My name is Harrison George and I have a confession to make. I like Emporia. A lot. I know it’s not popular to say such things: Emporia has been a punching bag for college towns for the last few decades. Most of Kansas sees Emporia as a glorified gas station between Kansas City and Wichita. That’s definitely how I saw it before I came here. I predicted I would be just another commuter student, packing up every weekend for a more exciting town.
But over the last four years I have learned to view Emporia in a better light. I stopped focusing on what Emporia didn’t have and started noticing what it did. And now, my last year here, I’ve become a full fledged advocate for Emporia. And that brings us about up to speed I think. I’ve started my last year at college and I’m already wondering what life will be like living outside the city limits. I’ve taken life in Emporia for granted these last few years, without even knowing it. And now that it’s almost over, I’ve started taking it more seriously.
I recently had the pleasure of traveling across the country with one of my best friends. The road trip began in Seattle, WA, where my sister lives. My friend and I spent 6 days driving back to Kansas through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska. We explored the country, took in the sights, and ate at a few amazing roadside diners. It seems every time I travel to new places I wind up discovering more about where I’m from than where I am.
After more than a week and a half away from my home, I realized how much I missed the comfort of familiarity. New places are great, but after it was over nothing sounded better than my own bed in my apartment.
When I returned to Emporia and Kelsey Ryan came to me about writing a blog for The Bulletin’s Web site, I knew exactly what I would write about – Life in Emporia. Life in Kansas. Life in the Midwest.
They always say write what you know, and boy do I know about life in the Midwest. It’s more than just where I was born in raised, it shaped me into the person I am today. I am a man of the plains. I have the ideals and the mindsets of a true Midwesterner, and I couldn’t be prouder.
So I invite you to join me as I travel through my last year in Kansas and I try to experience everything that is truly unique to the Midwest. It might not be full of big city adventure, celebrity run-ins, or constant partying, but that’s alright with me. This is my home.