I’m a Midwestern girl, born and bred. But college came calling, so I ventured beyond Minneapolis towards the Seattle’s Pacific coast. I took in grunge, coffee culture, the waters of Puget Sound, and a fairly consistent climate.
I left the middle and found the edge.
That’s when I discovered that misconceptions about Minneapolis abound. No, it is not frozen all year round. Yes, I do have neighbors. No, I don’t live with cows.
I extolled the virtues of my hometown—we are a sophisticated, culture-rich, art-saturated city. Haven’t you heard of The Walker Art Center? First Avenue? Um…Target?
Seattle was a cool city too, so after graduation, I found an apartment. The traffic was a beast, and my shoes got ruined in the rain, but the city was sublime. Salmon seemed to grow on trees. No snow. And fishmongers hurled fish at the Pike Place Market. Who doesn’t enjoy flying fish? I loved it, and Seattle became my new home.
Unexpectedly, a health hiccup disrupted my gig in The Emerald City. My family, plus great medical care at the University of Minnesota enticed my return. That’s a long story in itself, so we’ll skip those details. Fast forward to better health.
I became ensnared into Minneapolis again. I found a job and an apartment by the Chain of Lakes. But I missed Seattle’s coastal vibe. I heard a quiet whisper asking if I should return to the western Pacific edge.
I gave myself pep talks about why I was in the right place. Seattle could claim Nirvana, but nothing compares to Prince. Seattle had Starbucks, sure, but Caribou was ours. Locally sourced salmon is tasty, but we’ve got walleye on every menu (although I’ve never seen it hurled at the grocery store.) But honestly, it was the climate comparison that sealed the deal.
I came to realize our greatest asset is our seasons. Really. We are saying goodbye to summer’s humid hugs, yes, but fall offers a friendly greeting. Pumpkin patches, vibrant leaves, and Honeycrisps, here we come!
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. Winter? Well, it doesn’t have to be an ominous John Snow Winter is coming kind-of thing. How ‘bout a cozy fireplace and hot cocoa after making a snowman kind-of-thing? And we prepare with the appropriate footwear. Snow doesn’t ruin Sorel boots. Am I right?
Then spring flirts with us, and soon enough, we’re right back to a sticky summer. We’ve got it all.
Meanwhile, my Seattle friends, in their temperate climate, tell me when Amazon swooped in, throngs of new folks did too. The city became crowded. And that traffic graduated from terrible to TERRIBLE. There is less elbowroom there now.
Which makes me wonder about those Minneapolis misconceptions. Exaggerated Fargo accents. (It’s not that bad, don’t cha know.) A fly-over zone. (Hardly.) Maybe these misconceptions keep throngs of new people at bay. That might actually be good. Maybe we want to keep our elbowroom.
The recent Super Bowl extravaganza almost changed people’s minds, but Mother Nature was feisty and the world watched our guests’ lips turn blue. So Justin Timberlake, and everyone else have probably forgotten about us since then.
I hope so. Now, instead of extolling our virtues, maybe we should keep it a secret, the little-known fact that Minneapolis is splendid.
Shhhhh. Don’t tell. Let’s relish our Midwestern riches and seasonal abundance quietly. More for us. My advice is this; if out-of-towners inquire about living here, don’t blow our cover. Simply say, Oh Geez, it’s real brutal, overrun with cows, and snows all the time—even in April!
That should do it.