Below is an article we stumbled across on the BBC America website that offers advice for those British subjects who don’t see enough corn and soybeans in their daily commute, so they plan to move to Indiana.
It an interesting take on “Us” from somebody who…I think….seems to enjoy living here. He can’t figure out our language, hates the winter weather (who doesn’t?) but loves the inexpensive petrol. We also have quirky water towers, though this observation comes from someone who lives in a country where “Spotted Dick” and “Toad in the Hole” are popular menu items.
I suppose we’re about even.
One of the most common questions I get from Hoosiers (a term of uncertain etymology, referring to the people of Indiana) is Why on earth did you give up London for little old Indiana?
While the answer to this question should be reserved for another time, I must ask in turn why locals offer such a bleak view of the very place they themselves call home. After all, and admittedly it took me a couple of years to appreciate this, Indiana is actually a fine place for anyone — British or otherwise — to reside.
While it is true that much of the state is a long stretch of flat land and cornfields, with little else between Louisville and Indianapolis except for the odd (sometimes very odd) water tower denoting the latest town, the Hoosier State, like any other, is chock-full of notable quirks.
Chief among these is something I like to refer to as Hoosier-speak. Hoosier-speak, as the name suggests, is a brand of English (adopted from other states) that is used without a hint of pretentiousness by the locals.
As if learning to decipher American English wasn’t challenging enough, Brits such as myself must contend (and I use that term lovingly) with bizarre pronunciations such as warsh (instead of wash) and arn (instead of iron). It is also very common to hear someone ask Who all is going?, instead of merely asking Who is going?
Of course, this very same question is invariably asked around the time of a game. Because if there’s one thing Hoosiers love, it’s their football (and no, I’m not talking about the real kind). On what is known as game day, it can sometimes appear as if everyone in the state is dressed in the blue and white colors of the Indianapolis Colts. Everyone, that is, except for the British guy in the corner.
Thankfully for us expats, however, the state of Indiana — and specifically the state capital of Indianapolis — is actually quite Anglicized. In fact, as my namesake Brigid Brown points out over on Anglophenia, there are numerous British-style pubs and eateries in downtown Indy alone. These, of course, are one of several sources for watching football (yes, the real kind).
One of the finer aspects of life in Indiana, though, is the cost of living. Whereas one might pay in the neighborhood of £500 ($807) for a month’s rent in a low-cost area of Britain, it is not unusual to pay the same figure in dollars for an apartment in and around Indianapolis, the second most populous capital city in America.
Moreover, though Hoosiers may not always recognize this fact, the price of petrol (or gasoline) is phenomenally cheap; generally ranging anywhere from £1.87 to £2.50 ($3.00 to $4.00), compared with the recent British average of £6.22 ($9.85).
However, while costs may indeed be reasonable, there is one thing about the state that fully deserves the label of extreme: the weather. The bitterly cold winters, which often bring temperatures of -10°F (-23°C), are enough for Brits to miss the climate back home (you read that correctly). Meanwhile, temperatures throughout the summer frequently rise above 100°F (38°C) and are accompanied by a level of humidity not entirely fit for humans.