Tennis shoes are sneakers (also influenced from my family roots in New York), and soda is pop. You don’t go grocery shopping, you go “Krogering.” How living outside of Ohio has only reminded me of my Midwestern roots …
- I’m prepared for any kind of weather. In other states where there are no seasons, the biggest event of the year is rain. Ohio’s four seasons were at times unforgiving but definitely prepared for me life in any climate. I catch myself growing bored with Hawaii’s monotone sunshine and calm tropical rains. Ahh, I miss those days of watching the lightning from our porch, counting the seconds between strike and thunder to figure out how far the storm is.
- Disney is cool, but have you been to Cedar Point? Nothing compares to the excitement of your backyard holding the WORLD’S CAPITAL OF ROLLER COASTERS. It’s the kind of theme park that puts Six Flags attractions and Disney rides to shame, and yet, other people have no idea what I’m talking about when referring to the Magnum, Raptor, and Millennium Force. This 365-acre park in Sandusky is the happiest place on Earth. Just please, buy your tickets here.
- My favorite food? Comfort food. Where Texas boasts its BBQ and Idaho has its potatoes, there’s not one food that jumps out at you from Ohio. We’ve got Bob Evan’s, Cincinnati chili and an Olive Garden or Panera Bread every mile. Don’t get me wrong, there are incredible restaurants and farmers’ markets worth visiting, but our cuisine is not narrowed down to one culture; it is more about gathering around family, friends and football. Oh, and Graeter’s Ice Cream – people drive hours for this stuff. Hence, I sum it up with “comfort food.”
- I can rock it in both a city and in the boonies. People from Ohio are not all straight from a farm. Yes, there are a lot of farms and fields, but there are also a ton of suburbs and cities. Ohioans will tell you that we are either from Toledo, Cincinnati, Columbus, or Cleveland. We’re not all from these cities but they are major markers of regions. I have friends who grew up on tractors, others who lived in the picket white fences of suburbia, and others who came from the inner workings of the city. I can fit in downtown where the city never sleeps, and the next day I can throw on some jeans and camp by a bonfire.
- Summer will always be defined by catching fireflies and running through sprinklers. There’s no beach around, and unless you knew someone in your neighborhood with a pool, sprinklers were your best way to cool off. End the day with catching fireflies and falling asleep to the sound of cicadas; this likely has contributed to my lack of athleticism when it comes to water sports, but I definitely know how to have fun with less. Ahh, simplicity.
- Winter will always be defined by snow days and sledding. Especially if you grew up in areas hit by Lake Effect Snow, there was nothing more exciting than watching the morning news to see that school was cancelled. Grab your snow suits and sleds! When you move to states where it doesn’t snow, you meet people who have never experienced this fluffy white stuff, or those who purposely moved far away from it. It breaks your heart, and you catch yourself defending snow like it has feelings. Snow is the most beautiful thing to ever fall from the sky.
- Spring Break is either Hilton Head or Panama City. Ohioans love to flock to the Carolinas when winter snow melts, or to Florida’s party beaches a short two-hour flight away. We also like to cross the border to Canada when we turn 18, or just go to the waterfront town of Put-in-Bay for a weekend of jet skiing, concerts, food and drink. We know how to have a good time.
- I may not be a trendsetter, but I know how to layer clothes. It’s an art, really. Too little layers and you’ll get frost bite, too many layers and your friends will laugh at you.
- Where did I go to college? Ohio! Ohio comes off to many as a small-town state, leading others to assume we escape for college, but there is no need to pay out-of-state tuition when Ohio boasts some seriously awesome and competitive universities. Don’t confuse Ohio University with The Ohio State University. One is in Columbus and the other is in Athens, with totally different vibes but equally successful alumni. We have a secret “Ohio radar ” that allows us to spot other alumni anywhere we go, and when two Ohioans collide, you’d think they were longtime friends. We carry a lot of pride in what college we attended, and we stay closely connected.
- Why is the speed limit so slow? Yes officer, I know I was speeding. I apologize. But I’m from Ohio, where you get run over if you go less than 65 mph.
- What do you mean I have an accent? People from Southern Ohio talk differently than people in the Northern part. I lived in both regions, and everywhere I go, I get told that I pronounce my “Os” and my “As” funny. Kind of like Sarah Palin. I don’t know.
- What do you mean everyone here is (Insert one political party)? In Ohio, election time is a big deal, and it’s TENSE. We’re a key battleground state with about just as many registered Democrats as Republicans. Neighbors aren’t shy as party signs get plastered all over the yards. It becomes normal conversation to share who your vote is going to, but sometimes it’s conversation best avoided especially at family functions – and in other states where they are not used to such aggressiveness.
- I gotta get outta here. Yeah, yeah, people from Ohio like to complain that there’s nothing to do here. But deep down we share an unwavering love for this state and carry it with us wherever we go. In time, we miss the corn fields, bonfires and football fights, and we always come back if only for a visit.