Minnesota has its many reputations: “the land of 10,000 lakes”; “Minnesota nice”; and those thick accents and “ya betcha’s” that the movie Fargo so crudely and delightfully brought to the big screen. All of these reputations are, in fact, true, but I see Minnesota in a slightly different light than the vast majority of the public. From the southeastern portion of the state which is peppered with forested bluffs tracing along the early journey of the Mississippi River, to the infinitely beautiful North Shore, and even to the miles of farmland that appear to seamlessly transition into the industrial and artistic hub of the Twin Cities, I have experienced it all. Being born and raised in a small town in southern Minnesota, I grew up among modest and earnest blue-collared workers. Throughout my childhood, we took countless trips “up north” to enjoy the numerous lakes and forests. It’s where I learned how to steer a canoe, cast a line, and pack for week-long backpacking trips. I spent my undergraduate career in the Twin Cities exploring the arts, food, and culture these small yet energetic cities have to offer. The state was my playground. It was my place for growth and change.
As a woman in my mid-twenties, I have moved to the Western states, hoping to fulfill my desire to be a Rocky Mountain lady with a pack on my back and my dog by my side. I venture into some of America’s most majestic and beautiful countryside, yet I always seem to find a yearning for the Midwest state that shaped me into who I am. I am constantly asked by family and friends if I will ever move back to Minnesota and I can never provide an answer, for I don’t know. However, one thing I can always reassure them with utmost honesty is: I will return for my annual dose of cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair. Oh, ya betcha I will.