Learn About Wichita

I’ve alluded to it in the past that I live in Wichita, Kansas, USA and I can’t say Wichita is my favorite place in the world. However, I will be leaving this place fairly soon so I thought I would give a overview and a list of fun things to do here with links to my separate posts. It took a lot to find ways to learn about Wichita, so hopefully I can make this something of a guide for people who are new to the area!

I’m going to start with the two things I most dislike and then get on to what I do like.

Dislikes

Weather

Coming from beautiful-weather Florida I was in for a bit of a shock. Used to humidity in all things, my skin literally peeled the first few weeks I inhabited this state. The locals will still tell you it’s “too humid.” I spend most of my evenings on a 30 minute skincare routine attempting to force lotion into my dehydrated skin.

Windy used to be my favorite weather until I moved here. The wind sweeps across the barren plains to smack you in the face like a wall during the winter. The amount of layers doesn’t matter, you’ll freeze. This wind is all too conspicuously lacking during the boiling, baking heat of the summer.

It is actually hotter here. All this nonsense about a “dry heat”? It’s awful. I hate it. There’s no trees so you really can’t go outside for walks during the day in the summer – and you can’t go for walks in the winter because of the wind. I’ve burned far more here, prompting me to wonder if the break in the ozone layer is sitting just above Kansas 24/7. Anyway.

The Culture

The culture here is truly love or hate it. If you grow up here, it’s fine. If you move here at times when people get to know each other (i.e., freshman year) you’ll probably be OK. Otherwise, good luck trying to find friends. I’ve been here three years now and it was only this last year that I’ve actually found real friends. I’m a naturally friendly person, and it was not for lack of trying.

I’ve heard tell that this phenomenon is also consistent with some places in the UK and the Nordic countries. If you haven’t known each other since you were 5, people don’t feel the need to make friends. In the first two weeks of university, you can make friends if you’re a freshman. And that’s it. If you miss out on this friend-making opportunity you’ll struggle for the rest of your time. I found friends through my job after being there for at least a year and a half.

Now onto the good.

There’s a surprising amount of quirky things to do here – if you can find them. Much of the events and cool shop locations are passed around via word of mouth. Many locations are not listed on Google, and you often find out about cool events three months later. No one advertises here.

For example, via my involvement in the French program at Wichita State University, I was privy to surprisingly “super secret” French events. The only way to know about this event was to be a member of the French bookclub at the Watermark (the best local bookshop in town) or be a French student. As such only about 20 people showed up to a French play entitled “Un rapport sur la banality de l’amour,” or, “a report on the banality of love.” This is, without a doubt, one of the best play’s I’ve ever seen. I can’t really handle anything to do with WW2 as I just wind up crying, but this was such a beautiful and wonderfully acted script that I found it depressing others had not had the opportunity to see it.

One of the best ways to find out what there is to do around here is absolutely to join Facebook if you haven’t already. This is where events are most likely to be advertised and organized. Find upcoming events in the area, or sometimes they will actually be boosted to reel you in. The only other way to find events in my experience is to luck out by passing a lone flyer or to be a part of a club. Beware, these clubs are often very hard to break into because they usually all have known each other for forever.

What To Do In Wichita

The best way to learn about Wichita, and find the charming bits underneath the struggle, is to get out there and try things. I’m going to be doing several posts on things I did in Wichita in the upcoming weeks!

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