City Versus Rural: Some Differences

In case you missed the memo, we moved.

We moved from Los Angeles (which is a city) to rural Wisconsin (which isn’t).

Los Angeles County has a population of 10 million. The entire state of Wisconsin has less than 6 million.

However, we didn’t do the obvious thing and move to one of the adorable two towns (Madison, Milwaukee) that people call cities here. No, we moved to a rural area where the nearest “town” is miles away and has a population of less than 500 people.

What have we done? I eat 500 people for breakfast! (Not everyday. Some days I just have eggs.)

Some differences I’ll include are regional differences, not “city versus rural” differences. I know this. Don’t explode in angry defensiveness about how you live in a city but you understand blah, blah, blah. Nobody cares.

Like when we saw this ice cream sign the first week we moved here:

(No actual turtles harmed in the making of this ice cream. Turtle is chocolate and caramel and pecans mixed. Or something. I think.)


Or ordering at restaurants:

I forgot that people say “pop” for soda here. We’ve now changed to saying “soda pop” which makes us sound even more foreign and also from the 1950s.

And lollipops? They are called suckers here.

Speaking of food that nobody should eat anyway, I’ll just sum it up with this:

Even the sushi here (which I unequivocally do not recommend) has cheese on it.

(Feeling defensive yet, foodie Madison? You are landlocked. It’s okay. Nobody expects you to have decent sushi. Stick to that farm-to-table and “biggest farmer’s market in the country” thing you rock at. PS – You also suck at tacos. Work on this, okay?)

One last regional difference to get out of the way. It’s a big one.


There isn’t much diversity here. There is one main religion.

It’s called Sports.

There are other minority religions around, like Hunting, Beer, Cheese and Brats – but Sports is by far the most widely worshipped.

This is a huge contrast to Los Angeles, where the most popular religion is Money. (Minority religions there are of course Fame, Plastic Surgery, Yoga and Complaining About Traffic While Stuck in Traffic.)



Now for some more general city versus rural differences…

The very first thing we noticed when we moved here was the s-l-o-w-e-r pace of people.

In fact, I noticed it before we moved here when I was trying to set up a storage space for all of our stuff. (We lived with my grandmother for a month while we got to know different areas and house hunted. Thus, our stuff went into storage.)


What would have taken four minutes in the city takes 20 minutes in the country. However, I did learn the name of his dog. It was Butterscotch.

I still have to intentionally slow myself down. After decades in the city, being, um, nice doesn’t come naturally to me anymore.

However, there is one area where I have to go faster.


I come from Los Angeles where we have freeways that we regard with such great reverence that we put a “the” in front of them. (It’s not 101 freeway, it’s the 101 freeway. It’s not 405, it’s the 405.) So I know how to drive.

I just don’t know how to drive fast. Do you know how often I drove 70 mph in the city over the last two decades? Never. Not even once.

In the country it’s all wide open roads and you can go super fast. It’s scary as shit.

Especially because we have our own three unique forms of traffic issues here and none of them mix well with speedy driving.

The Three Rural Driving Hazards:

  1. Very slow things
  2. Things that make the road difficult to drive on
  3. Things that jump into the road unexpectedly

Amish buggies, tractors. You get it. Things that go slow but also have every right to use the road right in front of you. Slowly. Especially in hilly and curvy areas where you can’t pass them.


Roads with cows on them are difficult to drive on. Bumpy.

I have encountered every one of these at least once. Plus more. Like turtles. They are slow and in the road so you have to stop your car, get out and pick up the turtle and move him to the side he was heading to. Also, the ducks of a neighbor’s farm love to splash in potholes in the road in summer so I have to watch out for those guys after it rains. (Ah yes, add potholes big enough for ducks to splash in to this list.)


These are the scariest driving hazards. Especially at night. Every night something sprints across the road in front of my car. Also, opossum and skunks. And cranes! So many of those. I had to stop once for a mink and once for a woodchuck too. And an owl that swooped down! (Can you tell I’m not complaining? All the wildlife amazes me. Right before I almost hit it with my car.)

But I would be seriously lacking if I didn’t mention something that absolutely stunned us when we first moved here.


Darkness in the city happens only when you close your eyes or are indoors with blackout curtains. I had forgotten what real outside darkness was like.

Darkness in the country is enveloping. It is being wrapped in black velvet topped with abundant, sparkly diamonds. It’s breathtaking and humbling.

And also full of mosquitoes.

Either that or really fucking cold. (Those are the two seasons. Itchy or cold.)


Lastly, I’d like to share a little bit about the people.

As I mentioned, there are less people here. That means I am no longer city invisible.

I miss city invisible. City invisible is easy. City invisible means you can go to a store or a restaurant and you are unlikely to see any of those same people ever again in your life. You can wear pajamas. You can fart loudly. Your kids can have a fit. You can trip and knock over an entire shelf of picture frames. Nothing that happens matters because nobody will remember you the minute you walk out the door. It’s brilliant.

In the country you go to a store and you will see those same exact people over and over again all over town. What is worse, they might already know who you are the minute you walk in the door.

Like that time I walked into a garden shop and the owner said:

Not only did she know who I was, but she knew I was in the middle of building a chicken coop. (Now when I say “know who I was” I don’t mean writer of Crappy Pictures, thankfully. I think I’d faint and go into hiding if that happened. Just the “new family who bought the so and so’s property” level of know who I am.)

And the people out in the country are just so…different. Nice. Helpful. Friendly.

Do you know what happened when we moved into our new house out in the country?


Neighbors showed up and introduced themselves. There was a stretch of a couple weeks where I had to be wearing something other than pajamas every single day just to answer the door and accept trays of brownies. (I’m sure I did it all wrong too, I was probably supposed to invite them in and offer coffee and pie but I didn’t ever. In the city we’d generally just hide when the doorbell rang so the fact that I’m even answering the damn door is a big step for me, okay?)

Fast forward a tiny bit…

After living here for a few months and finally establishing a bit of a weekly routine with classes for the kids, library trips and such, we started to feel like we actually belonged.

There was one moment that sealed the deal…

We are at our cafe. I say “our cafe” because it is the cafe that we go to each Friday while Crappy Boy takes drum lessons down the street. Same time, same day for several weeks.

Our waitress knows us, knows our order (coffee for me and Crappy Papa, raspberry tea for Crappy Baby with a cup of ice to cool it down faster) and she gets it for us without asking, the minute we walk in the door and sit at our table. Table 3.

We are about to leave and Crappy Papa goes up to pay. The owner is behind the counter and says:

Now a normal person from the country would say “thank you!” And leave.

We are not normal people. We are city people. Nothing is free in the city.

We don’t trust anything.

So Crappy Papa says:

And he says it like a huge asshole. All suspicious and doubtful.

But I’m right there with him, watching from the booth thinking “Just take our money! Why won’t they take our money? Oh no, are they saying we can’t come here anymore?”

And finally the poor owner backtracks and has to explain his kindness:

And then he calls us a term that even city people know and yearn for.


We’re regulars!

We’ve made it. We’ve made it our home.



Have you moved? Any regional differences that surprised you? Or city versus rural differences? Tell me some stories.  



Thank you so much for all your Coloring Book orders! I really, really appreciate the support. There will be fun contests/giveaways related to the coloring book in January. I’m waiting since many of you are giving them as holiday gifts. Can’t wait to see some pages colored. (At any skill level, contests won’t be based on skill – details next month.)

PS – coloring books are fun if you live in a city OR out in the country. Coloring books don’t care where you live. 

PPS – I do miss the city, but I love the country too.

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157 Responses to City Versus Rural: Some Differences

  1. Marina says:

    I really found this entry charming. I love your “crappy” blog. 🙂 I wish I could live in the country sometimes so I could have goats… but then I’d have to give up Starbucks… decisions, decisions!

    • Keisha says:

      Oooh, get one of those fancy coffee machines for at home! I’m a goat enabler, he he. I have six of the buggers.

    • Chelsie says:

      It is totally possible to have both! I live in Prescott, AZ lots of rural areas 15 minutes from town which has at least 4 Starbucks sooooo… Just sayin 😉

  2. Oh man. I have a whole blog full of stories. The name of the blog is “Going Country,” which pretty much sums it up. Although after over a decade, I’m gone, not going.

    When we moved to our current location on the Canadian border about a year ago, though, it became a whole OTHER level of small town. Especially when I got pregnant. EVERYONE knew about the baby. Around my due date, the dump lady asked my husband if I had had the baby yet. I never go to the dump. The mail lady–who is the mother of my sons’ school principal (the principal was pregnant with twins and had the same due date as me)–asked if I had dilated yet. After the baby was born, the guy at the hardware store congratulated my husband on the baby. I never go the hardware store.

    And just a note for anyone new to a small community: Be careful what you check out at the library. The last time my husband picked up a book on hold for me, the volunteer working that day (I have never met this lady) told him I always check out the best books and she often checks them out after me. The book he was picking up for me that day? “How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids,” by Jancee Dunn. I expect marriage advice from strangers after church any time now.

    • Sarah says:

      My librarian new I was the second person to find out I was pregnant. The first was my husband. When I was picking up my holds from the library, she said she knew I liked to plan ahead, but was I, maybe, pregnant as my arms were filled with baby books.

      Also, a tip from me, do not believe your husband when he says don’t worry about wearing ratty clothes to town because you’re doing a quick errand and you probably won’t see anyone you know. You ALWAYS see someone you know.

    • amber says:

      Oh goodness, yes. Fortunately, our librarian just knows I’m obsessed with all things farming. (Nothing but sheep, goats, alpaca, barn building books coming my way lately.)

  3. Pangolin says:

    I initially missed the comma between hunting and beer, and though “hunting beer” sounded like a reasonable rural sport. 🙂

  4. Mary Clare says:

    I moved to a college town in a rural area from Chicago and was initially annoyed by the small town life. Getting used to the hunting culture took some time. I worked with wildlife biologists (still do) who liked to shoot and eat about every critter there is. After trying squirrel gumbo, I found common ground with folks where I thought there’d be none. I enjoy the charms of a small town nowadays. My kids’ teacher hugs them when we see her in town. I chat with my doctor at the gas station. Plus no traffic!

    • Mary Clare says:

      The tricky thing for me is navigating cultural/political values that are different than mine. I’d add that sometimes I question what’s most important in a friendship when one has different beliefs than a friend. Learning that others hold different beliefs and are still good friends/good people is an ongoing process. I’ve had to let go of stereotypes about rural people and adjust to the fact that people are more than the candidate sign in their yard.

  5. Tricia says:

    Ah Culver’s. Welcome to WI!

    Madisonite here. I agree Sushi in rural Wisconsin is terrifying and I would avoid the seafood pretty much everywhere (although the walleye, perch and fish fry can be quite good). But you actually can get good Mexican and sushi in Madison if you go to the right place (or bad ones if you go to the wrong place).

    I particularly like Taqueria Guadalajara and the Mexican grocery store on South Park Street. Let me know if you are going to be in town and I can give you more recommendations. (I went to school in Texas and my family lives on the coast in Washington state so I do have some standards)

    • Tricia says:

      And yes. I just confirmed your foodie Madison stereotype. It’s true.

    • Meagan says:

      Oooh, that grocery store is the BEST! I’m also a fan of La Mestiza on Odana. And yeah, I posted my own comment. *raises hand* former Madison foodie here!

    • amber says:

      We’re in Madison at least twice a week – more recommendations please! We haven’t been to Taqueria Guadalajara, will try it this week. Thanks, looks promising – just onions and cilantro on the tacos. No cheese!

      As far as Sushi, we’ve been to RED (twice, because we were desperate for it and it is edible) and a couple other places and can’t remember their names. All made the top five worst sushi of our lives. The bar is too high with this one, I think.

      • Liz says:

        Agree 100% on the poor sushi here in Madison. I lived in NYC for seven years before settling here. We’ve tried all of them and they are all on the low end of acceptable so I hold my sushi cravings for when I visit NYC.

        Now queue ten foodie Madison people to disagree with me who have never traveled out of Wisconsin! lol

      • Crash says:

        El jalepeno is also delicious for tacos. For Thai/Vietnamese/Laotian definitely try out ha long Bay. My first experience with Thai food was in LA, and when I came back home nothing compared until I went to ha long Bay.

        I also second the comment below about muramoto being delicious.

      • Bethany says:

        Oh my gosh the cheese. I moved to Minnesota from Orange County, CA and a quesadilla I got here was filed with American cheese. Bleach! And a cheese enchilada had canned nacho cheese in it. These were suit down restaurants with Spanish-speaking staff, for pete’s sake.

      • Begonia says:

        This was awesome. Welcome to Wisconsin! I not a regular reader but a friend posted this and I got a kick out of it the same way I enjoy watching the Manitowoc Minute!

        I’m another Madison foodie here, but married to a real latino dude that I met in Guatemala when I lived there so I know the difference between tex mex and the real deal. Here are my recommendations:

        For tacos, tamales by the dozen, take home carnitas, and fresh tortillas, go to Mercado Marimar on Park street on Sat or Sunday. They do have a food counter during the week but only sell the tamales and tortillas on the weekends.

        For tacos, El jalapeño on Midvale Blvd is the best place in Madison. Also quite close to Home Depot so it makes a good place to have lunch if you are headed there!

        I disagree about taqueria guadelajara. We never go there anymore.

        For pupusas, go to the Monona Bakery and eatery on Monona drive.

        And I agree 100% about the sushi and seafood in general, except for local trout and walleye.

    • Kate S says:

      I moved to rural WI from the Gulf Coast. I don’t want to talk about the sadness that is sushi up here. I do recognize that nothing will ever compare to sushi made with fish caught that morning, though…

  6. Rebecca says:

    OMG yes! We moved from a city (Htown) in our area to a miniscule small town (Sburg). No grocery store. No gas station. 1 local pub that everyone goes to and 1 ice cream parlor that is fabulous and within walking distance. I love my life now.

    When we lived in Htown, we had nice neighbors but other than our direct next door neighbors and 1 family down the street, we knew NO ONE. IN 15 years. I would introduce myself to people and they’d look at me like I was crazy. Before we had even moved into our new house in Sburg, our neighbors came over to introduce themselves, gave us their numbers, gave us food and beer. They make signs for my children’s birthdays and stick them on our door. They have come out to give me water when I was running on hot days. It is adorable.

    In Sburg, it’s normal for the elementary schoolers to take a half day and walk down to decorate the town Christmas tree. In Htown, you don’t go near the tree because that’s where junkies hide their needles.

    In Sburg, the bartender at the local pours our favorite beers as he sees us coming through the door. In Htown, the bartender at our favorite place would often hand us the wrong credit card despite the fact that we’d been there every week for years.

    In Sburg, I can walk down to the local farmer’s market and support a veteran’s organization at an antique/craft store. In Htown, I could walk to a pawn shop or a methadone clinic.

    Oh, and there are bears in Sburg and tons of deer. Also lots of tractors. But I don’t mind them.

  7. Christina F. says:

    We moved from the metro-DC area to Freeport, IL (about an hour and a half from Madison). I feel ya on the differences—even though Freeport has 25,000 people. It wasn’t a wanted move and I’m less thrilled than you are about the changes, except for the regulars thing. We recently learned the servers at our weekly restaurant fight over who gets to serve us. (It’s a good thing! We’re not terrible customers they’re trying to avoid.)

    • Jennifer says:

      I’m from Warren, IL, (my parents still live and my sister lives in Lena). Freeport is where we went to get to a Walmart or such. ? I live in a less rural part of MI now. Walmart, Meijer ant Target are all about 10 minutes away. I was born in Madison though, since Warren is only a .25 mile from the WI border we went to Monroe for doctors/hospital. When there were complications we were transferred to Madison. My family aren’t Badgers or Packer fans though. We cheer for the Fighting Illini and the Bears. My freshman class at U of IL was larger than my hometown! My mom can probably relate to a lot of this blog. She was a city girl until she met and married my dad. We lived on a dairy farm for the first several years of my life. It was a HUGE adjustment for her. That was 15 minutes away from town (Warren, no Walmart etc.). ?

  8. Meagan says:

    I am super impressed by your Bucky drawing! I have to disagree on your thoughts re: Madison food – perhaps you just haven’t found the right places? But I’ve moved from one landlocked place to another, so my sushi expectations are probably pretty low. And I’d take any tacos from Madison over the ones I can find here in England (which is to say, none. NONE! I EVEN MISS TACO BELL!)

    • Sarah says:

      Meagan, I guess you’re not in London? There are good tacos in London now, though you’re more likely to find a burrito

  9. Monica says:

    I moved to Madison from Maryland/DC–don’t get me started on seafood. The “crabcakes” they make here? cakes, not crab. Spicy sushi rolls get gobs of mayonnaise, ick. Fish frys are alright though ( has lots of recommendations).
    I remember being gobsmacked by the dairy section at Woodmans, a humongous local grocery store. There was the most cheese in one place I had ever seen! (Speaking of which, have your kids had squeaky cheese curds yet?)
    At least WI does pie and ice cream very well. And despite the obstacles, roads are pretty nice for biking to work off said pie and ice cream 🙂 –speaking of which, here’s an interesting rural observation: biking towards Evansville, we see lots of beer cans and fast food wrappers by the side of the road. Biking towards Columbus the roadside trash was … milk cartons.

  10. Mandy says:

    In western New York, specifically the Buffalo area, we also say “the” in front of our highways and I get grief about it all the time from people not from the area. But my husband, who is from New Hampshire, has totally absorbed that habit. Still can’t get him to say pop, though, which is another very Buffalo thing.

    • Catherine Hoffman says:

      I’m from the Finger Lakes and my DH is from Olean and he always says “the 400” when we’re in Buffalo. However, we both say “pop” and love the little pepperoni’s on our pizza!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes! I’ve been living in Buffalo for 14 years now and never heard anyone say “the” before a road name until I moved here. Thought it was only Buffalo until reading this blog.

  11. John says:

    I am very happy to be able to enjoy your posts again.

    I hope you continue to enjoy Wisconsin and let us read about your adventures. I grew up in Wisconsin (Madison) but moved away after College.

    Happy New Year,

  12. Lisa says:

    I moved from Los Angeles to a rural-ish island in the Pacific Northwest. I definitely miss city invisibility! I’m always going to run into someone I know and if neighbors pop over unexpectedly, well … they just have to wait while I put on a bra and real pants before I answer the door. I also remember our realtor driving us around and saying, “Don’t ever drive like a jerk, because that’s when your kid’s teacher will be in the car right behind you.” 🙂

  13. Elise says:

    Ahh yes. I’m originally from Wi (Hudson to be exact). Lived in Minneapolis or a suburb there of for most of my adult life. Recently moved to rural Minnesota (8 miles from the SoDak border) to my husband’s hometown. Other than all the things you’ve mentioned, the one that gets me is the directions/landmarks, “oh yeah just go down the road to where old so-and-so used to live and turn past the old oak tree that’s not there any more”. Um what? How about an address and I’ll just put it in my GPS, thanks. So many people know my name and I have no clue who they are and since my husband is horrible at names he doesn’t know either. And don’t ask my MIL cuz she’ll just tell you about someone’s cancer and never actually explain who you were asking about.

  14. Liz W says:

    Almost cried over your dark ‘toon. I miss the sparkly, lovely blackness of true dark.

  15. SParker says:

    Geeze, I’ve really missed your blog and each time you post, I realize it more and more. Moved from BOS to Milwaukee, WI back to BOS and now in rural, CT. There is a song that goes with this post, “you may ask yourself, How did I get here? and you may ask yourself..” Milwaukee, though a ‘city’ still wicked small town. Lots of strange things about being rural, but the best is I haven’t bought meat in a store in years. We get it from the farm up the street, and not by the # or cut of meat but by portion of a cow!! quarter, half, or whole (whole cow is a TON of meat, don’t do that first).

  16. Marty says:

    I made a similar cross-country, cross-cultural move ten years ago! Midwest to the south. Big city (though not LA big city) to small town. Definitely took getting used to! I’ve been here long enough that this is normal now, but your post brought back memories of all the changes!

  17. christine Hilton says:

    I know I said it before but I am so happy you are back!

  18. Laura says:

    I live in Vermont. Tell me about rural, I get it. As I don’t eat seafood I can’t comment on the sushi here though. We have some decent Mexican places but nothing that compares to the places I went to in Arizona. . .
    I’m glad you are settling in and so happy to see you blogging agsin.

  19. Laura S. says:

    Can I just say how happy I am that you are blogging again? I’ve enjoyed your blog for so long I feel like I “know” you. I bought a coloring book! Happy to support, you’ve given me way more than $12 worth of laughs over the years.

  20. Anon Amous says:

    I moved to Madison from NYC a few years ago. Milwaukee is most definitely a city and Muramoto sushi is good. However, I agree everything is mind bogglingly slow slow and every checkout clerk asking, “what are you up to today?” feels rudely invasive.

    • Stan says:

      Milwaukee has less than a million people in it so I’d call it a town. I’ve lived in both Miami and Chicago for most of my life but I travel for work and have been just about everywhere. I’ve never found sushi in the middle of the country in any state to be worth writing home about.

  21. Merrilee W. says:

    This is fantastic and so true! We moved from Southwestern CT (basically NYC extension with wildlife) to southern Maine last year and it was the friendliness and the pace that hit me the most (which to be honest is a good part of the reason why we moved here). I am still trying to learn how to not try avoiding eye contact, but rather to make eye contact and smile. And also to not honk – no one honks at each other up here for any.thing. and coming from a place where everyone honked at everyone for every thing – this has been most difficult. 🙂

  22. Patt S says:

    Lived this post and Im so happy you made it! You’re regulars!!!

  23. Carrie says:

    We moved from DC to Iowa. Even though we’re in the “quad cities” our oldest kid was not fooled. “You said this was a city! There are no tall buildings! You lied!”
    we started making out own sushi.

  24. Susanna says:

    I’m so confused by your experience with the pop/soda thing! I grew up in Michigan and starting visiting Wisconsin regularly as a teenager. Then I lived there for 3 years as an adult. We always called it “pop,” and every Wisconsinite I knew called it “soda.” Maybe it varies by location within the state?!

    • Brenda says:

      I grew up in WI, and it’s always been soda to me!

      • amber says:

        Maybe all the waiters here are from MN or MI – now I’m going to ask them. 🙂

        • Gail N says:

          Based on the comments about Amish biggies and cranes, I think I can guess which part of the state you’re in. I grew up on the other side of the state, and we say soda over here.

          • Mary says:

            I was going to say this same thing! I grew up in NE, where we said pop. Now I’m in Eastern WI where we say soda. Guessing you guys live West of Madison. 🙂

        • Jennifer says:

          I’m from IL, but so close to the WI border that I was born there. Anyway I grew up calling it “pop”.

    • Kate says:

      Michigan transplant to WI here and wait staff get very confused when I ask for pop. I refuse to submit to soda so I’ve taken to saying “Pop, like soda pop.” lol

      • Em says:

        I think it must be regional differences in-state, because I grew up in Southern Wisconsin and always called it “pop.” And we never said bubbler, it was always drinking fountain.

  25. Emily Campbell says:

    I see you haven’t yet converted from “freeway” to “interstate.” 🙂 When we moved home to Iowa after living in San Francisco for 15 years, my mom rolled her eyes every time I said freeway: “There are no tollways here, so you don’t have to differentiate.” And you just say “the interstate”, without the number, because indeed… there is only one.

    • Ashley Williams says:

      We’re in Columbus, OH (so still midwest-y). We shorten interstate to I. I-70. I-71.

    • Becky says:

      WAIT. Is that why people call them freeways? As the opposite of toll ways? I have only lived in rural Wisconsin and slightly less rural Iowa, so I never thought about it. I can relate to many things in this post though.

  26. Mandy says:

    I grew up in Kansas and for about 3 years after college I lived in Connecticut. I had someone walk up to me and say, “Where are you from? You can’t be from here, I can tell by how you walk. You just look relaxed.” I told him I grew up in Kansas and he then says, “I’ve never met anyone from there.” It was a pleasant conversation and made me realize that no matter where I move, I’ll always be a Kansas girl at heart.

  27. Krissa says:

    We moved last year from uberLiberal millions-populated Portland OR to smallish town western MI (so far western I can hear Lake Michigan). Aside from the culture shock, I’ve noticed:

    1) Most businesses don’t have Yelp/TripAdvisor/etc reviews and/or a business website. Those that do have reviews are soooo skewed by people who obviously haven’t experienced anything else and don’t know any better or are friends of the business owner. Businesses websites that are out there are often super crappy. It’s like we traveled back in time 10 years.
    2) There are actual brick-and-mortar video stores here!
    3) I don’t know if it’s like this in other towns, but it seems like everyone who lives here has lived here forever along with their entire extended family and everyone has had the same friends since they were 5. Since everyone has those established friendships already, there doesn’t seem to be room for new people. We’ve lived here a little over a year, and I don’t have any friends. It’s rough.
    4) So. Much. Hunting. I seriously hate being on Facebook during hunting season. People post their bloody deer processing photos. Barf!

  28. Rachel R says:

    Fun read, because my husband and I are actually considering a move to Wisconsin. We sort of hoping for some mishmash of rural/suburb. Like, a couple acres, but still being able to get to a grocery store within 5 minutes and have access to a costco without it being “a thing” yanno? We live in the ‘burbs of Seattle and it is expensive as hell. You can buy a shitty tiny condo for like 450k. But if you have 4 kids and want to have a house and a yard, get ready to pay twice that. My husband’s family is spread out all over WI, and its much cheaper to live there, so its a logical place to move to if we’re going to just pick a new state. its terrifying! But your post makes it sound kinda fun.

  29. Jane says:

    Completely relate! Moved from a large, metropolitan East Coast city area to a smaller northeastern “city” surrounded by rural-ness. A lot of people were actually not super friendly at first, and I discovered it’s partially because half the people on my street are related to each other, so they didn’t really feel the need to associate with a newbie. I still find it charming how fast it takes to run errands here. Like how I don’t have to schedule an entire day for a doctor visit (mostly). However, there are a lot of drawbacks. There are things I just always assumed everyone had access to (certain foods, grocery stores, other retail outlets) that are not accessible. Not as much choice in service (cable, telephone, repairs, etc.). Stuff like that. It’s pretty fascinating. Oh, and all the hunting. And the sports.

  30. Cheri says:

    When we moved to Wisconsin, I thought it was so funny that the reasons for excused absences at school are listed as SICK, FAMILY VACATION or HUNTING. I also like the NO SNOWMOBILES ON SCHOOL PROPERTY signs! I adore all of the stars. It is amazing how many there are where you get away from the lights.

  31. Brenda says:

    I grew up just outside of Madison and now live in the Twin Cities. I relate so much to this! It’s always a little weird when I go back to visit family and go back to a town of less than 10,000 where the school district encompasses a lot of farm land. I do enjoy the anonymity of city living, but I also enjoy the quietness of a smaller town. I still scream every time something darts in front of me while I’m driving at night. That darkness is so hard to get used to when it’s all street lights and easy visibility here.

  32. Angie says:

    Born and bred Sconnie girl here. I’ve lived all over the country since moving away in ‘03 and the regional differences are numerous. It pained my heart the time my 4 year old mentioned the drinking fountain, that will never happen again! I miss the motherland so much, but now we live in MSP and are as close to WI as I’m going to get any time soon! Try Seven in Minneapolis for sushi and enjoy the country!

  33. Ginger says:

    I moved my family to a small town 6 hours north from the “city”, now Winnipeg is my home (about 700k population, and yes this is a ‘major’ city in Canada). We lived there for 21 months, uprooted my small family of 3 to live where we had no family connection to being there. I remember one of the first nights in town, we drove around to get to know the area a bit (not much of a drive, took about 5 minutes to reach one end to the other). And I remember the song “People are Strange” by The Doors playing in my head as I’m looking at all these weird people. I kid you not, we were driving down the main stretch and I seen this gang of elderly people walking down on a Friday night (probably to or from bingo, I don’t know or maybe to cause rucus), and then on the other side of the street was this girl riding (or technically standing) on her bike as it rolled down the sidewalk eating this huge 12 inch subway sandwich, and then I see a pack of geese conversing on the street corner, it was so weird. My husband and I just looked at each other with the “wtf” face lol. We’ve been back in the city now for 3 years, and I seriously miss the slow pace lifestyle of small town living. But I also love the convenience of city living, and the fact that I have two Walmarts within a 5 minute drive, as opposed to an hour and a half drive to the nearest Walmart. Fyi-my husband hated living so far away from the city. He does not like small town living.

  34. Franziska says:

    When I was 12 I moved with my parents from Santiago de Chile (city of 5.5 millions, skyscrapers, subway) to a rural town in Switzerland – 16 000 people, no high buildings. At school I was asked a couple of times how it felt to wear shoes! I couldn’t unterstand the question. Neither I could answer the questions about food – e.g. if snake or spider tasted better….

    Since my mom grew up in this town and my grandparents both were teachers at the local schools literally everyone knew me, even if I didn’t now them. So my mom would always know everything about my whereabouts- often even before I was home! I could never go to a shop or the skating rink or the swimming pool without somebody recognizing me.

    Several years later I moved in with my boyfriend. He lived in an even more remote village. Sure, he was the talk of the village since he had long hair. I never went to the local shops since they used to close at 6 p.m. when I was still at work. One saturday I happened to walk into the bakery for the first time- and I was asked by the owner if I had enjoyed my holidays in Sri Lanka. I was truly stunned.

    Now I live in Zurich, a town of 500 000 and I love the mixture of familiarity in neighborhood and the privacy downtown.

  35. Andrea says:

    There’s a store in Minong, WI that has a sign that says, “Beer, Guns, Bait, Food.” Beer and guns should maybe be separated by a well or something! The store doesn’t have a name that I know of. That’s it..

    • amber says:

      Oh gosh, yes! There is one nearby that is called Guns, Ammo & Cars. It’s sadly lacking in alcohol though, you have to cross the street for the beer to go with your car and guns.

  36. Heather says:

    I think the biggest cultural differences for me (Long Island girl marries Oklahoma boy and ends up living in the middle of nowhere) have been that they call soda “pop” and the fact that nice jeans, a button down shirt, a cowboy hat, and shined boots can be considered dressy attire. I never knew! Also, the fish sucks here too, unless it’s from a river or lake. Never trust seafood when you’re landlocked. Just not a good idea.

  37. Angela Garrison says:

    Did you move with us and follow us around? Because absolutely everything you just described happened to us!!! “Our cafe” called us regulars too and paid the bill. We too are in the Midwest (Iowa) and moved from the city to the country. Absolutely no country in our blood at all – hubby wanted to start a grass-fed beef farm. Happy to say we are on our way to that reality (1 bull, 2 cows and one baby girl cow and one baby boy bull born on our farm this summer). I thought I would hate all of this and really wasn’t so thrilled but I absolutely LOVE it!
    I am close enough (45 minutes) to a city (Des Moines – yes it is a city at 750,000 people) that I can get that fix whenever I really need it but the slower pace of life has really been beneficial for me and the rest of the family (Dad, college daughter, college son, 7th grader and two 5th graders). Everyone out here has been lovely and after two years we feel like we belong and it’s really become our place in the world.
    P.S. The darkness is unbelievable and people just don’t understand until they experience it. The stars are amazing and the world is incredible out here!!

  38. Jo says:

    Our whole family loves reading your blog installments. So glad you’re back!

    We also loved the idea of your colouring in book, but what is $12 USD on Amazon in the States ends up being about $65 AUD by the time you send it to Australia. So I won’t be ordering any sadly. It sounds awesome though!

  39. Sarah says:

    I love your dark starry night pic ?

  40. Melissa W-M says:

    I love this post, especially the food portions and sports religion. (I’m a practicing Badger with 17 years of football season tickets.) We recently moved from Wisconsin to Scotland for my job. Suburb to city center. We used to have two cars that we drove daily. Now we have one car that is barely driven. I take the train to work and my stay-at-home-Dad husband walks nearly everywhere. The food is often weird here, but my 6-year-old likes haggis. (We didn’t tell him what’s in it. He describes it as spicy, sausage-flavoured oatmeal.) Change is good…keeps us growing. Glad to hear that you’re happy with the move and have become “regulars”. Keep up the good work!

  41. Andrea says:

    I’m from LA (not far from where Crappy Family lived, I believe), and now live in the countryside in Sweden. Fortunately, we’re only 25 minutes from a reasonable sized (by Swedish standards) city, and lots of great food, but I totally get the lifestyle differences. My favourite story of when I realized I’d gone native? My three young children (a bit younger than Crappy Boy and Crappy Baby) were looking out the window at the road and asked, “Who’s tractor is that mamma?”, and without thinking, I replied, “Oh, I don’t recognize that tractor…” which I realized, immediately afterward, meant that most of the tractors that went by I DID recognize. Never saw a tractor in LA.

  42. Marianne says:

    Your rural sounds a wee bit like Scotland 🙂

  43. Melissa says:

    This is all so familiar… we moved from inner city Minneapolis (not LA, by any means, but still City) to a farm in rural WI when I was 13. And funny enough, my husband moved from San Diego to a farm in rural WI when he was in 6th grade. We both have a lot of “culture shock” stories! I remember one of the first days of spring at our new farm, there was a neighbor kid in galoshes in our pond, shooting frogs with a B.B. gun. I guess they do that in the country? We are currently in Minneapolis raising our family, but would love to move back out to a farm (maybe rural WI??) someday.

  44. Andrea says:

    This was all so spot on!! We moved from Chicago (big city, but midwestern nice) to a small New England town (us New Englanders are a bit standoffish). I grew up in a small New England town, but left for college *cough cough 20* years ago and never came back…until now. Something about having kids of my own apparently made me crazy – I mean – made me want to move back to where I grew up. But I was in the Midwest too long, so I’m midwestern-nice to EVERYONE and i don’t care what they think. PS my kids also believe turtle ice cream is made of turtles…I sorta didn’t set them straight ;p

  45. We moved to Wisconsin from Massachusetts so the regional stuff I totally get. Wisconsin is friendly to a level that seems possibly crazy or about to mug you to my New England sensibilities. And there is cheese on everything. We’re in one of those big Wisconsin cities you mentioned so not sooo much the rural but I have felt a little bit of that lack of city invisible. Some days I love it and some days I want to wear big dark sunglasses and a hat lol.

  46. Nikki says:

    I’ve lived rurally most of my life and have moved to a city this year. It’s a small city and I’ve been visiting it my whole life as my family is based here, so it hasn’t been too much of a culture shock! But I am sooooooo enjoying being anonymous! I was so very tired of the less-nice aspects of everyone knowing all your business.

  47. Cindy says:

    I’ve lived in the Downtown Orlando area for over 10 years now and although I love living in an urban area, I dream of country living on occasion. My take away from this is that I should wait until my life is less embarrassing since I can still remain invisible in the city. Once my kids stop pooping their pants, throwing fits, knocking stuff off shelves and causing me to only wear pajamas all day, I could consider moving somewhere people might get to know us. I’m so glad you’re back to writing these!! My week is seriously made better by reading about your adventures!

  48. Carolynn says:

    We escaped Northern California’s East Bay and traded it for north western Nevada. We now have acerage for my horses that didn’t cost us 3.5 million. Oh yeah, there’s wild horses here too. They just kind of wonder the open range, and sometimes nap in our front yard.

    They don’t throw “the” in front of the highways though….I had to work on that, but I use “the” when I visit SoCal and my family because that’s the correct name for them ?

  49. Cindy Howard says:

    Ha! Freaking turkeys! We had to slam on the brakes when a flock of them spontaneously decided to cross the road right in front of us. We’ve just moved to the small town my hubs grew up in and it’s wonderful in so many ways, but also a big adjustment for my little introverted self. My favorite parts so far are being able to see the stars and seeing a Norman Rockwell painting come to life in the form of watching people skate on a rink they made by flooding the park while Christmas music plays over the loudspeakers. Wow!

  50. Lisa says:

    I moved from the rural area to the city (Los Angeles) so i lol’d hard at all of this. Folks love to talk about the weather, they will ask how your mom/ dad/ brother/ uncle are doing. Where I moved from, my brother lives in that same city as my parents- so do all his in-laws and most of the folks i went to high school with. Still get regular updates from my Mom. I graduated 18 years ago and moved 13 yrs ago! I miss the darkness, oh how i miss the darkness!

  51. MB says:

    I went to college in what I thought was “the middle of nowhere” MN, from a suburb near Minneapolis. My assigned roommate thought she HAD come to the big city from the actual middle of nowhere. She took me to her hometown once, and along the way burst out laughing at me. I had my face pressed against the car window looking at all the stars. It was amazing. Also, it was so far north and cold that they left their cars running while pumping gas. I was pretty sure she was trying to kill us.

    Also, being from MN, we always called it pop. It was the weird Wisconsinites who used soda, I thought. It must be regional. I live in Chicago now and have adopted the term soda, to my family’s horror.

  52. Ruby says:

    We are in Australia and have moved from Sydney to Brisbane. These are some of the big differences that we noticed straight away:

    “I see white people” (whispered like the kid in the Sixth Sense)
    Sydney is a big melting pot of every different culture and ethnicity, the school I went to alone had over 50 different ethnicities. Brisbane seemed so white in comparison. Later on we realised it wasn’t as dire as it seemed.

    So many sex shops in Brisbane. In plain sight, in every suburb. Sydney seems to hide theirs away in discreetly coloured buildings, whereas Brisbane has bright yellow sex shops on the main road next to the local hardware, cafe or radiology practice.

    So many tattoos. In Sydney it’s mostly the hipsters who have tattoos, but in Brisbane it is every man, woman and their dog. Or maybe it’s because it is so much hotter up here and people wear less clothes so you can actually see the tattoos.

    Less traffic in Brisbane. When the GPS advises the time of your trip you actually end up at your destination earlier than planned. In Sydney you always plan an extra hour for your trip, even if it’s just to the local shops.

    They have CD and DVD stores! And DVD hire stores! I feel like I’m back in the nineties. All shops are closed on Sunday in the main town, including cafes. Some people might find it annoying but I find it quaint.

    Life seems much more relaxed in Brisbane. People say hi or smile as you pass them on the street, our neighbours are the most neighbourly people we have ever met. We haven’t experienced any car park rage or shoulder barging like we did in Sydney.

    The food options are not as great in our particular part of Brisbane. We have to drive closer to the city to have a nice meal, especially anything that hasn’t been Australianised to the point of having no flavour. A very first world problem.

    In all, we are much happier up here. We bought a decent sized house with a pool, minus the million dollar price tag. We have a lovely community who are very inclusive. We have sunshine all year round, no more cold winters with numb feet. We love the variety of wildlife, the natural beauty and quick access to amazing, tropical holiday destinations. For us, the lifestyle outweighs any of the negatives.

  53. Amber says:

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it but I really like whistles for the cars. It seems to really cut down on animals in the road.

  54. Larissa says:

    I was in a snarly mood this morning, left over from some incidents the night before. Then I read about bumpy cows and had to laugh. Much to the relief of my husband. So thanks for that, from both of us. But you really must answer one question for me: do you now have more than one bathroom?

    Writing from Japan, because yes, we moved too 🙂

  55. Ashley Williams says:

    We moved to the city 4 years ago from the country. 2 of our children were born here and one of the older ones was only 2 when we moved so she doesn’t remember the country. I do miss the DARK darkness. It’s always so bright here. But my funniest moment was recently when we went back for a family thing. We we’re driving fast down a hill road (those don’t exist in our city) and my 3 year old’s stomach was doing that funny-feeling-over-the-hills thing and she FREAKED OUT. She just couldn’t figure out what was happening and it was adorable.

  56. KerriAnn says:

    Moving from Minnesota to Wisconsin was actually a huge shock to me. SO MANY BARS. More bars than churches in most towns. And you’re wrong about religion in Wisconsin, there’s only one: Packers Football. In Minnesota, no matter how well the Vikings are doing, we can come up with an explanation of how they could go on to lose the game. In Wisconsin you can have two games left in the regular season with only one W on the year and not only can they tell you how it is mathematically possible to make it into the wild card game and make it to the Superbowl… they are absolutely confident that it will happen.

    • Susanna says:

      So true! This year is a perfect example. ?
      I’m a Lions’ fan: I don’t bet my team will win even if we’re 3 scores up. Similarly, I never bet Aaron Rodgers will lose. #somedayhe’llretire

  57. Tom says:

    Moved from VA to VT 9 years ago. You are so spot on about the speed of transactions (slower), friendliness, hunting, animals jumping across the road, the chickens (we finally got 4 and a rooster), everybody knows your business, the librarians (love them!). May your life in the country be full of friends, good food, love and happiness!

  58. AussieGal says:

    Oh boy, I’m not insane enough to ever move to the city! I can’t even stand our large regional town, too many people, too many cars, not enough birds! I’ll take slow and kind, with fast roads, any day. I love the stars (and cos I’m up before the sun for work, I get to see them often) and being able to breathe fresh air. I love green – trees, grasses, weeds, don’t care as long as it’s green and organic. And I don’t mind only having one bathroom or de-junglefying my yard. Oh and things such as going out to the car to go to work pre-dawn and a kangaroo hopping down the road 😀 (Yes, I’m in Australia). It was interesting to hear your experiences, thank you for sharing.

  59. KB W says:

    Just one warning about picking up those turtles to move them off the road. Hold them away from you because they will pee, as I suspect you have learned.

  60. Tara says:

    For most of my childhood my grandparents lived in Ferryville WI which is about two hours west of Madison on the Mississippi. So much nostalgia reading this post! The Amish buggies on the road, the little local restaurant where everyone knew them, the wildlife and incredible night sky. They live close to me now and I’m so glad to have them nearby but I do miss that place!!

  61. Gigi says:

    We had the EXACT same experiences moving from Las Vegas to northern Minnesota. Our town is about 20,000, but we still see the same people, our neighbors showed up to meet us with cookies, and one of our neighbors plows our rediciulously long drive way for free because we haven’t bought a plow yet. Adjusting to being nice was hard. Saying hi to strangers and talking with them is just weird and uncomfortable after living in the city my whole life. And frozen water… People drive trucks and leave little houses for fishing… It’s ice! Doesn’t seem safe but I know it is. I have to keep my house clean since people just show up. We’ve been here 2.5 years and love the change!

  62. Angela says:

    Great now I wanna move too! Sounds charming! I’m from the country and really have never moved, but I travel. Like that time in Boston that I tried nicely chatting with the lady I shared the seat with on the T….yeah didn’t go well.

  63. Monica Moore says:

    Grew up in a small town in Indiana. (It had only a flashing yellow light in the middle of town, a tiny convenience store, a pharmacy, two restaurants, and a super large livestock auction barn and yards) I hated living in Indiana. .. then we moved to a small town in texas. I LOVE it here!! People are kind. They greet you. They leave you be when you want. (We’re introverts here so yeah) the schools help my kids, specially my oldest who is special needs. Of course the common thread is everyone us a jerk no matter where you go when it comes to driving. Lol!! Only things I miss about up north is FALL and cheaper housing.

  64. Lauren Schotsman says:

    I’m so, so, so, SOOOO excited that you included a monster eating a hotdog!!! I can’t wait until my book arrives and I can show my son! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!!!

  65. Greenmama says:

    This was perfect. I’m so glad you’re back, BTW, I missed all these real life laughable moments. We moved from Denver to rural Colorado 3 years ago and you nailed every last bit of it. I especially can relate to the road hazards. I’ve had to drive through flocks of sheep multiple times, they part like the Red Sea. One thing I’ve learned, don’t talk about anyone. You never know who’s related, just assume everyone is!

  66. Angie connolly says:

    We had opossum dig a hole in our pool liner. The pool liner floated. That means we couldn’t use our pool anymore! Ugh! So we spent over $3000 to get it fixed. It took a long time but when it was done we Found ouT a family of opossums were living in between the pool liner and tHe pool wall. They got angry and dug ANITHER hole in our new pool liner! We caught them by outing apples from our tree in a garbage bin ( we didn’t mean to make this trap it just happened because we r really city people transplants to virginia from the big apple —NYC!). When animal control came to get them, they loved our “trap”. “Just amazin idea” said animal control guy! I love your blog. It makes me laugh, and feel like I’m not the only crazy one in the world-I mean that as a compliment!

  67. Lori says:

    Loved this post! I moved from Chicago to Kansas City. People had problems understanding me due to my accent and how fast I talked. And I had to change religions from pizza to barbecue! People also smile and say hi to strangers here.

  68. Kelly P. says:

    This post is awesome. I moved from LA to a small farmtown 50 miles outside of Minneapolis. Lots of bars and churches. Glad you are back and sharing your life and experiences with your fans!

  69. Alexis Brink says:

    We moved from rural country to the “city” about the time you moved. I call it city because Albuquerque is the biggest city I have ever lived in, but it’s not a true big city (I know). However many of the difference you mentioned are so true! 2.5 years in and I can still fart in the store and pick my nose in the car and be city invisible!
    Oh and guess what, your cranes winter with us! We love them here and create whole festivals around them. They are one of my favorite things here.
    Enjoy your free coffee 😉

  70. Lou says:

    Those turkeys you drew are cute as ?

  71. I moved from Atlanta to Dahlonega (yes, like the country song, a little dive bar in Dahlonega – it’s a real place) and noticed not only the stars – WOW – but also the fresh air. There was nothing between the tree releasing oxygen and me breathing it. Fresh air. Or you could just call it tree farts. (and give me credit for coming up with the new nickname for oxygen)

  72. Melody says:

    It’s so interesting to see this perspective! I grew up in a small farming town of less than 300 people. I moved to a much larger city (although still a small city at about 50K population) so my experience is opposite. Small towns can be great, but I like the anonymity of the city.

  73. Hayley says:

    We moved a year ago from a city to a smallish town. Now the town we moved to is literally an 8 minute drive from the city we moved from. But the difference is noticeable! People are so friendly here! They’ll say hi to you when you pass walking down the sidewalk – but not only that, they’ll often have a small conversation with you! This is not something I’m used to. It’s amazing the culture difference just between a city and a town.

    • Hayley says:

      But one of the things we’ve had to get used to is the grocery store closes at 9pm instead of 11pm. Like, come on! How are we supposed to do our late night shopping?! ;P

  74. Louise says:

    Three years ago we moved from England to rural Zimbabwe. Nearest shop 70km away. But home grown food, plenty of space and sunshine. My kids are thriving. I’m in the kitchen right now waiting for my aloe Vera to drain a bit so I can turn it into juice. There are onions hanging from the eaves outside the window, chickens and ducks are destroying the parts of the garden that aren’t fenced off and there are children happily shrieking outside. You can get ok sushi in town if the sushi chef is working that day, and I’ve never had a taco in my life!

  75. Jess says:

    Yeah, I did move. From Brazil to Houston!!! Tell me “difference”! I could write a book about it. Just to mention one little difference: drugstores and banks drive-thru!! My mind went like “how is that even possible? Who came up with this stunning idea?”. I’d have loads to share. But I’d prefer u to share yours!!

  76. Mabyn C says:

    I live in Canada and I assume all of Canada is considered rural when compared to the United States. And I live in rural Canada so…it’s like pretty country. I can totally relate with everything in this post and for some reason it makes me super happy that you guys decided to move somewhere more country (even though I don’t know you lol). Also, up here we also call it pop and suckers 🙂

  77. Kimberly A. says:

    I love this and I love that you are blogging again! Thank you!

  78. Letitia says:

    Glad i put my coffee down. It would have shot out my nose!!! So funny!! Best wishes for your new adventure.

  79. Missy says:

    We live and love living in rural wisconsin. My sons best friends is the grandma that works at the little grocery store and the grandma that owns our village cafe.

    One day we are sitting at the cafe and a tractor with two pick ups behind it drives by. My son pipes up, “traffic is heavy today.” Told that to my sister who lives in the twin cities and she just about died.

  80. Miranda says:

    I’m a country girl planning a big move to the city in about 3 years. SOOO not looking forward to it! However, some of my kids have never lived in the city before, so I’m looking forward to teaching them the ins and outs, and watching with pride as they learn to navigate their new lives. And then we’ll move back to the country as fast as we can! (But “as fast as we can” will be a minimum of 7 years…)

    I love your blog. You literally make me laugh out loud!

  81. Shannon says:

    I moved FROM rural Wisconsin to big old Charlotte NC. It was crazy, scary, and wonderful. Took me a month to understand what people were saying over drive thru speakers though. Southern drawl hurt my Yankee ears! After I successfully went to Cook Out alone, I knew I was officially a resident and not an alien. 😀

  82. Jen says:

    Once spring rolls around you have to try El Grito food cart.

  83. Becky says:

    Native Wisconsin girl here. You know what’s a bad combination for driving? 65 mph speed limit and several brown cows in the middle of the highway at night. No way I could stop in time after I was close enough to see them. Lost a car to my own personal game of cow bowling. One bounced up the hood and over the top. Thankfully only the car was hurt. And I mean, it probably wasn’t good for the cows either, but they all walked away.

  84. Kate says:

    This made me chuckle, as I grew up in the midwest – in the suburbs of Chicago – about a half hour from the Wisconsin border, which were “country” when I was young. We drove to the butcher shop for our meat on a dirt road. The only grocery store, bank, and library were in the next town over. It was a charming life and this post brought back all those wonderful memories… Enjoy slowing down (except for driving, lol)!!

  85. Enid says:

    If you go to Madison, try the tacos at The Ohio Tavern (on Ohio St) which is a hipster joint that was formerly a day drinking joint. Or try El Pastor on Park St. And also write me so I can meet you.

  86. Katterfox says:

    I have lived in Michigan my whole life and grew up right on the Wisconsin border (I was born in Wisconsin). It makes me happy that you are getting to enjoy this way of life. It’s lovely. I hope things continue to go well for you!


  87. Sara R says:

    Soda/pop debate – hilarious. I lived in Janesville WI (southern WI)growing up and we called it soda. Moved to Sheboygan WI (east WI) and they call it soda. My parents now live in Hillsboro/Elroy area (west WI) and they call it pop! It’s very regional! I completely love love love the darkness that is country living, nothing like it. I love this post! Two seasons – itchy & cold – that cracked me up!

  88. Kim says:

    Northern Minnesota here – we also pretty only much have itchy and cold season. I’m back in my hometown of about 1500 after leaving “forever” in my 20s and glad to be here!

  89. Bram says:

    Cheese curds. You may have given up some things, but you get cheese curds. Maybe even deep-fried if you’re lucky.

  90. Mama Berry says:

    We’re exactly like everything you mentioned in this post, except opposite. We live in the country and it’s a trippy adventure when we go to the city (Houston & suburbs). We hold doors open for people and they look at us suspiciously. And instead of animals, PEOPLE jump out in front of you while driving! It’s nice to visit the city to get a dose of culture and expose the kids to new things, but it’s always so nice to come home to the country where things are slow and everybody knows your name. 🙂

  91. Kelly says:

    I grew up in a northern suburb of Minneapolis. Maybe 20 min from the city. So I’m not a city girl, but I’m also not a rural girl. We had a lot of family from rural Minnesota and we used to laugh whenever we heard anyone refer to Minneapolis or St. Paul as “the cities” as rural Minnesotans are known to do. When I got married, we moved to a small town about an hour south of St. Paul where my husband got a teaching job. I now tell people I’m going to “the cities” for Christmas.

    I have also found its impossible to go ANYWHERE quickly because you always run into 1 or 2 (or 20) people you know in a small town and have to stop to chat. My husband calls it “the game.”

  92. Melissa says:

    We moved from rural Virginia to Dallas Suburbs. Talk about a culture shock! My girls called the stacked highways “the spaghetti roads.” Life is jam packed and fast. Everyone is busy! I miss the rolling hills, tiny shops, huge gardens, mountains, and yes, the black night full of stars!

  93. Carrie s says:

    My small town story: I was visiting my parents in their small town home. I was out running errands in my mother’s car. When I got out of it, I got flagged down by a UPS driver who gave me a package, as he recognized my mother’s car.

  94. sally says:

    so, my husband calls the North Woods, “Illinois’ / Chicago’s back yard” Can you pick out city visitors/ vacationers when you’re out and about ?

  95. Paul Lugg says:

    This was a really fun article to read, thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Going to have to look at some more now 🙂

  96. Shelly says:

    I’m a Wisconsin lifer, I live in the fox valley (love it here and will defend it to the day I die ?). I have always called the bubbly beverage soda. I like that every where I go I see a friendly face. I’ve never had sushi with cheese on it. Although many other foods come with cheese. I also love that we have 4 seasons and constantly changing weather.

  97. Sarah says:

    I moved from a large-ish city to a “resort town” on the eastern shore. (“resort” is in “quotes” because I don’t want you to picture Miami or the Hamptons… I want you to picture the beach town version of a tourist trap that is proud of how tacky it is.) Biggest difference is traffic. Cities have rush hour, where you know not to leave your house between 4 and 7 pm unless you want to be angry and be out for three hours. Beach Town? Beach Town has rush days. Days where locals do not go outside. Days where it took me 5 hours to drive to work. Because this Beach Town has exactly three ways in. Rt 1, rt 90, and rt 50. And on days like Memorial Day or the 4th of July… (shudder.)

  98. Daisy says:

    Welcome to Wisconsin! I can’t complain about your complaints; every one of your statements, for better or for worse, is true. I hope you’re enjoying getting to know the religion we call Football! Win or lose, we love our Packers and our Badgers. I live within a short 70mph drive of that shrine we call Lambeau Field.
    But anyway, you’re doing it right. No worries. I hope my fair state becomes a good home for you and yours.

  99. Shayla says:

    I went from living in Northern Virginia, just outside DC, to living in the suburbs of Denver. I thought moving from the suburbs of a big city to suburbs of another big city would mean no cultural differences, but WOW was I wrong! There is definitely the Western mentality of a more relaxed atmosphere and lifestyle (which was great), less cultural diversity (which was weird) and they drive on the highway like they’re in a small town (which was infuriating). I never thought I would miss DC traffic.

  100. Lorna says:

    Im British but lived in rural Ireland since I was 6. The wandering cows, a lot of stray sheep, farmers chasing them with sticks across the roads and fields, sometimes horses, the road potholes and the rivers and the fallen trees and the tractors that are going so slowly I’m worried something has happened to the driver – so except for cool things like deer and raccoons and turtles (!!) I totally get those bits you notice in the countryside. But then I went to a town, did the university thing, graduated university, and went and moved to “a small city” in northern China (1.something million people, not including those that live on the outskirts who speak a totally different dialect of Chinese), got married to a local, and 3 years later I am STILL in culture shock. I love it, but that rainy Irish morning with a pheasant doing that weird load bangy noise it makes and the occasional sheep baa-ing and pure, blissful peace is always a memory I’ll miss harder the longer I stay in this awesome madness.