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*Note: There are actually two (count ’em) cool things about Kansas in this article. I liked the title to much to change it.

Every place has its advantages and disadvantages. Living in New Orleans, you have the advantages of amazing food and culture, but the disadvantage of it being a crime-ridden home to random acts of horrifying violence. Kansas, especially fairly rural Kansas, is a completely different story. The disadvantages are nowhere near as terrifying as those of New Orleans, but can take a toll over time. The advantages, however, are unique to the area, and though they may be met in other climes, I’ve yet to travel to them.

Really the only disadvantage to living in Kansas is the lack of things to do. In New Orleans, having fun takes very little time, money, or planning. Here, I feel like I need all three. I can’t just walk down the to the corner and hear live music; instead I have to either drive for entirely too long or create some kind of coordinated activity with a group of friends. Both of those end up being loads of fun, but you really have to put some work into it. And I’m lazy. It’s a big barrier to, you know, going places and doing things. Minimal effort is ideal if you’re a slacker like me.

There are two main advantages to living in Kansas (or at least, the Kansas that I know). First, the sky and nightscapes are freaking awesome. As I am constantly reminded by Adrianna’s awe-struck face, the Kansas night sky is truly beautiful. The measly five or six stars that can be seen in a city sky are outshined by the hundreds as the night, especially the clear, moonless night, is illuminated by innumerable stars.

Sorry, I couldn't get any good pictures of a starry sky. Enjoy this rad sunset instead!

Sorry, I couldn’t get any good pictures of a starry sky. Enjoy this rad sunset instead!

During the day, the flatness of Kansas reveals its greatest advantage in vast, sweeping vistas that present a view unobscured to the horizon. Amber waves of grain dotted with the occasional patch of green trees sweep up to meet a pale blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds. It’s a vast expanse, and you’re reminded of the enormity of America in a unique fashion. It is a feeling only coupled when standing on the (obnoxiously) cold mountains of the rockies. It’s a special feeling, and I’m glad to get it somewhere I can call home.

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The second advantage to living in Kansas is a double edged sword. There’s a lot of space, and not a lot of people. This is great, as everyone here has space to do fun activities, from camping

Camping, pictured above

Camping, pictured above

to dirt-biking/four-wheeling/mudding and really anything else one can do when kickin’ it in nature. Because people don’t have to live right next to each other, people tend to be a bit less stressed and a bit calmer than most city dwellers.

Present: Not an abundance of stress

Present: Not an abundance of stress

Pictured: calmness

Pictured: calmness

On the downside, because people here aren’t packed as densely  their urban brethren, they don’t always take others into account  when they make decisions. Recently, Adrianna and I went to a movie. It was one of those snazzie eat-&-watch things, where we got super comfy seats in a small theater, and could order food and drinks throughout the movie. This is really only made possible due to all the space in Kansas. But, about halfway through World War Z (nothing like the book, but still a decent film) I grew increasingly frustrated with my fellow moviegoers and their inability to stop making noise. There were only thirty of us, but we couldn’t go five minutes without someone doing something that created excess noise in a setting where excess noise is pretty explicitly frowned upon. Not cool.

Kansas, just like any place, has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s unique, and from everything I’ve read about China, very different from where we’re going. I love it and yet, it drives me up the wall. I love the people here, and yet they occasionally drive me up the wall. My time in New Orleans has changed how I think about my home. I can’t wait to see what my time in China does to me.

(Adrianna Note: We saw a gigantic deer today. It was a doe. A deer. A female deer, and she was beautiful. I squealed with delight. We’re about to go look at the stars. I love Kansas.)