After graduating from Regent College in April, we SOLD our apartment in Vancouver and in August drove a U-Haul truck 3881 km across the North America and ended up in South Bend Indiana. Why? Because Jessica was brilliant (and lucky) enough to be awarded a 5 year fully-funded PhD scholarship at the prestigious University of Notre Dame. For the next 5-6 years we plan to be in South Bend as Jess completes her Ph.D in English Literature (more details to come from her in a follow-up post (post #2)).
To avoid any such confusion, I will describe South Bend on its own terms. South Bend is in Northern Indiana, only a few miles from the Michigan state border, and a half-hour drive to the Indiana shores of Lake Michigan. You could accurately describe South Bend as a "college town" as it is the home to Notre Dame, an Indiana University campus, a Purdue University campus and Bethel College. South Bend qualifies as a university town, because it has many students in relation to the size of the total population. But, South Bend isn't just a university town - the St. Joseph River proved to be a spring of economic activity in the city's glory years when the Studebaker family built cars here. But, since Studebaker's demise in 1963, the era following brought the nickname the "rust-belt" and unfortunate economic decline to this area of the country. South Bend experiences 4 genuine seasons - a humid Summer, a spectacular Fall, "lake-effect" snow and ice-storms in the Winter, and a brief Spring.
There is no doubt what the biggest event(s) of the year is in South Bend... Notre Dame College Football home games. For seven Saturdays in the Fall, South Bend is pumping! Beginning Thursday of game-weekend you will see people sitting by the roadside in lawn chairs buying and selling game tickets, parking passes, parking stalls in their yards and beds in their houses. On Saturday morning, five hours before kick-off, traffic starts to swell to the point where many locals simply don't drive their cars on game-day. Before the game, police change the street traffic patterns so all roads leading to the university are converted to one-way channels to get fans to the game. Game-day is so predominate here, that year round traffic signs point to parking lots that only get filled seven days a year. To put game-day in perspective, the population of South Bend and its sister city Mishawaka is a combined 150,000 people, while Notre Dame's stadium seats 80,795 fans and has been sold out for every game (except one) since 1966. It is also estimated that an extra 20,000 fans who don't have tickets show-up to campus to take in the elaborate festivities that the University puts on and to soak in the atmosphere as they "tailgate "party all day and night long and watch the game on portable TV's from the car park. I'll follow-up with another post (post #3) from our experience as season ticket holders this year.
So as Jess has been studying hard getting settled into her Ph.D program, I have been... in limbo: waiting for my working permit and permanent residency to be approved by the US government... house-husband: trying to take-on more of the domestic duties to free Jess up to read and write... organiser: buying a house... DIY tradie guy: getting the house ready to move-into, which finally came to fruition in the last week of November. Another post (post #4) will follow with some pics and details about our DIY efforts in our new home.