Minnesota is a special place. I guess everyone says that about their state, but Minnesota really does have a unique quality that, once you’ve lived here for a certain amount of time, you can’t escape the fact that Minnesota is now in your blood. There are certain things that happen in Minnesota that you’ll never forget, and those feelings and experiences stick with you. When you meet another Minnesota girl – say you’ve both moved to a new state – you instantly bond about them.
1. That slightly bummed/semi-relieved feeling when hunting season opens and you know you won’t hear from your dad or your boyfriend for at least 24 hours.
2. The smell of a hockey arena and the way it feels to cut that first deep “C” in the ice with your skates.
3. The first day it hits 40 degrees after a long, cold winter and you drive around with the windows down.
4. Conversely, the first day it hits 60 degrees after summer and you hurry to bundle up in sweaters, leggings and boots.
5. The first warm spring day when literally everyone is out walking the lakes and getting ice cream.
6. The first big blizzard when you get up early to move your car for a snow emergency and discover your boyfriend brushed the snow off in the night.
7. …or when you have to practically shovel off all the snow by yourself and you swear that one day you’ll have a garage and never do this again.
8. When you look in your grandma/uncle/parents’ freezer and find massive amounts of frozen meat and walleye, just in case the apocalypse happens.
9. The first day back at the cabin in the summer once you know the lake has been declared safe for swimming.
10. The first time you ever saw a deer hanging up in your dad’s shed – probably as a very young child, wherein your dad had to explain to you that this was not Bambi.
11. The “Are you serious?” eye roll you give someone from out of state when they’re like, “Oh, you’re from Minnesota? Is it just like ‘Fargo?’” Yeah, no.
12. The mix of terror and awe you feel when you literally walk across a frozen lake … or drive! “What if the ice cracks? What if I fall in?” you ask yourself, even though you know it’s frozen solid.
13. The disgust and disappointment you feel when you order a Bloody Mary outside of the state and it doesn’t come with a beer back! WTF!
14. The delicious taste of a Grain Belt Premium on your lips.
15. How it feels to jump out of a hot tub and run outside in the snow in just your bikini and towel.
16. The very complicated relationship you have with Bob Dylan and Prince, because whenever one of them does anything noteworthy, the local press covers it hardcore for days.
17. The sense of accomplishment you feel after you organize the perfect summer barbecue – complete with baby pool!
18. The dread when you look outside after a big blizzard and you know that your commute to work is going to be an absolute shitshow. Like, two hours to go 15 minutes.
19. Dressing for a summer wedding can be confusing, because you never know if it will be scorching hot, pouring rain, perfect weather or all three at different points in the day.
20. Holding your breath when you get into your car in the winter because it’s so cold, or sliding in in summer and praying you don’t scorch your ass on the seat.
21. Driving out of the city to the country just to look at the stars.
22. Sitting on a tailgate of someone’s gigantic Chevy pickup drinking cheap beer and listening to country music by the bonfire is your perfect night – except for the smell that lingers in your hair.
23. The bundled-up snowman feeling of wearing at least five layers when you’re out playing in the snow: leggings, pants, snow pants, long-sleeve shirt, sweater, coat and two pairs of socks.
24. The simple, beautiful stillness near the lake at night when the only noise is the trees rustling. You can’t find solace like that in a city.
25. Visiting a friend’s cabin and going to their small town bars is thrilling; who will you meet in this part of lake country, and whose fried food is better?
26. A deep, abiding appreciation and desire for Zorbaz. Is Zorbaz Minnesota’s ultimate treasure? It’s possible.
27. The pure glee you feel when your favorite aunt or grandma arrives at a holiday dinner with a Ziploc bag (or a Tupperware with her name written on it) full of lefse.
28. The guilty pleasure of putting on your Ugg boots for the first time in months and knowing your feet will be cozy warm all winter.
29. Going to visit a new city and freaking out because all the men are so short!
30. The way your heart swells every time you hear a loon call out on the lake. Isn’t that the most beautiful, most Minnesotan sound of all?