Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Quick Hits- Champaign

It's been almost two months since we picked up stakes from Harrisburg, where I'd lived for ten years, and moved out west. I figured it was a good point to share some observations on the city, gathered while sitting outside Pekara with a lovely cup of coffee (Ethiopian dark roast, always a good bet.):

-I really could see myself living here for a while, especially if we stay within biking/ walking distance of downtown. I love that there are still a lot of local businesses, and a good number of vegan or adaptable vegetarian options (although it's far from perfect in that respect) foodwise.

-There is a disturbing lack of bagels. From a quick non-scientific tour of the coffeeshops, Dunkin Donuts appears to be the only reliable source for bagels. This is no good. The server I talked to at Pekara confirmed my fears, so it's not just me. Someone needs to fix this situation.

-I've started to notice some of that famous midwestern reticence. The students I've met have been lovely and friendly, but there is definitely a difference when it comes to "townies"- people are not really interested in making eye contact, and it's rare that a smile is returned. I'm not sure if it's because I dress fairly casually around town, so it could be guessed that I'm a student, or if it's just the way people are around here...

-Working from home has definitely made it harder for me to meet people. I've definitely got to go make an effort to do things like go downtown to watch a game at the bar and whatnot (dare I become a Cubs fan in addition to a Red Sox fan?)- this will be a LOT easier when the bars in Champaign go smoke free at the end of the year...

-Steak n' Shake scares me.


Miss E said...

There used to be a good local bagel chain called Bagelman's, but they slowly but surely closed up shop over the last 2 years. Panera has good bagels, but the closest one to you is either out by the mall, or at the corner of Kirby and Mattis.

Townies and students are totally different animals. It took a while for me to make townie friends - and I wasn't a student for the first year and a half of my time in Champaign. Hang out long enough and you'll crack 'em. Mike & Molly's is a good place for that, especially if you like watching baseball on a Monday night. I miss that.

Oh Champaign. *sigh* I'm so ridiculously homesick right now.

stegan said...

So many bakeries, yet so few bagels. It's very strange. But I can get a decent cup o' joe, which makes up for it somewhat.

As much as I do like it here, I do have pangs for Harrisburg sometimes. It'll pass, I'm sure...

Jenn/Yana said...

I feel your bagel pain. I lived in Chambana in th elate 1990s and we at least had bagel-access then.

When I moved here (both times) I found people relatively cool to friendly overtures. I don't know if it is Midwestern thing, though. I'm from Nebraska, and people there actually smile at strangers and say hello. But then again, most people here regard Nebraska as being part of the West, not the Midwest. Casual dress probably has little to nothing to do with it, although that's an interesting observation!

And I am sooooo looking forward to smoke-free bars again. It was so nice to be able to breathe during the brief smokeless period this summer.