Last month I started a series of interviews with moving-and-shaking, down-to-earth Tulsans. The inaugural edition was with Sindy of Dresden, Germany; this time I caught up with Katie Hughes, blogger at Okiehoma From a Yankee’s Eye View.
Katie moved to Tulsa just six months ago. She’s from Glenside, a medium-sized suburb of Philadelphia. Katie’s blog is about her transition from life in the northeast to learning to get down with T-Town.
“I get the impression they thought I would be living in a teepee, hunting buffalo and dodging tornadoes,” she said of friends and family back home. “My blog is my way of letting them know that I do have modern conveniences and don’t live in the middle of nowhere. Plus, it gives me a great excuse to try new things so I have something to write about.”
What was your first impression of Tulsa?
My first impression was just how green and open the city appears. There are so many parks and little squares in every town. Downtown doesn’t feel overwhelming. The highways don’t feel as congested.
What are some ways Tulsa is different from where you grew up?
I grew up in a metro area of 5.8 million people (not counting that I could be in New York City or Washington D.C.’s metro areas within 2 hours north or south). I’m used to a lot people and a lot of cars in an area the same size as the Tulsa metro area. Tulsa seems so wide open to me! It’s funny when people here complain about traffic when it used to take me 45 minutes to commute 14 miles just 6 months ago. Although, when it comes to traffic, I do find the Broken Arrow Expressway & IDL just as frightening as anything back east.
Then, there’s the weather! We don’t have tornado warnings in May back home, let alone in February! I can do blizzards and hurricanes because they are big, slow-moving weather systems, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to living in tornado alley.
If you could, what would you change about Tulsa?
I don’t think Tulsans realize the amazing potential of this city. It seems like more people from outside of the area are visiting, moving into the area, and taking advantage of the great opportunities. Tulsa has so many great sports and arts opportunities to see, like live music at the Flytrap Music Hall and Cain’s Ballroom, and I’ve been to Dwelling Spaces, which was so much fun!
I can’t tell you how many people from Tulsa I’ve talked to and mentioned different places like the Gilcrease Museum or the Rose Garden or how I rode my bike down the River Park trails and they had never been to any of those places. I think native Tulsans and those from the outlying communities need to do more to explore and support the city. There are so many cool and inexpensive places to see within such an easy drive! This is definitely a cool, small city.
Oh, and I wish Tulsans would not see all Yankees as yuppy, fast-talking, liberal, Appletini drinkers. Some of us are white t-shirt & jeans wearing beer drinkers who don’t talk politics and just happen to talk a little fast.
What are your favorite things to do for fun in Tulsa?
I absolutely LOVE the River Parks. There’s an area like it back home in Philadelphia so when I’m homesick, I head down to the river.
I have had a lot of fun exploring Route 66 east and west of the city. I have no problem being a tourist and having my picture taken in front of random things.
One of my absolute favorite things in Tulsa is the Tulsa Drillers. I am a baseball geek and for Valentine’s Day my hubby bought me a 20 ticket voucher package. Having a minor league team in town just makes my heart so happy. I think I’m more excited about the new ballpark than most native Tulsans.
I am surprised that I am really finding a home here in Tulsa. I never in a million years thought I would love it here so fast. I do miss the big cities out east but, I am also having a blast getting to know Tulsa. I feel like I’m getting to know this city more than I ever got to know “my” city of Philadelphia. It is a very cool thing.
Thanks for spreading the word about Green Country, Katie. You can bring your fast-talkin’ ’round here anytime.
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