The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Conclusions of a New Minnesotan 2

Sometimes I get confused…very, very confused

Sometimes I get confused…very, very confused

In August, St. Paul, Minnesota became my home when I migrated from the southern half of the U.S. to take part in an AmeriCorps program.  By the time that September rolled around, I had come to a few conclusions about my new home and the native creatures.  Several months have passed since that time, enough months for me to draw a few new conclusions.  So this is a continuation of that initial post and a few addenda (apparently that’s the plural of “addendum”).

We’ll begin with the addenda, of which there are two.

 

 

 

Conclusion 1a: Minnesota’s summers are gorgeous.

Conclusion 1b: Minnesota’s winters are beastly.

Seriously.  Have you ever spent a winter in Minnesota?  A few weeks into November I was preparing for the worst.  And then, after the first massive snow that dumped nearly a foot in our driveway and front yard and on top of my car, I was thinking that squirrels and bears have the right idea.  Hibernating in winter is pure genius.  If you hibernate, you do not have to DRIVE.  During my first excursion (perhaps ill-advised on a Sunday morning while the weather was verging on blizzard conditions), I was prepared to pull over and just hibernate right there until everything melted.  Also, there’s this whole FREEZING COLD CONSTANTLY factor.

Conclusion 4a: Biking is awesome!

Conclusion 4b: …except in winter.

Did you read the above rant about the quantity of snow that can fall within a twenty-four hour period?  Well, that pretty much covers it.  My bike is hibernating.  Some days, I would like to join it.

Looks like all of my addenda have to do with snow…hmmm.  Can you tell what’s been on my mind?  Speaking of what’s on my mind…let’s move on to the new conclusions that have been reached.

Snow…snow…and more snow

Snow…snow…and more snow

Conclusion 6: Minnesotans are resilient.

Have you seen how much snow these people get?  It’s ridiculous and, no matter how much it is, they just keep going.  This is a strange concept for someone who grew up in, umm, I dunno, let’s just say Arkansas.  In a place like Arkansas, two flakes is cause for mild panic.  Five flakes is a cause for mass hysteria.  And ten flakes is cause for hibernation.  Somewhere around eight flakes it becomes impossible to find milk, eggs, or bread at any grocery store, gas station, or farm.  But in Minnesota, they just keep going.  Think “energizer bunny.”

Conclusion 7: The best time to go to Wal-Mart in Minnesota is in the middle of the Vikings vs. Packers game.

So, one volleyball game doesn’t seem much different from another volleyball game.  Wait…the Vikings do play volleyball, right?  Kidding!  They play baseball.  Anyways, I went to the grocery store without thinking about it.  Boy, did I make an AMAZING decision.  The store was dead.  It reminded me of the time that I went to buy beer in Missouri when the Cardinals were playing in the World Series.

Conclusion 8: Ice fishing is for real.

I had heard about it…but now I know someone who does it.  What has my world come to?

Proceed with caution.

Proceed with caution.

Conclusion 9: Starting your car before you get ready to drive in the morning sets the tone for your day.

This can really make or break your day.  If you do not pre-start your car, then your day will be cold and unforgiving.  If, however, you do pre-start your car, there is hope for warmth and happiness throughout your day…but only if you pre-start your car.  My fingers normally go numb while I’m driving, especially the left pinkie.  You think that’s a joke; unfortunately, it’s not.  I wish I was.

Conclusion 10: Minnesota is a land ripe with opportunities to DISCOVER.

What is it that you would like to discover?  How to survive if great quantities of snow?  How long should you actually wait for a lift bridge? Where is North?  What does a gigantic mall look like at 6 am?  What does nice mean?  Whatever it is that you would like to discover, you’ll find something worthwhile in Minnesota.  Put on your curiosity cap; let the state surprise you.

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Conclusions of a New Minnesotan

Having lived in the Twin Cities for approximately six weeks, I feel that I can now draw some conclusions. I’ve taken time to observe everything from the weather to the people to the food.  As of now, here’s what I know.

Conclusion 1: Minnesota has gorgeous summers.

A glimpse of beauty from a Minnesota summer

No joke.  For someone who is accustomed to the heat and humidity of the Ozarks (northern Arkansas/southern Missouri), this mild-mannered summer is a dream come true.  Back “home”, I couldn’t imagine going for a bike-ride in the middle of the day.  Up here though, the world is just warming up to the low 90s (on a hot day!) and mid-day isn’t frightening.  I’ve heard loads of people complain about this extra-hot summer…I just chuckle.

Conclusion 2: St. Paul’s hills are beastly.

…and I live smack dab in the middle of one of them.  Either way I chose to go when I leave my house is a hill, up or down.  I can start out by going down, but eventually I have to go back up!  There’s no rest for the weary around here.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to check out a new bike trail.  Heading out of the trail head was a breeze…literally.  Coming back in to my car–beastly.  I will confess: I walked my bike partway up.

Freshly-picked produce

Conclusion 3: The Twin Cities residents are very nature-oriented.

Hair products…weekend plans…fresh produce.  The people up here like to know what’s around them and how they can use it.  It is so refreshing to be surrounded by people who are turned into nature like this!  I am inspired to stop showering, bike everywhere, plant a vegetable garden and raise chickens.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  But I do find myself hitting up the farmer’s market on a regular basis, sometimes on my bike! (Okay…confession: I drive to the bottom of the hill, park, and then bike the rest of the way to the farmer’s market.  Remember–beastly hills!)

Just an average day in a not-so-average place

Conclusion 4: Biking is awesome!

Need I say more?

Conclusion 5: Minnesotans are curious.

When Minnesotans hear that my move up here was my first visit to the state, they are impressed.  When they find out that I didn’t know anyone up here, they comment, “You’re brave.”  And then they proceed to ask me about my work, my family, how I found a place to live, and what brand of underwear I wear.  Okay, maybe they don’t go quite that far.  But they do ask a lot of questions!  The first few times this happened, I was a little freaked out.  There is no reason for complete strangers to know my whole life story.  But now I have the whole story practically scripted.  And then there’s my roommates, bless their hearts.  They always want to know about my day and my parents and my lunch and… I’m still trying to get into the swing of sitting down and chatting whenever someone walks in.

 

After six weeks…that’s all I’ve got.  With ten and a half months ahead of me, I have plenty of time to learn a bit more about these Swedes and draw a few more conclusions.  There are others swimming around in my head, but five is such a nice, round number!  Why would I want to muddy that up?  Stop by later to find out what else I’ve learned.  Supposedly winter will be brutal for a newbie like me…we’ll have to wait and see!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

I’ve recently moved to the Twin Cities.  It’s been quite the change from the places I’ve called “home” in the past.  Over the past few weeks, St. Paul has give me copious opportunities to photograph “urban.”  So, I couldn’t resist this challenge!

Just Keep Driving

Man on a Ledge?

A Few of My Favorite Things

 

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Changing Weather Patterns

So, I just moved to Minnesota.  In every conversation that I have with a native, the topic of weather comes up.

“Have you ever experienced a winter?”

“You don’t know how to drive on snow, do you?”

“Do you have a coat?”

The list could go on.  The inquisitiveness is just one of the things I’ve noticed in this breed of Scandinavian-blooded people called Minnesotans.  There have been a lot of subtleties catch my eye, but none more significant than their phone use…or lack thereof.  This is one of those things that could be associated with their age (most of the people I’ve been spending time with are over 25…I’m fresh out of college).  But I do think that their background plays a hair of a part.

I am use to having half conversations with people.  There is always someone or something at the other end of the cell phone interrupting, butting in.  Whenever there is a dull half of a moment, the phone comes out.  If you are in a group of five people, chances are at least one person is active on their phone…chances are it’s more like three.

But things are different here.  I have whole conversations with people.  I have conversations without ever seeing the phone!  I was beginning to doubt that was possible!  I am so relieved, though, to find out that it is.  So, what does this mean for the breed called Minnesotans?

It means that they are more real and independent.  They don’t require connections to people 24/7.  Instead of losing themselves in a virtual world, they would prefer to invest their time and energy into you (or whoever happens to be standing next to them).  I love that!  These people make me feel like I, an AmeriCorps volunteer hailing from Arkansas, am significant.  It took my best friend and roommate of three years a lot of effort to make me feel that way.

Best Garage Sale Find Ever

 

These people are great.  And, in case you were wondering, I do have a coat.

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No Turning Back

I just moved halfway across the country to a state I have never visited.  I am living with people I have never met.  I got a job that pays less than $900 a month (technically, it’s a “year of service” with a living stipend…AmeriCorps).  And I am more excited about the possibilities ahead of me than I have been in a very long time!

I no longer feel the need to write about “Chasing Rainbows.”  Right now, I am content to rest under a warm, blue sky and bask in the glory that is radiating down from God.  Not glory on me…but glory on all that He has done.  Moving to the Twin Cities was never part of my plan…it wasn’t even on my radar!  Working for AmeriCorps was also never on my radar.  I am a walking testament to the truth that “God’s ways are higher.”  There is reinforcement from every side that I am in the right place.  Doubts flooded my mind these past couple of weeks as I prepared for the move; but God has continually reassured me that this was His plan all along.  In thinking on this, I came across a verse:

The heart of  man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. (Proverbs 4:11)

I tried so many plans on my own…but they were all my plans, on my own.  It wasn’t about me.  It has never been about me!  This is all about His will and His timing.  So as I dive into this new adventure, I will be holding tight to that truth.  He has designed a path for me…better than any I could imagine.

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