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From the Beaches to the Corn Fields

            I am originally from Miami, so I can testify to the enormous difference between Miami, Florida and Upland, Indiana. As I boarded the plane to embark on my new journey, going to college at Taylor University, I was excited for what awaited me. I knew what I was getting into before I came; I had visited once before. To my surprise, we got off the plane and immediately realized that it was just as hot as Miami! It was scorching in Upland as we moved into Wengatz hall. With not air conditioning, we had to keep a window open to stay alive. The hot arrival quickly gave way to colder temperatures, however. These cities have nothing in common.

Miami is urban, good luck finding an affordable large plot of land. Upland, Indiana, where is that again? Shelter will cost you an arm and a leg in Miami. Home buying is a buyer’s dream in Upland. Miami’s wealthiest live on man-made islands like Fischer Island, an island only accessible by boat. Upland’s wealthiest live in two story homes on huge lots. A tourist in Miami is a common sight. A tourist in Upland is obviously lost. Miami is undergoing a huge construction boom. Upland has the new prayer chapel going up. Miami has a large influx of people, while Upland has a fairly large outflow. Miami is a tourist town. Upland is deep in the rust belt. Miami has the Atlantic Ocean. Upland has Taylor Lake. Miami has a large uneducated segment of the population but low unemployment, while Upland has a large educated segment of the population but high unemployment. Miami has weak institutions. Upland has established institutions. Miamians care about self. Uplanders see the value of community. Miami has corrupt government officials. Does Upland have any government? Miami went for John Kerry. Upland went for Bush.

 In Miami, the weather is predictable. In Upland, there is some wacky weather. Miami is extremely humid. Upland is extremely windy. When snow falls in Miami, it is the apocalypse. When snow falls in Upland, it is just another day. When it is 50 degrees in Miami, it is front-page news with people breaking out three layers. When it is 50 degrees in Upland, people start to break out short sleeve shirts and shorts. Miami requires an air conditioner. Upland requires a heater.

In Miami, people go on romantic walks on the beach. In Upland, people go to “2.2”. In Miami, people are from all over South America and the Caribbean. In Upland, well, we have Illinois residents. In Miami, most people want to stay forever. In Upland, most people want to move to a warmer climate, perhaps down south. In Miami, the official language might as well be “Spanglish”, a mixture of English and Spanish. In Upland, English is actually used. Miami has had songs, TV shows, and movies made after it. Upland has not had any, yet. Miami has celebrities from “Puff Daddy” to “J-Lo”. Upland has Jay Kesler.

 In Miami, Wal-Mart is the last place anyone wants to be seen at. In Upland, a Wal-Mart run is a cool thing to do. In Miami, everyone thinks they are a gangster. In Upland, everyone wants to be a gangster. Miami is a hub for drug trafficking. Upland is near a Wal-Mart distribution center. Miami has an extremely high crime rate. Upland did not have a crime rate when I checked. In Miami, anyone who is cool goes party hopping, while in Upland, well, people can go table-hopping.

Miami has Calle Oche, while Upland has, well, Main Street. Miami has ridiculous traffic, while Upland has ridiculous traffic signs. In Miami, people have flashy car brands like Mercedes-Benz. In Upland, people have, well, normal cars.

In Miami, Catholics are predominant due to the immigrant community from South America with many participating in a sect called Santería, which lost a Supreme Court ruling allowing it to perform animal sacrifice. In Upland, varying kinds of Protestantism are practiced but nothing out of the ordinary.

Miamians have the Marlins, a great team that has won two MLB championships but whose games no one attends. Uplanders roots for the Indianapolis Colts, a great team with Super Bowl rings that everyone loves. Miami also has the University of Miami, usually a top-notch football team. Upland has Trojan football.

In Miami, the dangers are alligator attacks, cars falling into canals, and hurricanes. In Upland, the dangers are falling through frozen ice, the “Devil’s backbone”, and tornadoes.

As can be seen, Miami and Upland are as opposite as they come.


©2008 Jorge Eduardo Fernandez