A Month of Accomplishments

I have officially been in Minnesota for about a month.  Outside of work, I have 3 accomplishments that I would like to brag about for a moment, if you don’t mind:

Accomplishment #1: I now know how to get to a real-life grocery store all by myself. My coworkers Lana and Emily helped me figure out which bus to take to Cub Foods (and the Rosedale Mall, for the record), meaning I no longer have to grocery shop at the Target in downtown Minneapolis.  While I’m still limited to two grocery bags at a time (it’s hard enough to control two paper bags of food on the bus. I can’t believe that adding a third bag would be a great idea), at least I can now fill those bags with a variety of produce, dairy products and food that have some form of nutritional value. I even got to do some serious cooking today, but more on that later.

Accomplishment #2: Yesterday, I was able to help not one, but two different people on the public transit clusterf*@# that is the trip to the Mall of America. If you recall, my first trip to MOA was dramatic due to the fact that the downtown tracks for the lightrail were under construction, resulting in an extra bus trip and a whole lot of confusion for this girl. Of course, this weekend, the same weekend I chose to venture back to MOA, there was construction again. But I knew about it this time, so I was prepared. Frankly, if I ever get to go to MOA the normal way, I won’t know what to do. Anyways, back to the accomplishment. As I was crammed like a sardine in the second bus of the day, an elderly Indian woman was very confused about what was happening and why she couldn’t take the train. I was able to explain to her that we would soon be on the exact same train she was used to, but we just had to get on it a little further down the tracks. I was feeling pretty knowledgably at this point. I mean, I was able to help with a public transit question. I’m no longer the newbie. This smugness carried me all the way up the stairs and to my bus pass validation station, where I quickly scanned my card and sauntered on over to the correct side of the tracks for my train. Clearly, I was demonstrating a mastery of the Minneapolis Metro Transit. Sensing my confidence, a very attractive Australian young man asked me how to buy a ticket. I walked him through the process and basked in the feeling of being a public transit master and wondering if this skill would attract any other handsome young men that day (Coincidently, on the way home a not so attractive young man asked which bus he needed to get to the lightrail station. I guess this skill is a universal attractor).

Accomplishment #3: I have (sort of) danced the polka. On Friday I went out with some folks and we went to Gastof’s, easily my new favorite evening establishment. They have live polka music (complete with a man in a historical suit and armored helmet) until midnight and hip-hop from midnight until closing. I can see myself spending some more quality time there and learning to actually polka.

Yep, I feel pretty proud, even though two of my three major accomplishments are about public transportation.

Going off Accomplishment #1, this morning I took the bus to Cub Foods and this afternoon, I cooked. I cooked so much. An hour after completing everything, the house is still hot. But I have all my meals for the week and got utilize some healthy foods. I’m learning that I really enjoy cooking, so I’m glad I have found a real grocery store.

In addition to cutting up watermelon, I made whole wheat pasta with roasted broccoli, tomato, garlic, crushed red pepper and ground turkey, zucchini with tomato, ground turkey and blackbeans and quinoa with chicken, zucchini, tomato and garlic.

I had a little bit of leftover zucchini and made myself some rosemary zucchini chips. Pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

Here’s to hoping I have many more months here!

Minnesota: Day 21

It’s amazing how time flies. I have been in Minnesota for 21 days and I finally feel like I have settled into my situation. I’m staying very busy at work, have explored a little further into Minneapolis and am figuring out how to live on my own. I’ve even watched the entire series of Arrested Development and started Mad Men. Yep, I’d say I’m settling in pretty well.

What’s been the hardest adjustment for me so far, you ask? That would have to be trying to figure out this crazy-bannanasandwhich-bipolar-cantmakeupitsmind thing they call weather out here. Luckily, we have received a reprieve these past few days. However, last week was hellish. It manages to be 100 degrees and humid, yet not that manageable tropical humidity. Just plain, “100 degrees and being coated with 100 degree water” humidity. It was so bad that everyone (including my boss), knowing my naiveté when it comes to true weather, routinely checked in with me to make sure I wasn’t melting away or passing out from the heat. In all honesty, no one should be able to sweat as much as I did walking to the bus stop at 7:30 am  one day last week.

Surprisingly, I have yet to visit a lake in the 21 days I have been in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Does that seem wrong to anyone else?