Sunday, January 23, 2005

Why Wisconsin?

A lot of people have asked me this question when I tell them I should be going to America later this year. Some of them with interest, others with confusion, others with out-and-out disdain. So, here's my explanation, which I sort of worked out with Jamie, who helped me arrive at this conclusion.

Ever since reading The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson, I've been fascinated by the Midwest. Most Americans find this rather strange, but it's true. It seems to me to be the real America - as Jamie pointed out, states like Ohio have almost always picked the winning President in every election. I'm not suggesting that this is a good thing, but it suggests that the Midwest is typical of 'America' as a whole. The other options for the exchange are Oregon and Maine. Now, I'm sure these are very nice states, but I couldn't really tell you much about them other than their locations. (Over on the left, and up the top on the east, incidentally) Wisconsin, specifically Eau Claire, may not be the first place you'd want to visit in America, but out of the three it's the one that appealed to me.

The proximity of Wisconsin to a number of other states appealed as well. I have a friend in Chicago I'd like to visit, plus I wouldn't mind hitting Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and maybe even Canada, as it's close. Who knows? It gives me a window of opportunities.

In short, Wisconsin hold a perculiar appeal to me. I want to see America, and I can't help but think I'll see it there. My pre-conceptions of it, at least.