by Maike Torrez on January 28, 2020

Kansas — before I moved here (from Germany) I had heard of Kansas (once or twice), but I really didn’t know a lot about it. Except that Dorothy came from here and got blown away by a tornado with her dog Toto. I had heard of Wichita before and Topeka as well, but Manhattan — I had no clue that Manhattan existed other than the Big Apple, New York!

Well, let me tell you, my knowledge was going to be expanded in a short amount of time. I would actually be moving to a state that was smack dab in the middle of the United States!

Not New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Miami Beach… “just” Manhattan, Kansas. The “middle child” of the United States, so to speak. Nothing really fancy to brag about to my friends and family in Germany, but through my Googling efforts, I actually found that Kansas seemed quite charming.

The middle child is mostly the quiet one, the one that often gets underestimated and stands in the shadow of their older and younger siblings. And that’s what this place is — Kansas is so underestimated. “Oh, isn’t that in the Tornado Alley?” “There’s nothing there, it’s just flat for miles and miles.” And so on.

Well, I guess you haven’t been to the Flint Hills yet! No, they are not the Rocky Mountains — but bigger doesn’t always mean better. The Flint Hills sure are pretty, if you go explore and see the wind make the tallgrass prairie look like a waving ocean. Maybe you’ll meet some bison as well while you’re out there.

Speaking of an ocean — no, Kansas isn’t close to any of them, but we do have beautiful lakes and breathtaking sunsets. Sometimes it’s just the perspective, not the surroundings, that has to change to make things look different and beautiful. The saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I never was a big city girl and Kansas made me realize even more that I really enjoy a more rural atmosphere. I enjoy the space and the calm and quiet. (And if you need a little more excitement, Kansas City is just two hours away.)

However, the real treasures of this state are the people, who call you “hon” at the grocery store and wave at you when you pass them coming down the street. They are laid back and friendly and maybe they don’t want Kansas to become too popular with everyone, so we can enjoy our sunsets in peace and quiet for a little while longer. They make it worthwhile living here.

New York and L.A. sound great, but only for a short visit at a time, not to live and enjoy my life in. Sunflowers, wheat and The Wizard of Oz might be what people think Kansas is about, but enjoying life — and those beautiful sunsets! — is really what we’re all about here.