It’s been almost three weeks since I made the move from Los Angeles to Minneapolis, and let me tell you…it hasn’t been easy. I made a similar move ten years ago when I moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles right after graduating from college, and that was cake. Seriously, all I took with me was a large suitcase full of clothes and a handful of books, and then whatever would fit in my 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix that my parents so willingly drove across the country for me while I took a plane. I don’t remember feeling that much stress, except for the “oh-my-God-I’m-moving-to-California” stress that was to be expected. Other than that…easy.
Since meeting my husband, we have moved five times, all within the Los Angeles area. All moves were pretty easy, even the fifth one from Corona to Torrance when our daughter was just 10 months old. So when we finally made the decision to move 2000 miles, I thought, “Well, we’ve done this so much, it’s gonna be easy!”
Way wrong. This move – for lack of a better word – sucked. For one thing we have way too much stuff ( I, however, have just the right amount of books), and it took forever to pack up all our stuff. We also only had one 16 ft POD in which to pack our belongings, and that made for a tight squeeze, even after selling a lot of our stuff, and packing that thing was like the ultimate game of TETRIS.
Don’t forget that our daughter is now 3 and a half, and fully aware that we were packing up her precious toys. I won’t go into detail about how much that sucked. Just use your imagination.
But after all that (and a lot of money spent), we eventually made it here to Minnesota. And while I thought getting the move over and done with would bring relief, it hasn’t. At least the relief that I wanted. We’re in completely different state, surrounded by completely different people, and even though I was born here and lived in this state for 18 years (and Wisconsin for four), things are just…different. Let me explain.
1. The Weather
Ah, yes…the one thing most of the people commented on when we told them we were moving. “But it’s so cold there!” Yes, people, it’s cold in Minnesota. I’ve lived here, so I know how cold it can get. And yes, it was a bit of a shock when I got off the plane. But it’s just something you get used to. It’s only 10 degrees outside? You dress for it. Add another layer, throw on a scarf, stick a hat on your head. Wear some fuzzy socks and some ugly boots. You just deal with it. On the upside, however, it has been unseasonably warm this January, and yesterday it even got above 40 degrees, making me want to break out the spring jackets. Of course had I been in LA and it got down to 40 degrees, I probably wouldn’t have even stepped outside. Because it just becomes all relative.
2. The People
There’s this thing people talk about called “Minnesota Nice”, which refers to niceness of the natives of this state. Growing up I never really noticed it, probably because not everyone is nice in middle and high school. But living ten years in Los Angeles made me appreciate the whole “Minnesota Nice” phenomenon, because you know what? People are really nice here! I’m not saying that there aren’t nice people in LA, because there are. But working in retail for the past six years made me realize that there are a lot of NOT nice people there. Even just walking down the street people looked either upset or pissed off or just plain mean. And while I’m sure there are some not nice people in Minnesota, my experiences with the public have been very pleasant. Where else would a complete stranger at IKEA offer give us some rope from his truck and help us strap a mattress to the top of our car?
3. The Freeways
I’m not going to talk about the obvious difference in traffic between Los Angeles and Minneapolis. We all know the difference. What I’m talking about here are the actual Twin Cities freeways themselves, and how I don’t understand them one bit. Freeway driving in Los Angeles, despite all the traffic, is actually really easy. They all pretty much go East/West and North/South, and you always have the mountains and the ocean as a directional guide. Going north? Ocean’s on your left. Going West? Mountains are on your right. You know that, and you can’t get lost. But here? Seriously, I feel like I’m driving in circles. All the time. If it wasn’t for my GPS, I’d probably be in South Dakota right now.
4. The Coffeehouse
Living in LA, I was used to finding a Starbucks on pretty much every corner I turned. Getting my Venti Unsweetened Black Iced Tea became a thing of routine, something I had to get everyday – plus a free refill – or else my day would be total crap (I’m serious – I did a study on it). So when I came here I thought, “Well, since there are more Starbucks than people in LA, I’m sure to find a few in my neighborhood here!” HA. Not so. Minnesota-grown Caribou Coffee seems to have the “one-on-every-corner” market taken here in the Twin Cities, and while the iced tea there isn’t bad, it just isn’t the same. It’s not like we don’t have Starbucks here – most of them being inside of Super Targets – but out of convenience I’ve had to resort to the ‘Bou just about everyday. It’s just something I’m going to have to get used to, I guess. Le sigh.
It’s a slow process – especially for my daughter – but I know things are going to get better. My husband and I may be unemployed and living in my parents’ basement (PARTY!), but as of the writing of this blog we both have interviews lined up, so I’m actually typing with my fingers crossed. Seriously, try it sometime. It’s not easy. But it can be done.
It can be done.