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Living under the dome

Justin Tardiff | Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Golden Dome has never been this collegiate Mecca located half-way across the world from me. In fact, it’s about a five minute drive from home. I’m a “townie,” and I happen to be very proud of it.

Notre Dame has always been in my backyard, so the saying goes. I grew up tailgating near campus and wearing Notre Dame Cheerleader outfits on Halloween. There were always houses that would give kids extra candy for some Notre Dame pride.

This vintage Notre Dame poster has hung in my living room for as long as I can remember, and even considering going to a state school (i.e. Purdue) was considered treason. Most people here are very proud to live so near to this landmark of college education that people honestly do travel half-way around the world to attend.

I never saw it with its golden halo.

I completely abuse the fact that Notre Dame is so near to home. I’m pretty close to my family, so it’s nice to make it home to dinner when I can, or at least get off campus for a few hours when the Notre Dame bubble gets to me.

That’s the thing – being here feels like I could be 400 miles away from home, not just four.

The Notre Dame bubble is an impenetrable force that keeps the surrounding areas like Mishawaka, my dear hometown, and South Bend from entering. Sometimes this can be a good thing, because people didn’t come to Notre Dame to experience the northern Indiana lifestyle. They come for an education, maybe some football, but definitely not corn mazes and other happenings. However, I wish it were different. Growing up here, I can only sing its praises and beg people to break the bubble and try something new.

Get off campus!

Go explore the place that I am ridiculously proud to call “home.”

Try Hacienda, some of the best high-class Taco Bell ever made, or go to the Farmer’s Market on a Saturday morning. If that isn’t your thing, try going to downtown South Bend, which, admittedly, isn’t much, but still is fun, or going to any of the several South Bend Chocolate Companies in the area.

Our mall isn’t much, but it’s the best shopping you’re going to get in the area, until you hit Chicago or Indianapolis. And don’t forget to hit up the 24 Hour Coffee Shop, also known as the Gag and Heave (or G and H, but don’t let them hear you say that!) for some of the cheapest, greasiest, and tastiest food.

If you’re a music fan, please, please, please check out Orbit Music, in the Town and Country shopping center in Mishawaka. It’s not that far away, and there is a bus route to there. Check it out if you even remotely like music – there’s something there for everyone.

I want to help break the stigma that there’s only corn (and Notre Dame) in Indiana.

I hope the other “townies” feel the same way I do!