Well, here I am again.
I'm lying in my bed recovering from the vast amount of friend food I ate last night and from the 4 hours of sleep I had the night before. The good news is it's only Saturday so the weekend is still in full swing.
I've continued my study on the people of Indiana and I've found three things I'd like to comment on. This blog will be a little longer than in the past but I think it's all important.
Hoosiers love Fried Food
Last night I attended the State Fair. The Indiana State Fair is.....unlike anything I've really ever seen before. The entire length of the fair on "main street" is filled with food vendors. All of which provide their own unique disgustingly unhealthy but incredibly delicious food. Emily and I started the night off with some pineapple freeze from Dole. Figured, we'd get our serving of fruit in for the day. As we continued to walk past the fried corn stands and chicken parfait stands (chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy) I spotted it. There it was, in all it's glory. Sandwhiched in between "Twisted Burger", where you could get a burger served on French Toast, and a french fry cart was Deep Fried Treats. Deep Fried treats was promoting their newest item, fried Kool Aid.
I was deeply saddened when we arrived at the cart only to find they were SOLD OUT of deep fried Kool Aid. Not until later did I realize....it's utterly disgusting how much they must have sold in order to sell out. I settled on Deep Fried Cookie Dough and Emily chowed down on her Deep Fried Snickers. I've never eaten anything better and I never will. I understand the obsession, Hoosiers, and I respect it. The end.
I forgot to mention we also had a corn dog and fresh lemonade at some point. Then we went on the "blizzard", the ride formerly known as the Himalaya, and almost died from wanting to barf/laughing so hard. Also, I won a fish. His name is either Tater or MacBait (in honor of Hamlet the Hamster who passed earlier this year). He isn't responding to either yet and it also living in a wine glass.
THANKS INDY STATE FAIR!
Hoosiers have great jokes....just kidding.
In my hours at the fair and in discussing trends among the Hoosier race, I noticed another common thread beyond the love of fried food. There is one joke that is utilized at any moment possible. "Just kidding". On the way to the fair, Emily shared a moment in which she was crushed when a waiter told her they were OUT of chicken fingers and french fries (she's a hoosier). He followed her look of disappointment with a "just kidding!'. As Emily would say "WHO DOES THAT, WHO JOKES ABOUT NOT HAVING CHICKEN FINGERS."....well Hoosiers would.
As we pulled into the fair, after waiting in traffic and pulling a highly illegal U-Turn in the middle of a 6 lane road, we were approached by the parking man. Because of the weekends events (more on that next) the fair was free and so was parking! Also, we had seen Maroon 5 (mmm) and Train the night before which meant free admission and parking, also. Pretty much they should've paid me to go to the fair because it was double-free. As the parking man approached the car he said "alright, 2? That'll be 10 dollars each". The Jersey in me gets instantly defensive. How dare they try and make me pay. I'm getting in for DOUBLE FREE. Instead of yelling this I whip out my ticket stub and explain calmly that "I thought with this ticket we get in for free and get free parking." The man just looks at me and says "uhhh I was uh just kidding. everything is free."
Once that was over and my heart rate was back at baseline it was into the fair we go. Our first stop, the pineapple freeze, was actually in a pineapple similar to spongebob's house. A girl walks up next to me and requests the same delicious treat that I have just been served to which the woman dressed in a Hawaiian print shirt states "I'm sorry we're all out"..................."JUST KIDDING OF COURSE YOU CAN HUNNY".
Why, Hoosiers, why? It's not funny.
Just imagine my disappointment and SHOCK when I'm told that they are out of Fried Kool Aid and it isn't followed by a "just kidding". Torture.
Hoosiers are absolutely incredible and inspiring
Last weekend I was at the Jersey Shore, getting in touch with my inner east coaster by swimming in an OCEAN and being able to see the shore line. I spent all day Saturday lounging on the beach, starting a 1,000 piece puzzle (that would be COMPLETED by the time I left on Tuesday) and reading my book. Around 10 pm a wonderful Hoosier friend of mine broke the news to me about the state fair. I was heartbroken.
Over the next 24 hours video, photos, and stories from the scene were pouring out into the media. Twitter was covered in #prayersforindy that was trending worldwide after a few hours. It was devestating. But out of all the terror and heartbreak there was an overwhelming theme. The moment after the stage hit the ground, everyone who had been running from the scene turned around and ran towards it to help.
Groups of people were trying to lift the metal structures, emergency first aid departments were set up almost immediately, and lives were saved. One of the greatest articles I've read was published by the Indianapolis Star and follows a 3 year old from when the stage collapsed to her time at Riley. The RN, Natalie, in the story works on the Peds Rehab unit where I'm currently interning. I had seen her earlier in the morning on Thursday at staff rounds, not knowing what she had done to save this little girl. Her shift was over by the time I read the article but you better believe I'm buying her something to recognize her strength in a time of crisis. The video attached to the article is nothing short of bone chilling but to see and hear the strength of the Hoosiers is absolutely inspiring.
Train and Maroon 5 were set to perform at the grandstands the following Thursday. Having bought tickets, the last thing on my mind was if that concert would go on at all. But, it did. On Thursday night, Conseco fieldhouse donated their space, everyone working from the janitors to the stagehands donated their time, and Train and Maroon 5 donated 100% of the money they make to the Memorial Fund for those lost in this tragic accident. To be at that concert was a beautiful opportunity and far different from what I had imagined when we bought the tickets over a month ago.
As the lead singer of Train said "the fact that you are all here really shows that Indianapolis is the greatest city on the planet....people could learn a lot from coming here for just one day."
So bad jokes and obsession with fried food aside, the Hoosiers are a beautiful people and I'm happy to identify myself as one.