Monday, December 29, 2008

So you've moved to Minnesota. Well...

how IS it out there?

That's what people ask me. People from back in Seattle, anyway. It's odd, I still think of this blog as being read by Seattleites and I'm sure that's still the majority of the readership. But it stands to reason that there must be some Twin Cities folks reading it as well. The idea in my mind of a mostly Seattle audience kind of reveals that I still feel like I'm a visitor here. Perhaps it's an extended visit, like college or something, but it does not yet feel permanent.

Anyway, it's been nearly 10 months now. Here's how it is out here:

1. Weather is a huge topic of conversation.
2. People will talk about the weather wherever you go. Especially about extreme cold. The novelty has not worn off for them even if they're 90 and have never left Minnesota. Weather = fascinating!
3. The fact that people constantly talk about the weather means they constantly talk. It's a social place.
4. I think that's because it's based on farming and settlers. These people had to be social in order to NOT DIE. And it stuck.
5. I slipped into being a Vikings fan quite easily. This is probably because they are good and the Seahawks are not. The shallowness of my football fandom is now clear.
6. Still a Mariners fan. No wavering at all.
7. Trying to become a Timberwolves fan but the suckiness of their play and their dopey name makes that difficult.
8. I still can't get past the idea of Minnesota being funny, somehow. Like the entire state seems inherently whimsical, somehow. It's just a funny state. That perception on my part has made it harder to feel like this is home. I still feel like I'm living in a skit.
9. The accents. My god, the accents.
10. Humans are adaptable, it turns out. We had a few days there of minus 11 degrees or worse. We went out in it anyway, kids went to school, life continued. Then it heated up to 4 degrees and I couldn't believe how warm it was. Humans are adaptable.
11. There's this band out here called Cloud Cult. They're from Minneapolis. People talk about them constantly.
12. But they don't talk about Prince as much as you would think.
13. Great coffee was easy to find. So was great beer. Good Thai food took a while but was found eventually. Great pizza? The search continues.
14. Did that #8 thing make me sound like I didn't like it here? Sorry. No, I like it here. I like it a lot. It feels like a home. But I think it still feels like I'm looking into someone else's home. Will it be more like MY home, maybe after a year or two? Yeah probably.
15. I must admit, though, that the cancellation of Weekend America was a bummer. Did you hear about that? Our last show is 1/31/09. Crappy economy, big expensive show, you do the math.
16. I'm staying with the company, though. Future projects to be announced in due time.
17. I have developed a snow shoveling technique that works for me.
18. I have bought sidewalk salt.
19. I used to go entire winters without wearing a hat or gloves. Now, I have many pairs of gloves and many hats. I have a hat that makes me look like a ninja.
20. Minnesota, and especially St. Paul, feels like a place that is uniquely my own. I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, went off to various places for short term things, but then returned to the city where I lived for years. We stay in our hometowns by default, it's what we know. St. Paul is not what I know, which makes it all feel very fresh and exciting. It's my Midwest crisis, as my sister said.
21. Everyone in Seattle was from somewhere else.
22. Everyone here is from here.
23. People here don't consider themselves from here if they're from a suburb. "So did you grow up in St Paul?" "Oh geez no, I grew up way out in Mendota Heights!" Mendota Heights is on the other side of the bridge.
24. I thought I would miss the trees and the mountains but I don't. Not at all. Not even a little.
25. I miss my friends, though.
26. And I really, REEEEEEALLY, miss being in a rock band, especially the world's most important rock band. Tentative reunion concert in the works for next summer.



Anonymous said...

Great pizza? The search continues.

You won't ever find it. It doesn't exist here.

Great post. As as transplant 6 years ago, I laughed the entire way through -- ya know...

Mrs Marcos said...

I don't know what you people are talking about, we don't have accents. GEEZ!

(I did laugh right out loud at the "Oh no, I'm not from St Paul, I'm from Mendota Heights!" line!)


Emily said...

have you gone to green mill for pizza? people seem to like it, including my sister-in-law the die hard foodie. i have no opinion; i didn't really care about pizza when i lived in minnesota, and now i'm spoiled for homemade.

Anonymous said...

Great post. As far as great Pizza, I have no idea. I also have to second the "Oh no, I'm not from St. Paul, I'm from Mendota Heights!" line, that was spot on.

Jennifer said...

Oh, John! I am so sad to hear that Weekend America was canceled! I love the show, and not just because I adore you. I look forward to it every weekend. I'll have to savor those podcasts. Keep me posted on your new endeavors. I'm not just your friend...I'm your groupie. :)

Mandelion said...

I moved here from NJ in 1993 and I love it. The weather is the best in the county - totally EXTREME! And you're right: it makes for instant conversation/ice breaker.

As for pizza, I don't know what Seattle pizza is like, but the best place I've found to get New York-style pizza is Golooney's in Uptown in Minneapolis. Punch Pizza is also great - Neopolitan/brick oven pizza.

The fact that everyone is from here is not always a good thing. I've actually heard of natives turning down offers of friendship from a 'transplant' with the comment: "I don't need any more friends."

Anyway, sorry for the ramble and welcome to town!

my name is Amanda said...

Moved here for college when I was 18, and I'm almost completely colonized - I talk about the weather constantly. But I still think Minnesotans are kinda funny sometimes. ;)

No great pizza, though? Au contraire! Love love love Pizza Nea (a couple blocks north of St. Anthony Main, on Hennepin), Savoy's in St. Paul, any of the Pizza Luces, and Fat Lorenzo's (near the south end of Lake Nokomis on Cedar).

Anonymous said...

Punch has pizza is better than most. If nothing else they win hands down on the oven -- something like 1200 degrees of wood burning. Your pizza is done in about four minutes.

St. Paul is weird about the "I'm from here. . ." From my native Minnesota roots I grew in small town, moved to Minneapolis, then to St. Paul. Everywhere else, people moved around. NOT ST PAUL people moved to St.Paul and never leave St.Paul. It's the Bermuda triangle here.

Anonymous said...

Punch Neapolitan & Golooneys. Yah, you bet!

Cade said...

No good pizza in St. Paul, but maybe some Captain Ken's baked beans and a Ruben for Cecil's deli will help you forget.

nancymcjensen said...

Most of these posts are from Minnesotans (is that the right descriptor?) You're expanding your reader base beyond the Puget Sound, yay! Elizabeth is singing a new song named "bunny attack." Huh. I better go see what the heck she is doing. Happy New Year!

Kimm said...

Glad you're getting acclimated. Sometimes I miss Minnesota, especially the winter - though this winter in Seattle not being one of those times.

katya said...

You forgot to talk about Hot Dish.

Anonymous said...

Strange synchronicity -- I saw Cloud Cult on a commercial right after I read this post, or a cartoon of them anyway. So, that's the Minnesota way, is it? They sounded kind of . . . edgy but catchy, I guess. Seattle still misses you!

Scott Chicken said...

Rock band? You were in a rock band? I vaguely recall something about that, but it might have been a dream...

Call Zeeks and see if they can work with those fish-throwing guys in the Market to express mail you a Puget Pounder. That'll solve the pizza problem.

A. Skretta said...

Regarding Pizza in St. Paul: Cosetta's on W. 7th is an original Italian establishment. Try there. Whenever I'm in town, I go there to eat (I live in Virginia now), and get the Hot Dego. But the pizza's good.

Steve Brezenoff said...

Yes, I am commenting on a very old post, because I must inform you about Hiawatha Pizza in Minneapolis, if you're a fan of NY-style pizza.

Here's my blog entry on the subject: