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!

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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.

A Tale of Two Falls

Unrealized benefit of living in one state with my immediate family in another: I get to experience Fall TWICE.

Other than personal growth, getting to know myself, becoming more independent and working at a great place, I’d say the Minnesotan Fall is one of the best perks of me living in the North Star State. In fact, I never really appreciated Fall before I moved further East. Most likely because Fall in California is about one week before Thanksgiving to maybe the week before Christmas. Not a wide window. Definitely not enough time the leaves to get all beautiful-like. In the two Falls I have had in Minnesota, I’ve learned how beautiful the season can be. Crunching leaves, crisp air, hot cider, apple orchards, pumpkin spice everything, leather boots, light jackets and the list goes on. I’m basically a walking Starbucks ad come September.

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Beautiful Fall colors along the Mississippi River, mere blocks from my apartment.

So that’s my Minnesota fall. What happens when I go home to California for Thanksgiving, right around the time winter starts to gain it’s grip on Minnesota? Crunching leaves, crisp air, hot cider, apple orchards, pumpkin spice everything, leather boots, light jackets and the list goes on.  Sure, the colors aren’t as vibrant and I have to drive significantly further to get to an apple orchard, but it’s still Fall. If I’m lucky, this is still going on when I go home for Christmas, making getting the Christmas tree a very pleasurable experience.

So yes, probably the most unexpected benefit of living in the middle of the state with family on the West side is two Falls and, I must say, it’s pretty phenomenal.

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?