It has been nearly a year since I last went back to Minnesota for a visit. And going back after that long of an absence has opened my eyes to a few things.
#1: The Minnesota accent.
When I landed, I immediately noticed the accent. It was strong and obvious, taking me back a bit. If that’s what I sounded like when I got to California, it’s no wonder people asked where I came from. I know I had lost it to some degree, but I slipped right back into it in no time. I could easily hear it in my own voice as the familiar cadence came back.
#2: Minnesota Nice
It’s true. Minnesotans are nice. Nicer than many of the Californians I have met (no, not all of you!). Polite, courteous, caring. We may like to joke and say that we Minnesotans are just passive-aggressive but I can tell you that it was almost culture shock to encounter so many polite people when I came back. Thank you for reminding me how nice people can be!
#3: Minnesota Driving
People complain about drivers in other states all the time, and Minnesota drivers certainly aren’t the best. But they can do two things: they know how to use a turn signal and they know how to merge using the “zipper” technique. Also, there aren’t nearly as many asshole drivers on the road. California could take a lesson here.
Aside from the accent, the first thing I noticed was how green it was. It was beautiful.
I spent my first night home with my family, catching up and having a delicious homemade dinner. Their critters seemed happy to see me, too.
I even had a bed partner.
Monday was my first full day. I helped out with some of the animals around the house, clipping nails and handling geckos.
Then I went out for dinner with some friends.
Liz, Diana, and Becka have all come out to visit us in Cali and it was time to hang out on their turf again!
Plus I got to meet this sweetheart:
Afterwards, I stopped by my friend Alex’s house for wine and cheese night — and got to hang out with a few friends I haven’t seen in a while. It was nice to catch up with everyone.
Tuesday was another fun-filled day. I went over to my father-in-law’s house for lunch, and we ate overlooking the lake.
I even got to see a loon, but it was too far away for me to take a picture.
That night, I went out for dinner with my friend Anita and we met up with some other peeps for a Twins game. Funny thing was that they were playing the San Diego Padres! And Minnesota kicked their butts!
Wednesday, I decided to head over to my old neighborhood and see how my house was doing.
It was beautiful. It looks like the new owners are taking good care of it. It made me a little homesick. To make myself feel a little better, I stopped into Pappy’s to get the best Chicago dog in the world — better than any I have tried elsewhere, including Chicago!
After eating lunch with my friend Nancy and hanging out with another buddy Trav, I met up with Ali in the St. Paul, where we treated ourselves to my first pumpkin spice coffee of the season.
After catching up for a while, we headed over to a local brewery where we met up with friends for beer tasting and trivia.
I noticed a few new breweries in the area — it looks like St. Paul is stepping up its game! I will have more to explore the next time I come home.
While I was away, Andy held down the fort here in Cali, giving the critters as much attention as he could to make up for my absence and taking care of the park.
The next half of my trip was mostly spent in Northern Minnesota, one of my favorite places.
To be continued…