If there is such a thing as California dreaming, what can be said for those that pack up their Los Angeles digs and head east toward a new home in Iowa City? How do those people find Iowa City in the first place?
A self-described “Los Angeles girl,” Regina Galang found her new home in Iowa City this March.
“People in Los Angeles think Iowa is such an obscure place. They would ask, ‘What are you going to do in Iowa? What are you going to eat in Iowa? How are you going to survive?’” she said. “Los Angeles people don’t know where Iowa is. That’s just the reality.”
Galang has been writing about her experience in a blog since her arrival, developing it into a kind of scrapbook for things Iowans likely take for granted.
How many Iowa City residents blog of their giddy anticipation of the coming winter? When was the last time you, instead of groaning, happily took a photo of the frost blanketing your automobile?
“I think it was last week when I saw frost. Right? Frost?” Galang said, laughing. “I don’t know the term.” She saw her husband scraping the windshield and thought, “Oh, so that’s how we do it!”
Galang compares her reaction to autumn leaves twisting in the wind to the memorable ‘plastic bag’ scene in the film American Beauty. “It’s beautiful, but to Iowans, it’s old news,” she said.
“I guess you could call me the type of person who likes to smell the roses once in awhile.” said Galang. “Coming to Iowa is a good thing for me because I can hear myself think and kind of just breath for a little bit.”
At the very least, she has a couple of extra hours to blog each day than she did in Los Angeles. In California, Galang’s workplace was just 20 miles down the interstate. Those 20 miles amounted to about an hour and a half commute at the end of the day. Not surprisingly, Galang cites lack of traffic as one of her biggest Iowa joys.
Galang says she’s lost her comfort zone in leaving Los Angeles, but is slowly getting comfortable with her new Iowa City surroundings. “Los Angeles is a busy town and everyone has their own agenda,” said Galang. “But everyone in this town is so involved with the school. I’ve never seen such a spectacle like on Melrose [Street].” Referring, of course, to the Hawkeye Football tailgates that bring Iowa City to a standstill, Galang laughs over her wariness of being labeled a “bandwagon fan.”
“You have the coastal attitude of, ‘Oh, nothing in the [Midwest] matters.’” Galang said. “But once you get in the [Midwest] you tend to appreciate it. I’m just enjoying life a lot.”