can only suggest driving incredibly slow so as to avoid ending up in a ditch or giving up and parking it until a car passes that you can follow…

8. Helpful Midwesternisms:

  • “Pop” = soda
  • Pepsi > Coke
  • “Crick” = creek
  • “Kitty-corner” = catty-corner
  • “Tortil-lia” = tortilla

All in all, while some adjustments and sacrifices (RIP tacos) will be needed when moving from Texas to the Midwest, it’s actually a pretty cool place with some pretty amazing people. Texas will always be my home, but so far I’ve had the time of my life here! Please comment below if you have any thoughts, questions, or something you think I should add!

9 thoughts on “A Texan’s Guide to the Midwest

  1. Ya got it, however you missed one: There is no such a thing as open-toed winter dressy shoes in the Midwest unless you carry them separately in a waterproof bag to functions, then change when you arrive.

  2. Roof = Ruff
    Couch or divan = sofa
    Card = cord
    Ya’ll = you guys
    Vinegar is their go to for fries instead of ketchup
    No mustard on a burger either

  3. Then there is moving to Texas from Iowa…. Where you don’t understand why people can’t make it to work on snowdays. You tell stories of your 1000 mile road trip in 19.5 hours, or of driving on ice when you can’t make it up a hill and your coworkers, claim, those people are mental. Your Iowa family think Texas is hot, yet you don’t wreck your car in hot. I do greatly miss the small towns where neighbors are extended family. I love telling people that my entire family went to the same school, for generations. My city boyfriend claims he can’t handle women fighter pilots, I told him you can barely handle Iowa farm girls…..

    1. It’s definitely two different worlds/cultures! I grew up in a small town so I had neighbors that felt like family, but the people up here are hands-down what made my transition so easy. They are so kind and willing to do anything for you!

  4. And who could forget the all important difference between Barbecue and grillin’. Don’t be alarmed when someone invites you over for some barbecue and you arrive with your mouth watering for some brisket (or even sausage) only to find mere burgers and hotdogs on the grill.

    Apparently folks mean no offence….

  5. When I was in grad school at Purdue (after living only in SC before that) and it would snow as it tended to do, before Christmas, even (!!!!!!) I would find a mostly empty parking lot and practice doing donuts in the snow, stopping and starting, until I had a feel for how my car would handle. I did this at the first snow each year. Also, watch for people just slowing down at stop signs, because they are worried they can’t get going again on the ice.

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