Home is where the heart is. At least that’s what they say. I’d like to think home is in multiple places, because let’s be honest, my heart’s all over the place.
Home has always been an interchangeable idea of where I have always felt I’m suppose to be, which is constantly where I am not. When I was in France, I was constantly aware how American I could be sometimes, which made me feel out of place and longing for Indiana. Now that I’m back home in the States, I am constantly aware of how French I can be. I can’t help to miss the French culture way of life with cobblestone streets, baguettes, cheap wine, train rides, and architecture older than my entire country.
How do I reconcile those two? Not only am I just American, but I’m a Hoosier, which is, just like an other state, a type of home all on its own, which adds another level to the whole idea of home.
I long for my French homes, constantly feeling like I’m slowly starting to neglect the person I became there. I constantly feel as though I’m missing out on something that I was supposed to be a part of.
But I told myself that I have to stop. I can’t control (at least to an extent) what country I’m in on a daily basis. I have dreams of returning to France, and I will do so someday. However, I have things and people here in the States that are just as wonderful, just as exciting, just as adventurous. I have things in the States that I need to accomplish before I go back.
When you drive down country roads on a Indiana summer nights, where it’s still warm, with the wind blowing through your hair and all you can see is stars, that, my friends, is adventure. You feel it in your bones.
My home is adventurous. Coming home with a fresh perspective, having experienced a different culture for an extended period of time really made me realize how beautiful, how fun, and how exciting Indianapolis can be. A place of hipsters, giant nerd conferences (Gen Con anyone?), craft breweries, beautiful parks, amazing shopping centers (The Fashion Mall), fantastic museums (The Indianapolis Museum of Art), pockets of warm and inviting sub-cultures (Broad Ripple and Fountain Square), race fanatics, the home of the young adult fiction writer John Green, the setting of his most famous book The Fault in Our Stars, and amazingly welcoming people as well as amazing food and a variety of cuisine choices, Indianapolis is one of my favorites.
The reverse culture shock still keeps me company every now and then, sneaking up behind me when I least expect. I get frustrated for no reason, and find myself saying out loud “what in the world is wrong with this country?!” She still rocks my thoughts. Curse you, reverse culture shock.
I always told my friends while I was abroad that there is nothing like an Indiana sunset. Oh boy, is that so true. I never realized how much I missed a good Indiana summer sunset until I came home. Everything’s flat and filled with fields of corn. Corn is everywhere, my friends, but when you see the sky painted an array of colors miles and miles long creating a silhouette of all those fields, man that is magic.
Of course, there’s also Indiana humidity and mosquitoes, but those little quirks make Indiana home. It wouldn’t be home without them. It wouldn’t be the good ol’ Midwest.
Did I mention how much I love craft beer? And how many craft breweries there are in Indiana? Indiana is a gold mine for them. Where France lacks immensely in the beer scene, Hoosiers more than make up for it. And maybe I’m biased but Hoosiers make some of the best beer.
Now that I’m back to working at the microbrewery for the summer that I worked at before I left for France, I am once again reminded of my love for craft beer and for the people that work in and support the craft beer industry. I’m also reminded of the fact that I haven’t been to enough craft breweries in Indiana. I am making it my summer’s mission to go to as many as I possibly can. I find adventure in this.
For all of you non-Hoosiers out there, you must know that Indianapolis may not be on the same level as many other state capitals, but I will convince you that it is worth a visit, if not for the craft beer, then for the pockets of sub-culture.
You walk along the streets in Broad Ripple, and you can just smell the culture: craft breweries, unique restaurants (most of which are locally-owned and run), locally-owned and run shops and boutiques, an array of bars and night clubs, and the best vibes in town.
I never really ever realized how much I love Broad Ripple, this small culture within the grand culture of Indianapolis and the even larger Hoosier culture. I find adventure here. I find home here, yes, indeed, another home. I’m discovering new places worthy of my attention in this small portion of my home city.
Indianapolis is also the home of the Indy 500, one of the most well renowned races in the States and even in the world on some level. We have drivers that compete in the race that come from all over the States and some even from other countries. It is true that the Indy 500 can be quite the ridiculous spectacle, but Indianapolis claims one of the largest races during the year, and I find that to be pretty amazing. It’s yet another thing that is very unique to us Hoosiers.
Another thing that I missed while living in France was the ready availability of parks in which I could go hiking. State parks and city parks are numerous in, around, and within a decent drive’s distance of Indianapolis. I’ve gone hiking at least twice since I’ve been home, and there is nothing like Indiana nature, both beautiful and frustrating. Again, humidity and mosquitoes. Oh, that’s home baby.
Adventure and travel is all about perspective, my friends. Many of my friends and people who learn that I lived in France tend to put my on a pedestal, claiming how amazing it must’ve been to travel to all of those different places and to go on all of those different adventures experiencing different cultures. Traveling has always been and will always be amazing and one of my all-time loves, but the more that I travel the more that I realize that I know nothing about the world. The more that I travel, the more that I see beauty and adventure in everything, even the city that I’ve called my main home my entire life that I never used to see the beauty in before. The more that I travel, the more that I appreciate where I come from, realizing that I will always be a Hoosier girl at heart to some extent.
There is adventure in your own backyard. There are things in your own city that you probably have yet to discover, and it’s just waiting there for you to discover it’s magic.
I’m quite the coffee fanatic. I have at least one cup of coffee every day, and even though I generally don’t judge, because ultimately at the end of the day, coffee is coffee, I do enjoy a beautiful, warm, inviting, liquor of goodness calling my name.
Open Society in Broad Ripple will please your taste buds and take you to another planet, and as I was enjoying my daily cup of joe in a whole new environment, I couldn’t help but to be absolutely inspired by my city, my home, my Indianapolis. There is an element in the air, I suppose you could say, that makes America unique. It’s not really anything tangible. It’s more like just a feeling that you get of being wild, young, and free. Maybe that’s just America. We are still a teenager rebelling against everyone else because we are still trying to figure out how to make life work. It’s definitely frustrating sometimes, but it’s makes us special and unique in our own way. And Indianapolis may be small and most of Indiana may just be filled with corn fields and farms, but it is beautiful. It is inspiring. It is adventurous. Indianapolis is a large city with a hometown feel, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Kisses America, I’m finally learning to appreciate you for what you are, instead of despising you for what you aren’t.