Most of my readers know this, but if you're new here then this is a pretty simple explanation. I was raised in Florida. I married a boy from Minnesota and ended up moving to his home town. I was a true "fish out of water".
So the "sand" in my snow boots is really the nitty-gritty, every day details about my adventures acclimating to living in the Great White North.
I've learned a lot about Midwestern culture, Minnesota Nice, and living in a frigid climate. While I may never be a "true" Minnesotan, I feel like I'm starting to blend in well with the natives. Here are some things I've learned:
1. Tater Tot Hot Dish is a legit thing. You will find this casserole dish in many a church basement (probably Lutheran) for the monthly (or weekly) pot-luck lunch/dinner. Consisting typically of ground beef, some mixed vegetables, tater tots, and cheese, this dish can go either way. Really good, or...not so much. If it's the latter, you have to pull your Minnesota Nice card and say something like "I'm saving room for the cookies!" or "You'll have to give me the recipe!" Just smile and nod. There will definitely be cookies.
2. Pasties are a food item. Past like "in the past", not the other kind of pasties that sound more like "paste". Because that would not be appropriate in your Lutheran church basement. This dough pocket is usually filled with ground beef, some kind of vegetable, and maybe potatoes. Best eaten with ketchup. Usually made as a fundraiser for the hockey team/volleyball team/insert-random-team here.
It's ok if you skip it. They have no flavor unless you drown it with ketchup. If you get stuck with one, just smile and nod.
3. Minnesota was settled by mostly Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish immigrants. Lots of Sven and Ole's abound here. I don't think any of them know what spice or seasonings are. See above for examples. Will that get my Minnesota Nice card revoked? Sorry! But they sure can bake. There will definitely be cookies.
4. Winters are no joke. You think you know cold? Unless you are Canadian, you do not know our cold. -20 is not unusual as a daytime temp in January. When it warms up to 0, many people you encounter that day will say "Hey, it warmed up to 0!" Even better if the sun is shining - then it almost feels warm!
Mountains of snow are just business as usual here. Almost every one of our neighbors either has a) a snow plow blade on their truck or b) a snow plow attachment on their ATV. I am kind of jealous. School is rarely cancelled for snow. Pffft. Cold? Sure. But snow? Come on!
5. Drinking is both a social activity and basically a lifestyle. Even those Lutheran church ladies - they love their wine. Hey, you have to combat the cold somehow.
6. Summers here more than make up for winter. Seriously, you should visit in July or August. June and September can be a crap-shoot. May is still pretty chilly - there will be no lake swimming for me in May.
Our lakes are beautiful. Is there anything better than cruising the lake in a pontoon on a gorgeous summer day, drink in hand? Nothing makes you appreciate the sun on your face and a warm breeze more than knowing that winter is probably just a month away.
|Views like this are the reason we stay.|
After living here for nearly 6 years, I will say that I'm getting used to it. There are still days when I miss Florida, but we've built a happy little life here. I'm even getting the accent down pat. Dontcha know?
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