1.

A normal friend gets grossed out by the mud on your shoe.
An Iowa friend is impressed by the quality of soil you managed to track into the house.

2.

A normal friend brags about biking 25 miles yesterday.
An Iowa friend did Ragbrai this year. Twice.

3.

A normal friend asks you if you want to go to Chipotle.
An Iowa friend, when forced to go to Chipotle, brings along their own Panchero’s queso.

4.

A normal friend suggests you stay at home to avoid the snow.
An Iowa friend knows that 380 is more than cleared by 9am and it’ll be fine. What are you, a baby?

5.

A normal friend can’t believe you’re stuck behind a tractor on the road.
An Iowa friend excitedly waves at Bill.

6.

A normal friend doesn’t understand why you want to go to the Nickelback concert.
An Iowa friend is equally excited just to watch someone play guitar on a megatron.

7.

A normal friend asks you where all the vegetarian options are at your party.
An Iowa friend is too distracted by the bacon tater tot casserole to notice.

8.

A normal friend eats a Maid-Rite with a spoon and still leaves a giant mess.
An Iowa friend leaves their table pristine like they weren’t even there.

9.

A normal friend texts you on Saturday afternoons and expects a response.
An Iowa friend knows you’re MIA till the game is over.

10.

A normal friend thinks you’re too nice to say how you really feel.
An Iowa friend tells that friend to STFU and keep a lid on it until they know what they’re talking about.

11.

A normal friend can’t believe how many hipsters are in Iowa City.
An Iowa friend is already making a beeline for a peanut butter mocha at Java House.

12.

A normal friend wakes up to that loud thump on the door at 6am.
An Iowa friend will get up two hours later and gets the Des Moines Register eventually.

13.

A normal friend can’t believe you’d drive all the way to St. Louis to see a pro sports game.
An Iowa friend is already planning your next trip to Chicago.

14.

A normal friend is confused as to what “Hy-Vee” means.
An Iowa friend can’t wait to make sure all the employees are indeed smiling.

15.

A normal friend “can’t wait to see Amish people!”
An Iowa friend doesn’t bat an eye when they pull into K-Mart.

This story was produced through the travel journalism programs at MatadorU. Learn More

16.

A normal friend asks you if you usually vote in the presidential election.
An Iowa friend challenges you to see who’s shaken more candidates’ hands.

17.

A normal friend sends you a greeting card to express their condolences.
An Iowa friend leaves a homemade apple pie on your back porch.

18.

A normal friend asks you when you got a cat if they see kitty litter in your trunk.
An Iowa friend texts you for a bailout, when they’ve just used up the last of theirs.

19.

A normal friend tries to find Iowa on a map but points to Idaho or Ohio.
An Iowa friend doesn’t get confused by vowels.

20.

A normal friend asks how Michelle Bachman got as far as she did.
Okay, fine. An Iowa friend can’t explain it either.