The Kansas Dilemma


It’s a warm Sunday afternoon and I am at home, watching a documentary. It’s called 10 MPH and it’s about two guys who decide to do a cross-country trip from Seattle to Boston on a Segway scooter. It’s a neat idea and fun to watch. I am feeling a little inspired. I like that feeling.

spring flowerThey are moving from state to state sharing their thoughts about what they see while on the move. There are comments here and there about every state, little trivia kind of stuff. Most of it has been good, so far.

They are about to enter Kansas. I am curious to hear what they are going to say. This is what follows-

“We are now going to enter the state that holds the dubious distinction of being termed as – the most boring state in the United States of America.”

Right.

I am laughing now. Kansas is where I live. I say Kansas City, but it’s actually Overland Park, about 40 minutes out of the main city area.Kansas was my introduction to the United States. Eight months down the line, I am not sure what to make of it.

I never aspired to live in America. Visit, probably. In saying so, if I ever did think about living here, I figured it would be in one of the bigger cities, maybe Chicago, Atlanta, New York? I didn’t even know where Kansas was, till about a month before I got here.

I was open to the idea of moving to a new city. In this case, the choice was not mine and I was even more determined to make it work. It was going to be fine. A day after I landed, I discovered through an acquaintance that there was no public transport. Except cabs, which were extremely expensive.

Really? How do people commute?

Everyone owns a car. Everyone. I met a forty something woman the other day who told me that she had never been on any sort of public transport ever in her life. She thought it would be something fun to try out at some point.

Hmm.

Our decision of not buying a car resulted in sympathetic reactions and long boring weekends spent at home.

We live on a quiet street, in a quiet neighborhood, which in turn is located in a quiet suburb. Don’t think it can get any quieter than that. I always thought I was a big city girl. Now, I know for sure.

I used to go for long walks. There are some nice paths around our complex. More often than not, I was quite really the only one on them.

I’d been warned about winter, more than once. Extreme weather and bone-chilling temperature were to be expected. I hate being cold. I made it through winter, only just.

It’s evening now and the documentary is long over. It has left me reflective. I have questions I want answered. So, what do I think of Kansas anyway? Haven’t I been here long enough to know? Have I ever even thought about it seriously?

What is it about this place that I will take back home with me?Fall colds from the balcony

I have always believed that it is the people that make a place. The longest lasting impressions that I have had from my travels have been of the people that I met during that time.

The answer came to me after some thinking. Kansas has redeemed itself in the people that I met here.

People who have been warm, friendly and smiling. As a visitor to their country, I have felt welcome. That means a lot.

The forty something woman who had never been on public transport told me so when she was dropping me and my daughter back home from school so that we wouldn’t have to pay for a cab. Our house was completely out of her way. That means a lot.

I didn’t meet many people during my walks. The few that I did though, always asked me how my day is going? That means a lot.

Five years from now, that is what I will remember.

I am standing on the balcony now. It is late but there is still some light left. There is a tree right outside with white flowers in full bloom.

It’s a beautiful spring evening. Eight months after I came here, I have finally discovered Kansas today.

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13 thoughts on “The Kansas Dilemma

  1. Ruchika says:

    Interesting read. I liked the way you started your post and the way you concluded it was lovely. What I always like about your posts is that there is an undercurrent of positivity in them. Optimistic writing, which never fails to gets a smile on the reader’s face and leaves one thinking for quite some time. Keep it up 🙂

  2. Jo Magpie says:

    Wow, I can’t imagine a place with no public transport. I guess I would just have to hitchhike everywhere. Oh, wait – that’s what I do anyway! 🙂

  3. Ram says:

    The people that I live with(college friends) are the reason for me to hang around KC. And yes, people in Kansas are very nice n welcoming which you will miss in bigger cities. But there you are little concerned about it because you have so much to do that you don’t really care about your acquaintances.

    Anyways as usual, a very nice writing and for me a good reading to wake me up from my bed n something to feel good about the place I live.

  4. Interesting post. I had visited Kansas City last year. It was raining the whole day. It’s a nice place. I found it lazy, engrossed in its own self but warm.

  5. vandana says:

    hi priyanka….
    i can feel each and every word of ur article…reason being to some extent we are in the same boat …here in italy,, 8 out of 10 people dont speak english …and i dont speak italian..though nw i have started learning the bit of language…..we cant take our car which cuz after one year one has to give a written exam for driving as ur international license does not work anymore..
    but..yes the best part is the people..humble. polite helpful and always greet u with a big smile…thy always try their best to understan wht u want..we are blessed enough to be in the down town area in the centre of milan so transportation is not a problem..italians are very paitient people …never seem anyone cribbing standing in a long que.. i m learning day by day..and i hope by the time we finish our tenure here i will be a much more paitient person with a smiling face 🙂

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