Most of the people that I work with are from Pennsylvania. Only a few of us are from out of state. There are around 28 of us working in the system. In case you're wondering, I now work for a university press in the acquisitions department. I help the editor-in-chief collect manuscripts and get those puppies into production.
To describe the whole process would require multiple blog posts, which will be posted in due time if I ever stop being a lazy bum. However, let me begin with my overall impression of Pennsylvania.
When someone asks me to describe Pennsylvania, I say, "Hills and trees." Legitimately, I have never seen so many trees and hills in my entire life. The only real hill around my Louisiana hometown is that one random hill in Grand Coteau (bwahaha--it's a Louisiana joke--"Grand Coteau" means "big hill" and it's not a very big hill. Cajuns just have a sense of humor.). Pennsylvania is very gorgeous. Looking at it from the sky was very impressive. Very. There were patches of brown and patches of green everywhere. There seems to be more farmland here than in Louisiana. In fact, local farming is a really big deal here. We have at least one or two farmers' markets where I'm from, but here, people create markets in their yards. My co-workers took me to a blueberry orchard behind a farmer's house. I was able to buy a quart of sweet plump blueberries for only $2.50. Wal-mart ain't got nothing on that.
|All my delicious blueberries~ Picked from the twigs.|
Another big issue is money and maybe even class status. Up here, roads are better kept, and I haven't seen any run-down neighborhood houses yet. For example, if someone asks me to describe my hometown, the first word that would come to mind is "ghetto." When you drive into my hometown, you're more likely to see houses with peeling paint, broken foundations, and old cars that look like they're on their last wheels. It's not that my hometown is a bad place to live. I think it's that Pennsylvania has more money. Believe it or not, non-processed foods are cheaper here in Pennsylvania. We had a pleasant surprise here when we first shopped for fruit. My parent told me it would be more expensive, but it's actually cheaper to buy fruit in Pennsylvania than it is to buy it in Louisiana. On top of that, the sales tax here is lower in Pennsylvania than Louisiana. So, tell me how that makes sense; why does a state with a higher poverty percentage have more expensive food and taxes? Pennsylvania makes it look like Louisiana is killing its own people.
Finally, another huge issue here is that Pennsylvania is completely white-washed. By that, I mean there are a lot of white people. When I first got here, I looked around and noticed something strange. I immediately thought to myself, "Where are all the black people?" I've seen less than 10 black people here. I am not lying. I counted. Pennsylvania has a diversity issue. When I look around me, all I see is white rich people and a few Asians, and honestly, the Asians are probably richer here, too. I haven't seen any sign of poverty anywhere, not like in Louisiana. The reason for that could be the location I'm in, but I wouldn't doubt it if Pennsylvania just has better standards of living than Louisiana.
I think this internal interaction with my supervisor explains the differences between Pennslvania and Louisiana pretty well. She said, "We have plays, concerts, and art shows, so it's pretty cultured up here." I thought, "Yeah, we're cultured, too. We've got ethnicities." Pennsylvania might have more educated views, more support for the arts, and more money, but that isn't the same as Louisiana's people.