What is Kansas like?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by gementricxs, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    At the moment I'm studying at the Czech Technical University in Prague and as probably every university, we have international students coming here for a semester. One of the great things is that every international student get (if the want) assigned one Czech student to help him (the so-called "buddy system"). It's all volunteer based, I think it's great idea, because the international student gets someone who genuinely wants to help. You can imagine how difficult it could be, if you come here to study, don't know the language, the city, ...

    Anyway, why the question about Kansas?

    As someone who likes to help people (as some of you may know) I immediately signed in the program. And "my" international student is flying in to Prague in February.

    And she's from Kansas.

    When someone mention Kansas, I can only recall the scene from Wizard of Oz "You're not in Kansas anymore" (or something like that)
    You know, you get to hear or get to see on TV states like California, Texas, Florida, cities like New York and so on. But all the other states are overshadowed by these big ones.

    What would you say that Kansas is? How would you describe it?

  2. eso

    eso Well-Known Member

    I know only that Kansas is one of states of "great plains" and for that reason they have so many tornados (like that one in Wizard of Oz) :)
  3. General Joy

    General Joy Well-Known Member

    What part of Kansas is it? The windiest city in the US is in Kansas (contrary to Chicago's "windy city" nickname), so it gets really cold in the winter.

    And people from Kansas are all too familiar with The Wizard of Oz. :) Some are even a little sick of it. My friend who lives there was annoyed when McDonald's gave out Wizard of Oz toys in their Happy Meals ("as if we don't get enough of The Wizard of Oz living here!" he says). Eso's right about the tornados, but I don't think they get as many as Oklahoma. The people in KS (and the midwest in general) tend to be really friendly. Is there anything specific you wanted to know?
  4. SMZ

    SMZ Well-Known Member

    Oh, Jirka, I can't believe that you forgot that I live in Kansas! :D (That's why I have "Dorothy" as my avatar.)

    I did not grow up here; Iwas raised in a state further north (Iowa), but I have lived here for over 8 years. so I think I can fill you in a bit.

    The people are, as already mentioned, very nice and outgoing. When I lived in Prague, I felt rather lonely because (almost) no one there will talk to a stranger and I was used to talking to people in shops, waiting in line at the bank, etc., I suppose as a way to make a connection and spread some goodwill into the world. The weather here is quite like the weather in Prague -- cold in the winter and warm in the summer, but I think our summers are a bit hotter. And, yes, in the western part of the state where the plains are quite flat, it is very windy. Here in the eastern part, there are many hills and this makes driving a challenge when we have an ice storm.

    Students are typically interested in such sports as basketball (VERY big at my university) and football (American-type, of course). Most of the state is politically conservative and the average Kansan would be more religious than the average Czech. Most people in the state live in small towns and have had little or no experience with things like public/mass transportation. Here, if you don't have a car, you walk, bike, or stay home!

    Many small towns here are struggling because the economy has been based on agriculture, primarily wheat and cattle, and to a lesser extent, on oil. Farming and ranching are difficult vocations and they depend on factors beyond the farmers' or ranchers' control, so if the weather is bad several years in a row or a disease strikes the herd, families can lose everything.

    The real strength of the middle US in general, and Kansas specifically, is that the people typically are friendly, helpful, and outgoing.

    What else can I tell you?

  5. Dana

    Dana Well-Known Member

    What great responses! I learned a lot about Kansas just reading the last two posts. I hope I get to go there sometime. :)
  6. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    Excellent posts. Thanks a lot!
  7. BMoody

    BMoody Well-Known Member

    I have never lived in Kansas, but I have known a few Kansans in my life.

    1. They are easily entertained! You are in luck! Coming from fields of corn and wheat, they usually aren't used to big cities like Prague.

    2. They cook. Yes, they usually cook good. I don't know why, but I've noticed that. Often it is rustic food, like a bbq steak. Then again, if your new friend can make a pie... mmm mmm!

    3. Many are religious and conservative. Kansas is part of America's "Bible Belt" and undoubtedly will vote Republican this election. Many support the war in Iraq, being strong on immigration, lowering taxes, and stopping abortion.

    4. Kansas is where my brother was concieved... not much else to do there I guess har har.

    5. Kansans are often nationalistic, laid back, but still hard workers.

    Some history of Kansas: (This is my History degree coming in)

    Kansas was called "Bleeding Kansas" in the 1850's. The teritory was just being made into a state and no one knew if the state would be a slave state or not. So, settlers from the free North and slave owning South all rushed to Kansas to outvote eachother over the issue.

    Eventually, the proslave portion took over and won legitimacy. Violence broke out all across the state as Abolitionists from the North attacked the proslave Southerners and many were killed. John Brown, a famous abolitionist, took over Harper's Ferry federal armory and attacked slave owners. The U.S. military stepped in and fought John Brown. Brown and some of his sons died, plus many of his supporters. Kansas very well could have started the U.S. Civil War!

    Kansas also was hard struck in the 1920s during an enormous drought that hit the central U.S. "The Grapes of Wraith", a very famous book about the "Dust Bowl", was written about a family from Kansas I believe. The depression and dried up agriculture hit Kansas hard.

    Dodge City, Kansas, was a famous railroad stop for shipping freerange cattle (cowboys herding cattle to trains. you may have seen that). This occured in Kansas for a short period in the 1800's as well. Cattle herders from as far way as Texas would bring cattle all the way to Kansas to transport them east to the markets. "Red River" is a famous John Wayne movie on the issue. ... Dodge City... I think Doc Holliday, Wyatt Erp's gunslinging friend in Tombstone, was actually a dentist from Dodge City. As a matter of fact, I think Wyatt Erp was from Dodge City as well. Anyhow, just keep in mind that Dodge City, Kansas, was the traditional Long Horn Cattle Town with cowboys shooting everywhere, prostitutes, gamblers, patrons, miners, farmers, outlaws, scoundrals, preachers, indians, and sherrifs. IT WAS A REAL CRAZY PLACE!

    Some facts from Wikipedia:

    90% of Kansas is White, whereas the average for the whole U.S. is 74%.

    20% of the population has a college degree
    15% never finished high school

    Agriculture is the states main income

    Exodus of workers from the state
  8. gementricxs

    gementricxs Well-Known Member

    Thanks Bryan!!!
  9. SMZ

    SMZ Well-Known Member

    Just a couple of minor corrections to BMoody's post...

    There was, indeed, a lot of controversy over whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free state or a slave state, but those crazy liberals in Lawrence :D managed to swing the vote and the state joined the US as a free state (i.e., antislavery).

    John Brown did attack Harper's Ferry, but this was in West Virginia (not Kansas) and it happened 3 years after he led a group of abolitionists to attack pro-slavery southerners (in Kansas) in what's known as the Pottawattamie massacre.

  10. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    The family from The Grapes of Wrath was from Oklahoma (I hated that book!), although the dust bowl statement still applies to Kansas.

    Also Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp were not from Dodge City (at least not born there), but both lived there for a year or two.
  11. BMoody

    BMoody Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the corrections! I wasn't too sure on those two :oops: :].

    Make sure to tell us how the encounter goes with your own Kansan Jirka!
  12. The Animal

    The Animal Well-Known Member

    Kansa is part of The Great Tornado Alley just like Texas.

    Hence the name (tornado alley) F1 to F5 we have them here. Multiable tornado vortex's are realy cool.

    I made a tornado model that was (cz super) it was pretty strong for it's size, but fun to watch. :wink:
  13. Sorsa

    Sorsa Member

    Differences are the spice of life ... Kansas (Very flat) has very different geography then The Czech Republic (Hills all over the place) does so get her out of Praha too.

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