Hi all, The other day, my husband mentioned that he's interested in going to grad school when he finishes his degree, and with the grades he's gotten, I figure he can go just about anywhere he wants. Before we moved to Portland, he really wanted to go to Rolla, but I had other ideas and we came here instead. We both love it out here, but there are things we don't love and now Rolla seems like it holds a lot of the things we want. Having never lived in the Midwest, I have a fair amount of trepidation over such a move, especially seeing as how I have so much of what I want here. But this time, I'm ready to be diplomatic and consider this with an open mind, even an eager spirit. So I wanted to see if anyone here is from the area. I found the other Missouri thread but I didn't see anyone from Rolla, and I have no concept of how different Missouri can be from one place to the next, so I wanted to start my own thread. Here are the things I want to know: How is the climate? I'm mostly cold all year long here in Portland, but I've learned to like snow too, for the cross-country skiing. Still, if it's going to be bitter like Iowa or Nebraska, I might die in those conditions. I love the heat and humidity in the summer, having spent half my upbringing in Alabama. How about culture? is there a main street with old movie theaters and other brick and mortar storefronts? Is there old architecture? Is there an art and music scene? Is there a punk scene? Will I be able to find Thai food? Farmer's markets? Is there much of a counterculture? I mean, it is by a big university, even if it's a science school. I want a good mix of conservative and liberal values, never being comfortable in a total red state/blue state situation. I looked up churches in the area and didn't find much. It seemed like all the church buildings were newish, with all the poor architecture that is characteristic of late 1900s churches. But maybe there's more to know that I didn't find? We are really outdoorsy people, which the Pacific Northwest is great for. I hike up mountains regularly and feel like that's crucial to my health. Is there any good hiking in the Ozarks, or is it mostly unforested plains? How is the farmland? We're attracted to the area in large part because the land is cheap, but if it's also worthless for growing then that would be a deal breaker. Is it hard being away from the ocean? I can't imagine being in a place where I can't get fresh salmon or shrimp. For that matter, am I going to have a hard time finding ethnic foods and a good grocery store selection? In the little bit of reading we've done, we found out that there's a problem in the area with the white supremacists having decided it's a good area for their kind, and without starting up a lot of political discussion, I'd like to know how much of a presence they have. And before anyone thinks I'd be ok with that, I'm really, really not. It might also be a deal breaker if there's going to be racist violence there. As a kid in Alabama, I found it really hard being from a Greek family that prized arts and literacy over sports and other American pursuits. I really don't want to put my own kids in that kind of a situation when I have them. Will I feel like a fish out of water in Rolla, or are there people like me there because of the university? Do people value learning or is it the kind of place where if you like reading you keep it a secret? These are my biggest concerns, especially the culture part, but I also want to hear people tell me what they love about Missouri. I used to feel like the Midwest truly was made up of flyover states, but now I know that that notion was bigoted and wrong. So, can someone list the things they love about the area? I've only been to Missouri once, and I think I was napping through most of that segment of the trip, so I really don't even have a mental picture of the area. Thanks in advance!