Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore

I’m 21 years old, and I’ve essentially lived my entire life in the Midwest (Illinois and Missouri — not Kansas, I am happy to report). I did live in New York City for three months last summer, but I think anyone who’s been to this area of the country knows that New York is nothing like the rest of the region.

In about three weeks, we’ll find out if all that Midwest experience has prepared me for life in the Northeast — Connecticut, to be exact.

I’ve now spent a total of 48 hours in the state of Connecticut, and it’s really different. But I’m proud to say that I’m a fast learner. Here’s what I’ve gathered so far:

The towns are really close together. You seem to enter a new one about every five minutes, and nothing in the area seems to be more than 30 minutes away from anything else.

The shops and restaurants are in tiny little buildings, most of which are painted in bright colors. It’s all very quaint and cute.

When it gets dark, it gets really dark. This causes problems for navigating, and the lack of street signs and street lamps doesn’t help matters.

There are pizza places and Dunkin’ Donuts everywhere you look.

Streets are not well-organized or planned out (duh, they weren’t designed for cars). The roads are windy, and the intersections are crooked.

Speed limits mean nothing. If the sign says 50, and you go 65, you’ll be passed by everyone on the highway. Ironically, there is also an astounding number of speed bumps.

There’s an entirely different assortment of grocery stores here (a phenomenon I encountered once before, upon moving from Chicagoland to Columbia, Mo., so I’ll be readjusting again).

It is woodsy. There are so many trees.

The word “wicked” is not just used by teenage boys. Middle-aged moms employ it, too.

Hail is not a concern. Snow, however, is a big one (but that’s nothing new to a native Chicagoan … sigh).

Many towns are older than the country in which they are located (I looked at an apartment in Farmington, est. 1645).

A trip to the next state and back can be done in a day. Quick visits to New York, Boston and Rhode Island are perfectly normal.

The zip codes start with a 0 (how weird is that?).

So there you have it: Life in the Northeast, Lesson 1. But, most importantly, I also discovered that, contrary to popular belief, the people are nice.

Then again, I’ve only been here two days, so perhaps I haven’t met enough of them yet.

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