It seems somewhat crazy, but I’ve already lived in Minnesota for about six months. It’s jumping up in the ranks of places-I-have-lived-the-longest, the list of which looks like this right now, in case anyone is super curious:
- Ferndale, MI: 14 years (plus two summers and an uncountable number of visits including some that were multiple months in length)
- Ann Arbor, MI: 6 years minus most of the summers
- Detroit, MI: 4 years (most of which I was too young to remember)
- Isle Royale National Park: a cumulative eleven months or so over the course of three summers
- St. Paul, MN: 6 months and counting
- New Zealand: 5.5 months (two of which were on the road)
- Colorado National Monument; Fruita, CO: 5 months (how did we fit so much into so little time?)
- Callahan, CA: 3 months
- The UM Biological Station: 3 months (not sure if this really deserves to be on the list, but I did have a bed and dresser and things on the walls)
Minnesota has honestly been pretty great so far. I knew extremely little about this place before arriving. The two big things I got about the Twin Cities from friends who’d been here were that it was very bike-friendly and that people were always having street fairs, both of which are true things. I pictured the whole state as pretty much a slightly colder Michigan, and it’s not far off. People call parking structures “ramps” and play “duck duck grey duck” and eat more tater tots and don’t drive as fast, but at the end of the day, I’m in another upper Midwestern state. It’s not as if I’ve moved across the world.
I love that there are lakes in the cities, that everyone I’ve met likes being outside, that northern MN looks like Isle Royale, and that there is a place called “Mr. Michaels Recycles Bicycles.” I do not love that you have to go to separate stores to purchase alcohol and you can’t buy it all after like 8 pm or on Sundays. Also the lack of cider mills.
Mostly what I like here are the people I’ve fallen into. They don’t all know each other yet, but I’d like to thread them together, like squares in a cozy Minnesota quilt. One and all they are up for adventure and good for several beers, quick to laugh and exceedingly clever, down to earth and a little bit sarcastic. And one of them brings me coffee in a steaming mug.