Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Heading Home to the Native Land...Minnesota

This past weekend I headed back to the Midwest, the place of my birth, for my best friend's bridal shower. It's been about four years since I was last in the land of over 10,000 lakes and I always forget how wholesome the experience is. 

Despite spending the first 13 years of life there, I am always struck at the immense flatness of the Midwest. Flying into the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, I was able to identify many landmarks of my childhood. One included Buck Hill, a "ski" area we frequented in Middle School for skiing adventures and the locale of the high school ski race team's practice runs. I was shocked at how small it was...I guess Buck "Hill" is aptly named. 

People frequently refer to Midwesterners in a mocking tone with stereotypical adages of "You Betcha" and "Dontcha know" mostly coined from films like "Fargo" (filmed in Minnesota despite the North Dakota title). And I am totally a culprit of throwing in my MN accent for entertainment purposes. Being from there, I sometimes assume I'm entitled. 

Regardless, the charm and sincerity of Minnesotans, especially in a tough economic year like this one, is so refreshing. I was hard pressed not to smile at how nice every one was; whether I was at the Pharmacy or at the airport, every person I encountered was kind, gracious and hospitable. It brought a smile to my face. 

Part of my enjoyment was returning to a place that represents where my family comes from and my formative years as a person. The other part was enjoying the beauty of Minnesota in the Spring, the fabulous architecture of St. Paul, the amazing mansions on Summit Ave, and the humor of Minnesotans out in shorts in 55 degree weather! 

My trip was summed up with an unfortunate loss...in my hurry to catch an earlier flight back to San Diego, I lost my sunglasses in the security check (they got caught in the x-ray machine). Not until the next day did I realize they were gone. Blast! Not only did I love the glasses, but I didn't want to foot the bill to replace them. So, Monday morning I called TSA in Minneapolis without much hope. The nice (of course) gentleman on the phone asked me what brand they were. When I said Prada, he immediately said, "Sure do have 'em! I knew glasses that nice would be claimed." (I, on the other hand, thought glasses that nice would surely be stolen! - that's the cynic in me).  

So, my glasses are in the mail on their way home...I thanked the kind man and his parting words were "You betcha!" The stereotypes aren't too far from reality.

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