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Old 02-01-2009, 05:09 PM
 
51,890 posts, read 47,713,403 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwesternBookWorm View Post
Interesting conversation. And I think there are some valid points here.

I'm married to a native of Kalamazoo. He and I left for jobs in Texas in 1981, and eventually wound up in Madison, Wisconsin. We went back to Kzo for his 30th high school reunion several years ago, and I was simply astonished by the insularity of his former classmates. An amazing number of them had settled within five miles of the high school they attended, and had never been farther away from Kalamazoo than Grand Rapids in all their lives. When we described living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, a few miles from the Mexican border, you'd have thought we were talking about living on the moon. It was quite an eye-opening experience, and made us realize that the Kalamazoo of our memories was perhaps not quite entirely based in reality.

We both still like the city, I should add. Not sure I can ever imagine living there again. But it's interesting to visit once a decade or so, just for old time's sake.
I can understand your brush with insularity. I have caught up with some of my classmates from my graduating class(2004) and many of them settled within a few miles of their high school. I would have a hard time relating to them, more so than when I went to high school with them. Personally, I haven't traveled far from where I currently live because I simply don't have the money to do so. I know some people who went to local universities. Nothing wrong with that, but I kind of see sort of a "no place is better than Georgia" mentality among some of my classmates. Not all, but a considerable amount of them. I am trying to leave Georgia myself because I haven't traveled in a a long time. I can understand where you're coming from.

 
Old 02-03-2009, 10:07 AM
 
1,324 posts, read 2,102,132 times
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Re Diversity in Grand Rapids: I have mixed feelings about this. I grew up here all the way through high school, and joked on how I was one of 8 minorities in the graduating class of 200. I shrugged when family/friends asked me if this was weird as they live in very diverse areas in DC/NJ, even though they have exclusively asian friends, and only hang out in asian places. But in retrospect, it wasnt a big deal, because I never treated it as a big deal. High school life was fine, no issues, and I moved on and still keep in touch with friends (Now I went to one of the more affluent public schools, so i dont know how this plays out in other areas)
 
Old 02-03-2009, 01:19 PM
 
Location: Denver
2,970 posts, read 6,361,099 times
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As far as friendliness and church and such........I lived in GR for 28 years (born and raised) and I never had anyone ask me what church I went to! These people must all live in Grandville, Jenison, Hudsonville, etc. near all the CRC and Baptists! I grew up on the NE side (Northview) and I found people to be friendly and welcoming.

I do agree that there is a bubble though, and that many people never leave GR to experience anything else. But if they are happy, who cares???

I find it personally very hard to meet people in Denver, so to each their own
 
Old 02-03-2009, 02:47 PM
 
1,426 posts, read 2,655,507 times
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The urban/rural divide is certainly seen here.

I've lived in a more urban environment my whole life so the move to Grand Rapids was a bit of an eye opener. GR has the distinction to be large enough to have a cosmopolitan feel (at least in certain segments) yet small enough to have a very visible rural, less urban way of life that's been most striking to observe firsthand.

There's been a variety of studies on these things and a simple google will confirm this. GR is a perfect microcosm for the rest of the country. From my viewpoint here's what I've discovered:

Wow, had no idea how many different ways to hunt deer and how ingrained the hunting culture is here.

Winters can be tough on physical fitness and lifestyle. It's not like you can easily take a jog outside when it's 20 degrees. The bars seem to do better in winter than summer.

A PPO is not necessarily a healthcare plan. The number of abusive relationships (especially in rural areas) is astonishing.

Many rural women disproportionately have children early, and frequently out of wedlock. This tends to interfere in getting a higher education and as a result, aspirations tend to be subdued while grammar and writing skills (you should see some of the emails I get!) suffers. This of course applies to both sexes.

Urbanites as a group tend to be in better shape, more educated, and wealthier. They tend to walk and bike more (things are closer by) and have greater research skills which tend to lead to healthier choices.

Urbanites tend to be a bit more reclusive yet are more inclined to post on forums like these due to anonymity; rural folks are more downhome, friendlier once you get to know them, and self-sufficient.

Overall I think the people here are pretty nice regardless from what walk of life they're from.
 
Old 02-05-2009, 11:07 AM
 
30 posts, read 71,324 times
Reputation: 31
Lived in GR for more years than I'd like to admit. Also in Charlotte NC, and Orlando, FL. Been to France, Germany, Italy and even Pella, Iowa (now there's where the nicest people on the planet live) and I've found that over all the "approachability factor" of most people is largely reciprocal. Some of the nicest people I've met were in France - really. You really can't stereotype any region until you understand the culture of that specific region. As always, making new relationships or even acquaintences takes effort. I hope the day never comes that Charlotte is the same as Orlando is the same as St. Germaine is the same as Turin is the same as Pella, Iowa - how boring that would be.
 
Old 02-08-2009, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Rockford MN
72 posts, read 233,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
I have found that your most likely to make friends here through one of a few channels: friends of your kids (if you have kids), people you work with, or people who are active in a club or group to which you belong. Just making random friends on the street corner ain't gonna happen.
I currently live in RI, most densely populated area in the US. I have been out here for 13 years. My friends are people I have worked with, currently work with, people I go to church with, and a few of our neighbors. We are getting to know other parents as our kids start advancing through school. While we are on friendly terms, I'm not inviting anyone over for a BBQ this summer, and we are not receiving invites. I have yet to make a random friend on the street corner (except 1 ex-girlfriend) in any of the places I have lived. I won't say it doesn't happen, but it doesn't happen. There has to be a commonality to keep the relationship going. Being friendly and being friends are very different. I can't wait to move back to the midwest (western MI, IA, MN). IMO, the friendships you develop in those area tend to be deeper and longer-lasting than out here.
 
Old 02-09-2009, 11:17 AM
 
2 posts, read 3,691 times
Reputation: 10
I just moved from California to Bay City Michigan where my lover's mother lives, It is 2 small of a town and I cannot find a job. we are staying with his mom till we find a place. I would like to know the best city to move. I am for a city where they have semi big hotels and nice restaurants, so I could apply for a job. or a town where they have a little more job opportunities, bay city has none. I been here since December 22nd 08 please help!!!! thinking of holland, benton harbor, kalamazoo, ottawa or grand rapids. please help
 
Old 02-09-2009, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,742,937 times
Reputation: 3833
Quote:
Originally Posted by berenice View Post
I just moved from California to Bay City Michigan where my lover's mother lives, It is 2 small of a town and I cannot find a job. we are staying with his mom till we find a place. I would like to know the best city to move. I am for a city where they have semi big hotels and nice restaurants, so I could apply for a job. or a town where they have a little more job opportunities, bay city has none. I been here since December 22nd 08 please help!!!! thinking of holland, benton harbor, kalamazoo, ottawa or grand rapids. please help
That's a pretty broad question. What kind of job are you looking for? What kind of experience do you have? There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in Grand Rapids, from roadside inns to 4 Diamond. In the hospitality industry, unless you have skills that can't be found very easily (speak multiple languages for instance), you're going to have a hard time standing out amongst other applicants.

There is a new casino being built South of GR, but they haven't even broken ground on it yet. There's also a new(er) casino in Battle Creek, called Firekeepers I believe.

Here it is:

http://nhbpi.com/Casino/casinopositions.html (broken link)
 
Old 02-10-2009, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Eastown G.R.Mi.
1 posts, read 2,268 times
Reputation: 10
Red face If you ain't Dutch you aint much......

I'm Dutch-German and I will sell you my mini14 cheap just to prove us
Reformed folk are nice too. Steve



Quote:
Originally Posted by njohnson491 View Post
I grew up in Eastern Michigan, specifically the Flint, MI area and for all the downside of the Flint area, I generally felt that most people had that "blue-collar" almost southern niceness about them.

After moving to Kalamazoo and visiting with a lot of people throughout Grand Rapids, Holland, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo I have observed that people are not generally very openly nice or probably a better term would be "unapproachable." Battle Creek and Kalamazoo have some exceptions to this.

My theory as to why is the reformed-Dutch underpinnings of the culture. Although there are a lot of liberals for example in Kalamazoo, I believe native Western Michiganders have a weird underlying judgementalism about them and thus do not socialize well with new individuals. Of course there are exceptions to this. However, I often find that coincidentally the people I meet who aren't of the persuasion to act like this are often from somewhere else and have transplanted to Western Michigan. Most native Western Michiganders are quite offish in their manner and personality.

I would posit that this is somewhat due to a lack of diversity culturally and from the Reformed elements of the Dutch Christians.

This has been further backed up in my opinion by my travels and from working in Chicago. In Chicago I have noticed much more openness to talking with people and people are more likely to "meet you half-way" in a conversation. People in areas like Detroit, Flint, Chicago, etc. are more likely to wave, say hi, etc.

In closing, I believe this makes Western Michigan somewhat challenging for new people moving to the area to meet people, etc.
 
Old 02-10-2009, 03:47 PM
 
51,890 posts, read 47,713,403 times
Reputation: 16195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steveblick View Post
I'm Dutch-German and I will sell you my mini14 cheap just to prove us
Reformed folk are nice too. Steve
And what is that suppose to mean?
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