My drive to the gym this morning was a little…well…chilly.
Scott and I moved to Minnesota exactly two years and one month ago tomorrow. It seems like at least eighteen months of that time have been snowy, windy and bitterly cold.
The great Midwestern winter of 2014 isn’t showing any signs of leaving, which is why I felt it necessary to remind myself why I chose to leave my mild-wintered life in Seattle so I might call this frozen–albeit totally charming–tundra my home.
Aside from mosquitos the size of small birds, nothing can compare to a Minnesota summer. We’re the land of 10,000 lakes! No offense, Seattle, but I’ll take jumping into a nice, bathwater-like pool of glass before the icy Puget Sound any month of the year. (And by any month I clearly mean any of those between May and September.)
Traffic? What traffic? I certainly don’t miss having to deal with rush hour, HOV lanes, and cramped parallel parking. On the downside, no one honks their horns here, which is something I’m still trying to remember. (I’ve mistakenly offended several SUV moms and slow-driving senior citizens due to my beeping habit. Whoops.)
Target is headquartered in Minneapolis, which means they have retail locations on just about every corner. It also means I have way too many random graphic-tees and throw pillows.
4. Cost of living
Living in ‘Sota is a fraction of the price of our former life in Seattle. We were able to purchase a home that would have been way outside the budget in Washington, and still have funds left over for travel and those Target throw pillows.
5. Minnesota Nice
If you’re not sure what that is…read about it here. It basically means if your car gets stuck in a snow bank, twelve people will magically appear with shovels to dig you out, and then invite you over for hot dish.
6. The food
Speaking of hot dish…Minnesota has some pretty tasty regional cuisine. Tater tots, walleye, and wild rice are a few of my personal faves.
7. The abundance of Norwegians
When I shout out “Uff da!”, people nod in agreement as opposed to looking at me like I need to be committed.
8. The Mall of America
As much as I pretend to hate that place, I kind of secretly love it.
9. Active living
Believe it or not, I live in an incredibly healthy state–Minnesotans love to get outside and move! In the winter its cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing and snowmobiling. Come summer, the entire population is hiking, jogging, riding bikes, swimming, kayaking, wake boarding or stand-up paddle-boarding. It makes sense if you think about it…we’ve got to do something to burn off all that casserole.
Because I live in the country, I see deer, fox, pelicans, eagles, loons, hawks, turtles and prairie dogs on the regular. It makes me feel like Sleeping Beauty during that scene in the forest where the woodland creatures surround her for a flawlessly choreographed song and dance. Instead of singing and dancing, I’m shooing these critters away from my oh-so-tasty looking chihuahua…but otherwise it’s totally the same.
11. Bragging rights
Sure…it’s cold as #$*& here…but the miserable weather will earn you instant street cred when you explain to your out-of-state friends the conditions your forced to exist in.
12. The Dairy
Ice cream, custard, cheese curds…enough said.
13. The Cities
Minneapolis an Saint Paul are absolutely wonderful. I’ve done my fair share of traveling, and truly believe the Minnesota metro area can hold a candle to most other major cities in the U.S. Our Twin Cities are rich in culture and the arts, and boast a vibrant music and food scene. They’re the top biking cities in America (Minneapolis actually invented the rentable city bike!) and are jam-packed with unique, charming neighborhoods. I love a weekend getaway to MSP anytime I get a hankering for some urban life.
14. Bloody Mary’s
‘Sota knows how to do my signature cocktail right — served with a generously portioned beer chaser. (Why didn’t I make this number one on this list?!)
When I stop to think about it, Minnesota has tons of redeeming qualities. Sure… the winter weather meant I could barely start my car this morning, but come summer I’ll be floating on our lake without a care in the world. Is a Minnesota winter worth it? Absolutely.
What are the best and worst things about your state? I loved the natural beauty of Washington (not to mention all the coffee), but will never miss the traffic. Good riddance, Interstate 5!