I’m occasionally asked, “What’s XX like in Minnesota?” I have to admit, I often don’t know how to answer. Sure, I grew up here, but I moved away 15 years ago. I visit a couple times a year, but I usually come for a long weekend, often in the winter, stay at my parents’ place in the suburbs and then am on my way. I don’t generally take a survey or study Minnesota residents.
Since I had some extra time this trip, I’ve spent time seeing the city, taking yoga classes and otherwise acting like a local (with out-of-state license plates).
Here’s what caught me by surprise.
- Minnesotans are quite active. The Twin Cities were named the fittest city in the US for the third year in a row (yeah, two cities count as one) and it is gorgeous season here, but I’ve seen so many people out riding bikes or running. The playgrounds I’ve gone to with my nephew have been packed with families on the move.
- Minnesotans are so darn generous. I found a yoga studio not far from my parents’ place. They offer a week free to new students. I figured I could take one class free, then pay for the next one since I have no intention of staying after the first week since I don’t live here (must be my Minnesota side coming out). The studio actually refused my money.
- Everyone must’ve been outside running when I went to yoga because there were only two of us in class. In New York, we’d pay extra and call that a private class.
- Minnesotans talk funny. I hear it when I watch the news especially, but every once in a while I’ll catch a word – particularly “Minnesota” with it’s nasaly Ns and long oooohh!
- There’s corn. Everywhere.
- I see Minnesota Twins or Minnesota Vikings shirts everywhere I go. Not one person (outside of my family) commented when I wore Seahawks gear on Thursday.
- I think it’s impossible not to go to Target at least every other day. I think there’s a magnet pulling my car there.
- It’s so quiet here. Last night I heard crickets. This afternoon, I heard a strange noise and went to investigate. It was a ceiling fan. In New York, I’d never hear my fans over the firetrucks, people screaming, basketballs dribbling, my neighbor’s music and cars blasting music. I’m not sure there are crickets in Manhattan at all. I commented to my parents that it sounded like we were camping.