Two Years.

Today marks my second year living in Minnesota. Yep, two years in the working world, living hallway across the country from my family. Two years of making new friends and adapting to city life. Two years dealing with weather extremes and its effect on my hair and skin. Two years without a car, learning bus etiquette and giving the stink eye to those who do not respect said bus etiquette. Two years that have gone both fast and slow. Two years that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Yes, I miss home. Terribly. I wish I had my family, the lack of weather and general comfort of it all. But when I decided to move to Minneapolis, and stay, it was to challenge myself and grow in my career and as a person. I didn’t know what a challenge I was in for (-40 windchills, anyone?), but every challenge thrown my way in Minnesota has helped shape by experience here into a positive one. I don’t know what the next two years hold, but I know I’m better prepared for it thanks to these last two years. Thanks, Minnesota!

Revisiting the Minnesota Winter Bucket List

It’s wintertime in Minnesota, which can only mean one thing. It’s time to revisit my Minnesota Winter Bucketlist.

When I called it for the winter in April 2013, this is what the original bucket list looked like:

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My roommate, Bekah, made it a personal goal of her own last year to help me achieve these life experiences. She alone helped me accomplish all the events I was able to checkoff last winter. And this year doesn’t appear to be any different.

In fact, the bucket list has grown, thanks to Bekah. She has added several new adventures to my Minnesota Winter Bucket List, including a makeup for my not legit snowman last year (no face or twigs. decapitated within 36 hours).

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I’m happy to report that I already have plans to skate on a pond and to go to the NCAA Hockey City Classic (an outdoor hockey game held in the TCF Bank Stadium). Sadly, an ice fishing trip still eludes me. But this winter should be another one for the record books!

Today, I lived my nightmare.

When I moved to Minnesota and began to obsess over the weather, I had one situation in mind. This potential situation, or day rather, caused nightmares and hours of preparation. One day, so cold, even the natives would be scared. Windchills would be in the negative double digits. It would be touted as the coldest day Minnesota had experienced in 20 years.

That day was today.

Yep. When I woke up, it was -23 degrees out. Windchill was -48 degrees. There was ice on the INSIDE of my window in my apartment. Needless to say, I took a cab to work. The bus, more specifically walking to the bus stop, was not happening this morning.

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This is NOT okay.

Here is a list of everything I wore when I walked outside to meet the cab today: Underwear/bra, long underwear, jeans, two pairs of wool socks, sweater, sweatshirt, scarf (wrapped around my face), gloves, mittens, moon boots (yep. moon boots.), a stocking hat and my parka. Believe you me, I looked GREAT. And the long underwear stayed on ALL DAY. I switched from moon boots to Uggs when I got the office.

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Say what you will about the style, but my feet were toasty today.

Weird thing? It looked beautiful and completely non-threatening outside, when I was safely tucked inside. That kids, it what we call a false observation.

Tomorrow and the next should be pretty frigid as well. But Thursday? It’s going to be in the 20s. This weekend? In the 30s. When did my brain become so warped that I rejoice at the thought of a warmup when I saw temperatures in the 30s?

But you know what? I survived today. Take that, Polar Vortex! A California girl can survive you. Neener neener neener.

High of -4? I’ve got this.

Since I moved to Minnesota in June, I have been preparing for this day. 

It was a day that I couldn’t fully fathom. A day I had no past experiences even similar to. A day that had caused much fear and worry in my mind. What could this awful, awful day be, you ask?

Today, the temperature never went over 0 degrees. In fact, it was a high of -4, windchill of about -30. And I survived.

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Hey, look! There is a midweek warming trend!

Yes, I survived my first day of entirely subzero temperatures. Biggest lesson learned of the day: Cold is cold. At about 10 degrees, I’m going to start crying like a little girl, which doesn’t change when it is -4. It was like any other day, except the natives joined me in my whining, which was comforting. 

Luckily, I planned ahead. Well, Lana planned ahead for me. She sent me a text last night saying she would be picking me up for work in the morning and driving me home as well, and I wasn’t allowed to go to the gym today. I happily allowed her to take over my to and from work transportation. 

She also provided me with some humor this morning, though it may have hit a little too close to home…

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Just like when I attempt to sun tan, it ended up being a burn.

I also had this less than pleasing conversation with my brother, who is a freshman at Cal Poly and is enjoying the traditional January heat wave that hits San Luis Obispo every year:

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The cold is so distracting, I forgot to use correct grammar. Apparently balmy weather causes the same problem with my brother.

There were several silver linings to the cold weather today, though. 

1. broadhead took pity on us all and ordered 4 gallons of chili for the chilly day. Never underestimate the power of chili when you know it is no warmer than -5 outside. 

2. I found this little guy in my office, being underutilized. He now lives at my desk. 

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3. Hot Dish. While I’ve had it once before, after eating it for dinner tonight, I GET IT. Who knew cream of mushroom soup, egg noodles, canned corn, ground beef, sour cream and a ritz cracker crust could make you feel so good?

(For those of you keeping score at home, that is both chili and hot dish I have eaten today. I am also beginning to understand the concept of winter weight.)

I am now safely tucked into the couch, in my yoga pants and flannel shirt and no less than two blankets. I was assured that today was the coldest day in four years, so it can’t get any worse, right? Right?