What it's Like Living on the East Coast from a Midwesterner's Point of View

One of the main reasons I knew I wanted to go to BU was because it was in Boston, which was my second-favorite city in the world. Second to Chicago, my home, and my favorite place on the planet. Boston was a cuter, smaller, older, East-Coast version of my home city, and it was the only city I had ever been to where I felt almost instantly at home.

When I had visited New York and Boston, I thought everyone was in a rush and they moved really quickly. The Midwest as a whole is notorious for being slow, but Chicago is a bit different because it’s a major metropolitan city and I feel like it’s a much faster-paced city than a lot of other major cities in the states. Boston almost felt a tiny bit slower than Chicago, but I chalked that up to the city being smaller and having fewer people.

I first got to Boston in August, and honestly didn’t think there was much difference between the East Coast and home, except for the heat. Chicago gets hot, but it’s very much tempered by the lake, which almost ensures that we rarely see days with temperatures higher than 90 degrees. It gets humid but not SUPER humid, making it totally breathable. My first three weeks in Boston were SO warm. I woke up every day in a sweat and had to take a cold shower because I felt so disgusting. However, although both Boston and Chicago have four seasons, I noticed that Chicago’s winters are a lot more brutal, and Boston’s summers are a lot more humid. But both cities happen to have a ridiculous amount of wind.

Another difference I noticed was the number of healthy food places in Boston. There’s Dig Inn, Sweetgreen, BoLoCo, B.Good, HoneyGrow...the list goes on. In Chicago, we have a couple of Sweetgreens and this place called Protein Bar, but both are only located in the working part of the city and aren’t easily accessible to the average person that doesn’t have a corporate job. The East Coast really has their act together when it comes to healthy food that’s quick and easy to grab and eat on the go.

I had heard rumors about people being nastier on the East Coast, or harsher, but I brushed that off because I assumed that it was just people being touchy, or looking for an excuse to bad-mouth everyone else. Now that I’ve lived in Boston for over six months, I can more confidently say that people here aren’t ruder, but they’re definitely less friendly. People in Chicago are always holding doors open, greeting you, getting out of your way if they see you coming, and generally have a nicer disposition about them. People in Boston definitely do their own thing, are not really shy about shoving you out of the way, and don’t always say hello to you if you walk in the door.

My biggest wake-up call about the differences between the East Coast and the Midwest happened when I went home for winter break. My mom was picking me up from the airport, but my flight got in a little bit early so I was waiting for her at baggage claim for about 10 or 15 minutes. From the time I got off the plane to the time I found my mom, three separate people told me “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” I realized that I had almost completely forgotten it was almost December 25th, because nobody in Boston said anything of the sort.

All of this being said, I love living in Boston and being on the East Coast. However, whenever people ask if I’m excited to go home, I always respond “Yes. I miss the Midwest so incredibly much.”


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