Never Been Able To Adjust Here
I have lived in Bowling Green for almost seven years now. I'm originally from the Oklahoma City/Moore OK area. My husband and I moved here for his job.
Honestly, I've never been capable of fully adjusting here even after all these years. It's very different here compared to where I'm from and I have tried to be impartial, stay positive and give this place an unbiased chance. It's simply not for me.
People here in general don't seem to be as friendly as I'm used to. Don't get me wrong, I have met and know some wonderful people here and I know they're not all bad. People just seem to stay more to themselves, it's difficult to catch a smile, wave or hello but maybe that's just my experience. I'm outgoing, talkative and will always smile at every one I make eye contact with, I'm usually greeted with a stare or a somewhat confused expression like I'm weird or something or they immediately turn their head and look away.
I've noticed a puzzling oblivion out in public where most don't seem to pay attention to their surroundings or care to express common courtesy. I have been rammed, blocked and bumped into at the grocery store countless times and they give me a dirty look like I'm in the wrong. Rarely does anyone say "excuse me" I'm sorry" or move out of the way. In fact, four years ago I was nearly assaulted by an African American woman at Wal-Mart because as I walked by her in the electronics section SHE whirled around and almost elbowed me in the head and accused me of "being up in her business" and began yelling and cussing at me. She threatened to stick my tongue up my white a.. Which brings up another point. I have never witnessed public outbursts, less than desirable behavior and such unclassy antics as I have here. I witnessed it a lot in East Tennessee when I was there, but it wasn't so common and continious. There seems to be a large populous of people who either have this hood rat or redneck mentality here. I find it overwhelming.
I hold doors open for people, hand them coupons at the store when I have an extra one or one I'm not using but notice they could use it....I rarely get a "thank you" for anything like that either. I have tried and tried, but it has been impossible for me to bond with anyone here and make a good, genuine friend. The nicest and most kindest people I have come across here have been other Okies I have crossed paths with in passing who noticed my OKC Thunder or OU shirt and came up to me and chatted and yes, even gave me a hug. OR they have been other transplants, I have known several from Michigan and Ohio that were actually quite kind.
As far as the city goes, it is okay here for someone from a much larger city/developed area but it seems very lacking. It's very pretty and quite nice in some areas and then again it's quite scary and run down in others, like any city. It is finally developing some and making some progress which is great to see but it seems like every time I get excited about a new store opening or being built it turns out to be another mattress place lol or its a smaller, mini version of a major chain store (the Michaels, Kohls, Petsmart etc for an example are very small compared to the average size of others else where). There are some descent shopping centers and a few nice places to eat but nothing truly unique or spectacular. The mall is quite sad and the overall selection isn't great so we drive to Nashville sometimes for some fresh air and choices. The movie theaters are older and not that nice, especially for having been bought out by Regal Cinema. Downtown is trying really hard to be fresh and hip and has made improvements but the area seems quite small and cramped the way they have designed the restraunts around the ballpark.
I have been to Skypac several times but haven't discovered or caught onto very much culture here or found a good access to the arts. The local event calendar seems more oriented towards seniors or singles rather than families and it's difficult to find anything to do as far as special events or venues especially around the holidays. Perhaps it's my fault, I don't know. I could honestly be missing things or maybe I don't know where to look or where to go but again, I admitted to not having fully adjusted to Bowling Green.
The traffic is horrible on the weekends and many places are overcrowded because people from the several, little towns surrounding us drive "into the city" to do some shopping and go out to eat. For such a small city, it seems overcrowded to me. Even in Dallas, Tulsa, Houston, Oklahoma City etc I have never seen or experienced such congestion or had to wait in line to eat the way I have here.
If you come from a small town or another South Eastern state Bowling Green will probably be a good fit for you and you may find it satisfying and abundant with amenities. If you come from the Wests or Midwest and a larger city, you'll probably miss many things and amenities from home.
Overall it's a descent place to live. There is much worse out there. It is a small city and they are improving and in the process of progress but it's not for everyone. A little friendliness would go a long way here!
Jill | Bowling Green, KY