That’s what my parents told me when they first broke the news that we were moving, during the summer between eighth and ninth grade. When they first told us, it was so sudden that we thought they were joking. They were being completely serious, and they said that Kansas City would be just like Cincinnati, and the move wouldn’t be that bad.
From the outside, the cities looked incredibly similar. They were almost identical in population, both have pro baseball and football teams and they were even both located on state boundaries. With the two cities sounding so alike, we thought the move would be easier.
But take it from me, Cincinnati and Kansas City are very different.
Like most students I know, I assumed that all the fashion, sports, music, dances and trends were basically the same in schools across the nation. It’s odd to think that other schools across America might not have been “Cranking dat Soulja Boy” in sixth grade.
When I moved here, I thought things would be the same as they were 600 miles away, but they weren’t.
We rented out a house in Mission Hills for a year while we looked at homes to buy.
Mission Hills is a far cry from normal suburban America. It’s a place where Range Rovers run the streets and houses sit nicely around the narrow roads like the stern men and women from the mid-1900s, when most of the homes were built.
The people in Mission Hills are different as well. Instead of being greeted by neighbors and welcomed to the neighborhood, a police car rolled up and said that they had received a complaint about our dogs barking too loud. Even worse, the woman who called in the complaint had a hunting dog that she kept in her backyard at all times that never seemed to shut up.
This was different from Cincy, where we always greeted new neighbors. A family moved in next door to us in 5th grade, and one of the boys in their family, who was two years older than us, became one of my best friends and the most influential figure of my childhood.
We weren’t sure how being “Lancers” would turn out. At my old school we were the Aviators, and our colors were green and gold; it still feels weird to see those colors on the backs of our South opponents in sports games.
Whereas I would be hanging out with my friends all day and having week-long sleepovers in Cincy, in Kansas I spent the first week living here reading my English summer homework book and enrolling in my classes.
When the school year began with freshman orientation day, I felt distant from the other students. Even my locker was on a different floor than the rest of my grade because we enrolled so late.
Instead of receiving extra attention for being “the new kid,” all of the Indian Hills students assumed we were from Mission Valley and vice versa. In my old school, the students from the five elementary schools all came together in 5th Grade, so you knew all the kids you would graduate with at an early age.
We had also never seen Sperry’s before. When my siblings and I came home from our first day of school, we couldn’t stop talking about “Those weird loafer-y shoes.” Everyone at our old school wore mostly Abercrombie and American Eagle clothing. At East, a kid called me “trashy” when I wore my Hollister sweatpants to school.
Also something I picked up when I moved here is a hatred of KU. Everywhere you look it’s “Rockchalk” this and “Jayhawk” that. When I moved I lost my eligibility for in-state tuition to Ohio State, the school I’d been planning to go to with my friends since I was able to say “Go Buckeyes.” Now that I was in Kansas, representing OSU helped me deal with my move, because I was able to retain a connection to my city even from ten hours away.
One of the things I was most bummed about is the fact that lacrosse, an extremely popular sport in Ohio, is not school-sanctioned by the state of Kansas. In Ohio our lacrosse team had practice at school and got recognition at events like pep rallies and over school announcements, while here you can’t even letter for participating. The other downside of being a club sport is the price. The fee to play one season is over $400, and that doesn’t include the cost of equipment.
Although I didn’t expect for the cities and the high schools to be so different, I have come to accept life in Kansas.
We made the most of the move, and found that if you dwell over the things that your new town doesn’t have, you will just be more homesick. Even though I’m still a Cincinnatian on the inside, I’m proud to be a Lancer.