Tag Archives: hobbies

Living in the Midwest: How Does it Differ from the West Coast?

By Tara Khan

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

Whenever I tell people that I’m from North Dakota, I usually get a ton of questions. “Woah! What do people do for fun there?” or “Where even is that?” are the most typical ones. I was born and raised in Fargo, a town in North Dakota less than 4 hours away from the Canadian border. A few years ago, my family moved to the West Coast. After living here for a while, I’ve noticed there are many differences between the two regions, and so I’ve come to understand why people who aren’t from the Midwest might have so many questions about it. I’ve broken these differences down into 5 categories here in order to highlight what life is like living in the Midwest!

Weather: The most obvious difference between the Midwest and the West Coast is the weather. Most places in the Midwest have four seasons, with winters that are harsh and cold, and summers that are milder and warmer. However, no matter where you live in the Midwest you are pretty much guaranteed to get snow. In Fargo, there’s always snow on the ground throughout the winter months. One year, I remember it snowing as late as May and as early as October. Temperatures also regularly reach sub-zero, and even into the -20s in Fahrenheit sometimes in January. In the summers, temperatures would generally stay in the 80s and low 90s, never really reaching over 100F.

Photo by Ethan Hu on Unsplash

Food: In terms of food, places in the Midwest don’t have quite as much variety as the West Coast, as the population sizes tend to not be quite as large. When I lived in Fargo, there were only 2-3 options for things like sushi or Chinese food. People there tend to eat home cooked meals; casseroles and hot dishes are a Midwestern staple. At potlucks or holiday parties, there are sometimes traditional foods served. Due to North Dakota’s large Norwegian population, lefse, a type of flatbread, is a food I saw at most celebrations. I even helped my friend’s family prepare it one year for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Activities: Many midwestern families have “lake homes” which they visit on the weekends. People enjoy going fishing, having cookouts, or having bonfires. During the winter months, winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding are quite popular. Ice hockey is also a sport that some children play growing up. For some families, Sundays and Wednesdays are considered “church day” and “church night.” Many businesses, particularly local ones, close on Sundays. When I was in school growing up, we would usually not have after school activities on Wednesdays.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

People: “Midwest nice” is a common term used to describe midwestern people. People are generally very friendly and neighborly. During the winter, it’s not uncommon to see neighbors shoveling each other’s driveways or helping each out out with various things, and at public places such as the grocery store, people will frequently stop to chat with each other. Since living on the West Coast, I have noticed that people still have a friendly demeanor but aren’t quite as talkative as the people in the Midwest.


Transportation/lifestyle: Cars are the main method of transportation throughout the Midwest, as there are not a lot of established large public transportation systems. Walking and biking aren’t popular options due to the harsh winters. The age to obtain a license varies by State, but it is generally lower than in other regions of the country. In North Dakota, you can obtain a learner’s permit at age 14, and a license at age 15. The age for getting a job is also 14, though there are child labor laws in place to protect those under 16.

Photo by Marie-Michèle Bouchard on Unsplash

Whether or not you ever live in the Midwest, I think it definitely worth visiting at least once, especially during the winter. The weather is pretty much like how it is in the movies: freezing cold, but magical. Just make sure to dress warm and you will get to enjoy experiencing some home cooked Midwestern food and friendly people!

Featured Image by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

Tara is a freshman majoring in Biomedical Engineering on the pre-med track. She grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and Las Vegas, Nevada. She speaks English, Thai, and elementary level Spanish. Tara is involved in Taekwondo Club at USC. In her free time, she likes to solve Rubik’s cubes, play guitar and ukulele, and play with her dog, Tofu. Tara also loves traveling and learning about different cultures, especially through food! One of her favorite things about living in LA is the large amount of food options available; she is always willing to give great restaurant recommendations.

Friendships, Fun, and Funny Situations: MY FAVORITE SITCOMS

By Matthew Kim

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

When I need a good laugh or a moment to escape the hardships of reality, I always rely on sitcoms to cheer me up. A sitcom is a comedic TV show that typically focuses on the funny day-to-day interactions of a group of characters. With most episodes being around 20 minutes in length, it’s very easy to mindlessly continue watching your favorite characters and enter their universe. Sitcoms are usually packed with ensemble casts with diverse personalities that create relatable content. With good chemistry, a sitcom show can gain popularity for their loveable characters or for just being straight-out funny. For a non-native speaker, watching sitcoms is also a great way to improve your English as they typically contain jokes with references to American culture or customs. Over the years, I’ve seen a countless number of sitcoms and wanted to share two of my favorites with you all!

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

New Girl

The premise of New Girl begins when Jessica Day, played by Zooey Deschanel, goes through a bad breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Spencer. In the pilot episode, she moves out of her shared home with Spencer and moves in with new roommates Nick, Schmidt, and Coach. Thus, she is the “new girl” in the apartment. Jess, is a quirky, offbeat teacher who is seen as a dork by most. The show mainly follows her life adventure of relationships and work. Nick Miller is one of Jess’ roommates who dropped out of law school so he could work as a bartender but he has aspirations to be a writer. He’s apathetic, socially awkward at times, very sarcastic, and struggles to share his emotions. I consider him to be the rock of the group because he provides stability for the craziness around him. Schmidt is another roommate who lived with Nick in college. He’s a funny character and in my opinion has amazing character development throughout the show. The third roommate is Ernie but he is better known by his nickname: Coach. He leaves after the pilot for undisclosed reasons but makes recurring appearances throughout the show. Due to this, his character lacks a bit of depth but he’s generally a force of good in the show. Following the pilot, Coach is replaced by Winston Bishop who is Nick’s childhood friend from Chicago. His facial expressions and love for his cat are some of the most entertaining moments on the show. In my opinion, the on-screen chemistry between Nick, Schmidt, and Winston is one of the key factors to the funniness of the show. The last member of the core gang is Cece: Jess’ best friend from childhood. Her character seems a bit stuck-up in the beginning but as the show progresses, she becomes more and more loveable. All in all, this hilarious, feel-good show features a cast of characters that’ll show you what real friends look like.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother is one of my favorite shows ever and actually the first sitcom I finished from beginning to end. It is packed with comedic content but is a deeper show than most initially anticipate. The show follows Ted Mosby as he tells his children the story of how he met their mother. Ted Mosby is an architect who believes that he will eventually find “the one”. He is a romantic and constantly entangled in all sorts of drama in his love life. His best friend is Marshall, who he roomed with in college. Ted and Marshall’s friendship is something that I really admire in the show because they are always there for each other. Marshall’s wife, Lily, is a kindergarten teacher who can be the most loveable in the gang but also the most aggravating at times. The last character in the group is Barney Stinson, who is a wealthy serial playboy. He is another one of Ted’s best friends and has numerous catchphrases. Initially, he’s the most “immature” out of the gang but he transforms into a character that is loving and caring. He is my personal favorite out of all of them. This is a another great show to watch if you like shows focusing on groups of friends. It is packed with a lot of relatable content: first cars, relationship problems, financial hardships, childhood traumas, embarrassing situations, etc. All of these components make me feel more connected to the show.

Continue reading Friendships, Fun, and Funny Situations: MY FAVORITE SITCOMS

Staying comfortable with your own pace in a Reopening world

by Alyssa Delarossa

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

As the United States and more of our world reopens, the societal pressure to keep up with the quickening pace of life and activities is strong. Many people are no longer wearing a mask if they are fully vaccinated and have started attending crowded clubs and events. Personally, despite this social pressure and despite the fact that I am fully vaccinated, I am remaining cautious and will continue wearing a mask and socially distancing, as both actions have worked so effectively this past year and also due to the Delta variant of Covid-19 that is spreading rapidly around the world and in the United States.

Do I feel a bit weird running around in a mask while lots of residents in my home of Ventura County ( a one hour drive North of LA) have ditched theirs? Yes, absolutely! Peer pressure and the pressure to conform to the current social environment is real. However, the thought of potentially contracting the virus or other viruses helps me keep the mask on and thankfully, I haven’t yet had any problems with staying six feet apart from strangers.

Selfie of me double-masked once I learned about the rapidly spreading delta variant

With that being said, I have started to spend more time with my family. We are not all living together but with the reopening, I have made this exception for them. I also have close friends that I’ll hang out with in my hometown, Santa Clarita (where Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park is). I’m still very hesitant to attend crowded events and places but I will spend one-on-one time with these groups of people I call “my inner circle.”

While I do want and tend to spend time with my “inner circle” of friends and family, I spend even more time absorbed in self-care practices such as meditation, journaling, and exercise. Some of the physical activities I have been engaging in are swimming, skating, and kayaking. I tend to engage in these activities either alone or with my inner circle and the fulfillment they bring is like no other.

My friend and I masked up and ice skating in Santa Clarita, California

Some other fulfilling activities I do alone to fill up my time are cooking and writing poetry. These activities allow me to express creativity which is very fulfilling – not to mention delicious! The poetry I write does tend to be more emotional because for me personally, it’s a great way to release any emotional pain/feelings I may be experiencing at the time.

Continue reading Staying comfortable with your own pace in a Reopening world