Minnesota is different. I know it's still the United States, but golly, I feel like such a foreigner, an outsider, an alien. I've been reflecting about why that is the case. What is so different and why don't I like it? Well, here's your chance to find out. In no particular order:
#1 - Humidity. Gross!
I'm sorry but if my glasses fog up when I get outside from being in my office or when I get out of my car, that's too humid. If my skin gets sticky from being out in AIR, that's too humid. If I feel like I can't breathe...that's too humid. Natalie knows what I'm talking about! When we made a stop in Iowa on our way here and got out of the car and started gasping for breath and looked at each other like, "what is going on?" or rolled down the window to take a picture of the beautiful country side only to start gasping and quickly put the window back up so we could breathe again...that's too humid. If my cereal or my BBQ Pringles, or my Chicken in a Biskit crackers go stale in less than two weeks, that's too humid. If my gum and cough drops start to condensate and melt (indoors!) and create a gooey, sticky mess in my purse, that's too humid. If paper has a soft, soggy quality to it instead of its usual dry, crispness...you guessed it! That's too humid.
#2 - Bugs. Creepy, crawly, icky, sticky, all up in my space and 'bidness' bugs.
I'll spare you the visual here. I took a picture with the intent to share it with you (for the shock and awe of it) when, my first Sunday here, there was a centipede in my shower. But soon thereafter I deleted it because I was tired of seeing it on my phone. And oh yeah, that happened two Sundays in a row. Centipedes in the shower. And I thought spiders were creepy. So I've gone through quite a bit of pesticide...but there seems to be certain bugs that don't mind the pesticide and will show up regardless of what I do. Like the worm-like insects I've been seeing all over the place (in the basement - i.e., my living space) for several weeks. Ew! I try to get rid of them, but they keep showing up. I've even started to leave them, rather than kill them or pick up dead ones. Needless to say, I wear shoes or slippers or slides (sandals) indoors at all times.
#3 - Roads and city driving.
I was pretty much destined to detest the roads and driving here because of my experience coming for my interview in January. But sure enough, destiny has played itself out. For one thing, the on-ramps to the major highways often consist of a complete circle and a blind entrance to a ridiculously short stretch of a lane that almost immediately merges into the highway traffic. I sure miss those many on-ramps in Utah that turn into their own lanes for a substantial stretch giving you ample time to get over to the next lane before it disappears. Oh and often, even on major roads, when you're trying to turn left, there is no left-turn lane so traffic basically completely stops behind you while you wait for an opportunity to turn left. I tell you what, not much increases my anxiety more than the feeling of all eyes being on me and people behind me almost surely thinking or saying, "That was your chance, what's WRONG with you?" And have I mentioned I'm not a fan of one-way streets? The institute building (where I attend church) is located on a one-way street. So I get to drive on a one-way street at least once a week. Lovely. Also, the roads already feel extremely tight to me, so when I'm told, "Just wait until we get the first major snow of the year, then for the entire winter, there will be huge berms on both sides of the road," I'm not feeling super excited inside. I mean seriously, driving in a Minnesota winter? I'm thinking about petitioning for adoption of an initiative permitting state-wide hibernation during the winter just so I don't have to drive. Seems reasonable.
#4 - Companies in Minnesota mislabel things. Take a look and see for yourself!
What the heck is Hellman's and what happened to Best Foods?
"Brownberry?" Um, isn't that an "O" around that picture of grain at the top? O for Oroweat.
How embarrassing. Look how badly they misspelled Dryer's! Missing a couple of letters there, aren't you, Edy?
Careful, keep putting that sign on Carl's Jr. restaurants and people may begin to think it's a different place!
#5 - Bias against people who spend a lot of their spare time indoors and tend not to have "exciting weekend plans."
Okay, I'd like to consider myself an outdoorsy person who enjoys nature and being in the great outdoors. And I still think I am that kind of person to an extent. I like mild hikes, and love waterfalls and coasts and sunsets. I mean, we all remember my recent experience of finding my soul in Seaside, right? The whole falling in love with cold beaches thing, and feeling pretty sure that I need to move to the Pacific Northwest because of it. I still dream of going to see a lighthouse. Point is, I'm not a complete agoraphobic recluse, so stop judging me if I spent my weekend inside alone, in sweats, watching Netflix! We can't all be environmental enthusiasts who bike everywhere and eat fancy organic, vegan food, and do yoga and canoe and fish and go on runs everyday. And remember when I said I moved here from across the country not knowing a single person in Minnesota? Stop being so surprised that I don't have an active, thriving social life overnight, people. (muttered to self under breath - I've never had a very active social life, but that's not the point).
#6 - Minnesotan's complete ignorance about living in the giant hat state.
I mean, come on! It's so obvious that Minnesota is the hat, do I really need to spell it out? Because I will! Iowa is the face, Missouri the shirt, Arkansas the pants and Louisiana is the boot, making Minnesota...the giant hat, hello! So quit giving me all the blank stares and looks of confusion. I'm not crazy. It's right there on the map! (And apparently I'm not the only one that thinks so).
#7 - Zero family (hands down the thing I hate most about living in Minnesota).
No immediate family within a (nearly) 1,000-1,700 mile radius. Lame. Seriously rude. That means no siblings, no parents, no nieces, no nephews. Now that is just wrong. Not to mention no Sunday night dinner with family (insert pout here). I know I had been spoiled living in Utah for the last several years and was able to visit family quite regularly in Oregon and Colorado during that time, but did I really have to go from that to alone in Minnesota? It feels like I had to quit cold turkey. I know I had a slight problem, but this seems like an extreme intervention.
So there you have it. The many things I hate about living in Minnesota. I'm surprised I've made it as long as I have when this is what I'm facing. Two months down, approximately 10 more to go. Heaven help me. :)