The Journey From Wisconsinite To Minnesotan

October 24, 2013

5488823250_57d22f0c19_zOriginally born in southeastern Wisconsin, and spending the first 18 years of my life there, I didn’t know much about Minnesota growing up, other than sports stuff.

But after high school, I enrolled at the University of Minnesota and haven’t looked back.

Over the course of my seven years in Minnesota, I have come to embrace several of the mannerisms and traditions that make the state great. Recently, I’ve taken a few bigger steps toward becoming a Minnesotan – mainly getting a Minnesota driver’s license and license plates.

Now that I’m really a Minnesotan, there are tons of clichés I could go into about the cold or hating the University of Wisconsin. But I’ll skip those and share a few of my favorite Minnesota life lessons I’ve learned so far:

The different meanings of “Minnesota Nice” – When I first moved to The Land of 10,000 Lakes, I kept hearing the phrase “Minnesota Nice,” but simply thought of it as people being kind to each other. Although this is true in many cases, the term also means people can be very passive-aggressive. With an inherent need to avoid confrontation, I’ve been known to embrace both sides of the term on multiple occasions.

Minnesotan chants – I now know if some yells “Ziggy-Zaggy, Ziggy-Zaggy,” I need to respond with “Oy Oy Oy.” Although this call-response chant is originally from an Oktoberfest drinking song, I’ve learned to adopt it from experiences at Bockfest and Gasthofs.

The zipper merge – The first time I merged onto a Minnesota highway I thought I was going to die, which was largely due to the incredibly short on and off ramps. I quickly learned the “zipper merge” method and driving becoming a lot less frightening. I may not totally agree with it, but I’ve grown used to it and no longer fear for my life.

When you see a loon, don’t call it duck – As the state bird of Minnesota, the common loon is something people love in Minnesota. After a few instances of scolding by friends, I now instantly recognizing the differences and know not to make that mistake again.

Love for hotdish – Coming from Wisconsin, I had no idea what hotdish was, but quickly learned and embraced how delicious it is. The traditional “casserole,” served during family gathers and celebrations, is usually made up of tater tots, meat and vegetables. Honestly, how can you not love that?

Appreciation for “The Mighty Ducks” – Like most kids growing up in the ’90s, I had seen the movies and thought they were great. However, my appreciation for the movies has skyrocketed since living here for seven years. A prime example is from the second film, “D2: The Mighty Ducks.” There is a scene where Charlie Conway rollerblades around the Twin Cities to round up the team. I can proudly say I recognize almost every location from the scene and was more than excited when a blogger mapped out the trip to see how long they bladed for, which is about 43 miles.

Don’t get me wrong, growing up in Wisconsin was awesome. It will always be a place that I love and it’s the state where I have so many friends and family members. However, Minnesota is where I call home now. Although I still have a lot more to learn about life in Minnesota and I may not ever be accepted as a Minnesotan by those born and raised here (largely due to my love for the Green Bay Packers), I’m on my way.