by Emily Reno
Note: The following post is Emily Reno’s Letter to the Editor that appeared in the August 10, 2018 issue of the Beloit Call. Reno was a 2018 summer intern at the NCRPC. As a Food Systems Intern, she worked closely with the NCK Food Council helping with the community food survey and regional food assessment. Her position was made possible through the Dane G. Hansen Foundation and K-State Research and Extension Intern Program.
North Central Kansas is imperfect. It’s imperfect, but in the best kind of way. Ten weeks ago I could have told you a thousand reasons why living in rural Kansas is the worst idea anyone has ever had. I could not have come up with more than ten for why it is the best. Ten weeks later, and I feel obligated to write a letter of apology not only to the community of Beloit, for not having given it enough credit at the start, but to the entire region of North Central Kansas. Time and time again I have been welcomed with open arms, loaned various kitchen utensils, stopped for conversation, and given wide eyes but not shunned for being from—yes, that other University in Kansas. No, I’m not a Wildcat, but I am a Kansan. And I’ve never been proud of it until having spent time in a place that felt so far away from home you would have thought I left the country. As weird as it sounds, all the oversized Czech eggs, tractor parades, and toilets in the middle of a cornfield is what makes North Central Kansas a truly unique place. Enough for me to consider it as a place I could come back to and call my home. Gone are my assumptions that city life offers a way of living unparalleled in rural America. The two worlds are not better than one another. They are just different, and special in their own ways. My internship with the North Central Regional Planning Commission is hands down one of the best decisions I ever made, because I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on other, better opportunities by being here.