Before moving to Florida (9 years ago) if you would have asked me what Minnesota had to offer I would have said: "Snow & mosquitos but other than that, not much of anything.". Today when asked what I miss about Minnesota, I could go on for days. From the moment the plane breaks through the clouds and the flight attendants prepare for arrival ("cross check and all call"), I am able to tune out the screaming children arriving home from their Disney vacation because I am completely mesmerized by the beauty that is the great state of Minnesota. Whether it be the lush horticulture in it's vibrant green color in the summertime; or the snow capped Arts & Crafts style homes that you very seldom see in cookie cutter, stucco-home-filled-neighborhoods here in Florida. From cornfields to breathtaking skylines of, not one city but 2. It is beautiful.
Florida may be surrounded by water but the total miles of shore line of the 11,842 lakes Minnesota is home to; totals more than that of the shoreline of the states of Hawaii, California and Florida combined. (and yes I had to look that up) From boating in the summer to skiiing and snowmobiling in the winter, you are never without something to do. Sure there is the possibility of having 10 feet of snow in your front yard but, what I wouldn't give for a snow day once or twice a year. And yes, they have a funny accent but I lived there for 20 years and I was able to avoid it. (unless of course Leanne is around to call me out when I say bag) Ugh! I could seriously go on forever... I never have a bad hair day there, my skin isn't oily, there is no tax on clothing, my Grandma (and her homemade jam) would only be a short car ride away, there is an outdoor baseball field right in the middle of downtown Minneapolis and I can't stand baseball but that still seems so much cooler than Tropicana Field. There are places like the Boundary Waters (www.canoecountry.com), Lake Superior (a mini ocean in my opinion), Grand Avenue, the Basilica of St. Mary (www.mary.org) and The St. Paul Cathedral (www.cathedralsaintpaul.org) both AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL. Ornate theaters, that don't even fall into the same category as the high school auditorium that is the Bob Carr. Art galleries and museums and cool places to host events like the Mill City Museum (www.millcitymuseum.org). There is a mall with a roller coaster AND AN AQUARIUM INSIDE PEOPLE!!! (it's really not all that cool but you can't talk about Minnesota attractions without mentioning the Mall of America) There are fun music festivals like the Basilica Block Party and Grand Ole Days (oh how I love Grand Ole Days). There are bars where every one knows your name like Billy's (sorry inside joke there). Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and Uptown and SO much more... but I'll stop there for now.
|St. Paul Skyline|
Maybe it's age and the infinite amount of wisdom I have gained in my 35 years (haha) or maybe it's a change in values and priorities since I lived in Minnesota before. It could very well be a case of "don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" or maybe it's being married to a Florida native who has not an ounce of desire to live through a Minnesota winter and would never agree to moving there (12 months out of the year). I can't say that I blame him. Can you imagine transplanting an islander to an igloo??? It wouldn't be pretty. Perhaps the pit in my stomach and the lump in my throat that I get every time I leave (much like when I was sent to camp or when my family dropped me off at college) is a combination of all of the above. What ever the cause, the diagnosis is none other than... homesickness. I've got it bad and will for at least another few days. It will, much like the common cold, run it's course. I won't treat it with Nyquil or cough drops. The only ailment I need is a few days of driving on our perfectly paved roads and a day at the beach. And maybe a phone call or 2 from my Mom complaining about the fact that the temperature there is higher than it is here. To which, I will respond with a comment about the humidity being FAR worse here. (for the record it annoys me too, when people say things like "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" but it's SO TRUE!) I'm also reminded of the reasons I moved here, when an unexpected guest emails me to say they'll be in Orlando on vacation or going to a conference and would like to get together. That is definitely a treat we wouldn't get if we swapped states. Although, after this post maybe a few of you will be adding Minnesota to your places to travel. :)
I guess you can take the girl out of Minnesota but, you can't take the Minnesota out of the girl. And for all you Floridians, don't worry, I will be sending everyone back home pictures of sunsets over the ocean the first week of October, all the while the Minnesotans will be digging their way out of their first snow fall. I may still be a little homesick but I know they'll come visit and leave their shovels and ice scrapers behind! :)