All good things must come to an end.
And new beginnings are always bittersweet for me. Why? I get attached to friends too easily. I am perfectly comfortable with letting friends turn into family and then when I have to move away to a place where I can’t see them regularly and knowing that the potential for drifting apart is a reality, I find it all just so dang hard. Truth be told, I am absolutely horrible at goodbyes. Like, embarrassingly horrible at goodbyes. And it never feels right to me to say goodbye to friends, ever.
So to talk about Minnesota and the experience it’s been over the last 3 and a half years, I will just have to write it here in order to spare everyone from the ugliest ugly crying they’ve ever seen.
The land of trucks driving on frozen lakes, -40 temps in the winter (but don’t forget the wind chill that is
always 10 degrees colder). The land of 6-month-long winters. The land of getting burn welts on your palm from grabbing the door handle outside because the metal is just that cold. The land of “hot dish”, “ludafisk”, “oofda”, and “I suppose”. Roseau. The land of the Vikings, Wild, and Twins (nobody cares about the Timberwolves out here). Hockey, hockey, hockey. Generosity like I have never seen before in my life. The land of being able to stand on top of the snow before falling through because the ice layer on top created from the wind chill makes it strong enough to carry your weight for a second. The loud sound of frogs in the spring that you can hear through your window. I’ll miss falling asleep to that sound. MOSQUITOS. PTERODACTYL MOSQUITOS THAT BITE THROUGH YOUR JEANS! Ok, I’m not going to miss them very much. The mosquitos have not become family.
Fried cheese curds. Terrible food all around. (To be clear, not food that friends cook, but restaurant food). Swedish everything. Minnesota has really helped me to feel closer to my Swedish heritage and I’m very grateful for that.
I can’t believe I’ll miss some of the things I found funny that I now find endearing. I’ll miss seeing the Mad Max cars driving up and down my street. Or the camo truck every week while driving to church. For all the swampiness, the fact that you run into a lake every few miles is charming. I’ll miss watching football on the big screen in my neighbor’s garage (they have become some of our best friends) while they drink their glasses of Summer Shandy beer they pour themselves out of the tap drilled through the side of their garage fridge with the keg inside. I’ll miss them buying us soda and calling us booze hounds. Interesting local politics.
And there are the things I always loved that I will miss in the desert. Humidity. The light, early morning
fog that rolls in and settles in the trees and on the glassy lakes. The crazy greenery that suddenly bursts in the spring. The cleanest, crispest, freshest air I have ever inhaled in my life. Our awesome backyard. The unreal sunrises and sunsets. In the fall when the leaves
are vivid orange, red and yellow. Every October, waking up one Saturday morning to the muffled sound of shotguns and knowing duck hunting season has begun. My darling seminary kids. The hospital where I went for all of my pregnancy appointments and delivered my first baby. The roads and parks where Calvin and I would hold hands
while riding bikes when we were dating. We fell in love in this place. He asked me to marry him here. I said yes here. We bought our first home here. We started our business here. We had our first child here. Minnesota will have a huge place in my heart.
I’ll miss lunch with the ladies. The craziest thunder storms and downpours. The tornado sirens going off on a regular basis in the summer (and not for testing!) The green sky moving in an eery way. The way my elderly girfriend at church told me that “that’s when you know you gotta beat beat.”
Truth be told, Minnesota has been beautiful in its own way. I learned a lot about myself and life in general while living here, and mostly from the people I am privileged to call friends (and this is where I cry into my keyboard and fry the computer). Truth be told, easily the best part of Minnesota is the people. The culture here is referred to as “Minnesota Nice”. The kind of nice that left me confused when I first moved here when people would stop me in the grocery store aisle to ask me where something was or make small talk like they knew me my whole life. I can’t tell you how many times I asked myself when I first moved in, “Do they think I work here?” because I didn’t understand why someone would ask me where something was in the store if I didn’t work there. People do that here. People are so nice, they assume the best of you most of the time. When you are out and about and you find that others are willing to lend a helping hand, it is common to hear Minnesotans say, “Minnesota Nice is in full swing today.” I have never met more genuine and kind people in my life. Utahns are pretty dang nice, but Minnesotans top even them (sorry y’all). I have learned from my friends—many of whom are 10 or more years older than me—about what it means to be a great person, what it means to care, maturity, perseverance, perspective, how to find joy in great difficulty, triumph over tragedy, how to have a wickedly witty and dry sense of humor (I don’t claim to master that yet, although I was trained through countless hours of laughing), how to be unbelievably generous and thoughtful, and how to be more honest with yourself. How to face your demons. How to forgive. How to love. How to live a more simple life. How to not take yourself too seriously. How to chill out. How to slow down and find joy in the simple things. And one of the greatest blessings of living here is that my prayers have become more sincere.
I’m a little worried about moving back. There’s a part of me that worries that I’ll get used to the rushed, complicated life that I lived before. It was hard to learn how to turn down the pace. It took years of living here and no small amount of frustration, but I am a better person for it. When I go back to city life from my rural Minnesota life, will I be just as stressed and frustrated as I was when I moved to rural Minnesota from city life? I don’t know, but Minnesota has taught me to look on the bright side and assume the best. The good food will smooth out the rest.