Although there is something to be said for the increased level of awareness and sense of urgency that living in a big city of over 1MM people imparts, a slower pace can be refreshing and forgiving by comparison...as long as, like snow skiing, its in a predictable fashion and to the right:)
Speaking of staying right, there are a few things I am finding difficult getting used to in South Dakota. One of the surprising challenges has been adapting to more self-deprecation than we've ever encountered.
Whenever we're outed as not being native South Dakotans, we are asked about where we're from. The conversation invariably leads to the question: "So how do you like South Dakota compared to Philadelphia?"...and before we have a chance to answer, we are met with lines like: "Don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings..." or "I'm sure its not as nice is it?"
Sometimes I think we have a better opinion of Sioux Falls, South Dakota than some of the folks who are from here. As a good friend of mine, Dr. Mason Cobb pointed out: "There is very little we are "doing without" here...rather there is so much we're "doing with." and I couldn't agree more. The amenities and services from foodstuffs (Fresh seafood flown in to Cleaver's Market from Hawaii regularly) to arts & culture (South Dakota Symphony and Russian Ballet performances at the Washington Pavillion) abound.
Perhaps its because even after having pre-conceived notions, of days filled with hunting buffalo and making mead wine, dispelled; some people still hold fast to their prejudices and find it hard to let go of the feeling that they are much bigger than everyone else. The fact I find curious is not that the Midwest has a reputation that pre-dates it's recent "Renaissance" but rather the fact that the mindset of Midwesterners has not evolved in-stride with their cities. It reminds me of some contestants on "The Biggest Loser" who even after shedding over one hundred pounds, getting into unbelievable shape and receiving a total beauty and fashion make-over...still hold a perceptible awkwardness in their posture. Perhaps the Midwest is better this way. There is something more attractive about a beautiful woman who doesn't know (or carry herself as if she knows) just how beautiful she really is (Diane Lane). This Midwest humility, whether self deprecating due to a long-standing inferiority complex or out of a genuine nature of modesty will take some getting used to. Regardless, I think we'll all be the better by being tempered by it.