Since my experience away from the Midwest was such an interesting time for myself, I often think about other people who have left the Midwest and what their experiences are like. I decided to launch a series called "Midwest Expat" where I chat with a Midwesterner who has moved elsewhere to see how their Midwest is showing.
I met Teddy Schober in college – we both went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and took a few design classes together. I thought he was absolutely hilarious, and we quickly bonded over our love of pop culture. Teddy is now living in New York City, and he is living his best life – I am obsessed with his celebrity stories and selfies with Broadway stars. A few weeks ago, I ran into Teddy in Wisconsin when he was visiting his family, and I couldn't think of someone more fun to catch up with. Check out his take on being a Midwesterner in New York!
My Midwest Is Showing: What is your hometown, and where do you live now? How long have you lived there?
Teddy Schober: I'm originally from New Berlin, WI and currently live just outside of NYC in Harrison, NJ. I've been out here full time for about 2 years, but traveled to the east coast for projects for about 4 years.
MMWIS: What's your lifestyle like? Describe a typical day.
TS: I'm a freelancer, so "typical" is a bit of a stretch. The majority of my work is on photo shoot projects, working as a Prop Stylist Assistant. Those days, too, vary. There are prep days, filled with shopping and sourcing our props, furnishings, and supplies. Then the shoots themselves include long hours in a variety of homes, businesses, or studios. We provide multiple options for what has been requested by the Artistic Director. I have been very lucky to travel a lot in this field, doing many shoots throughout California and New England. Of course, as a freelancer, "typical days" also include me figuring out the project or two (or three) ahead.
MMWIS: Favorite thing about where you live now?
TS: Lower sales tax than in NY, baby! Kidding (kind of). New Jersey is actually my respite from the hectic NYC. I love love LOVE the hustle and culture of the city, but it's also so refreshing to get on a train and enter, for a lack of better term, suburbia.
MMWIS: What do you miss most about the Midwest?
TS: Of course, my family and friends. They are the most wonderful, supportive group ever, so being at a distance can be hard. I literally wouldn't have taken the leap out east without their support. Luckily, they love to travel and I love to travel, so we don't go too long without seeing each other. Coming in at a very close second is the food and culture (Hi, Culver's).
MMWIS: What don't you miss?
TS: Whenever I go back to Wisconsin to visit, I cannot fulfill late-night cravings like I can out east - everything closes too early!
MMWIS: What's something you know now that you didn't know living in the Midwest?
TS: How to drive aggressively.
MMWIS: How does your Midwest show in your new location?
TS: I am often the "calm, level-headed" yin to locals' "assertive, rushed" yang. I have, driving aside, maintained my Midwestern chilled attitude. But ask me again in 3 years!
MMWIS: Do you think you will ever live in the Midwest again?
TS: This is a question I've asked myself a lot lately. Do I think I could? Absolutely. As cliche as it sounds, you really don't see something's importance until there is distance between you. Growing up in the suburban Midwest, I saw myself moving to NYC as early as grade school. It's was a far off dream, and now one that I am lucky to be living. But who knows what the future may hold!