We’re Moving Back to Minnesota (Finally)

It’s official: We’re moving home.

By “home” I mean Minneapolis, Minnesota, a city in which neither my girlfriend nor I have ever lived. We both grew up in eastern South Dakota and went to school at Minnesota State University, Mankato — which is about 70 miles south of the Twin Cities — but for all intents and purposes, this is a return home. We’d been considering the move for months now, but only this past weekend did it become official.

This should come as no surprise to loyal TMT readers, but I’ve maintained a love/hate relationship with Portland since the moment we got here last August. That’s to say I’ve really loved hating Portland.

A loyal reader recently asked what brought us here in the first place. In short, I decided after spending the first 24 years of my life living in or within a few hours of my hometown that it was time for a change of scenery. We certainly got the change we were looking for out here, but the change meant putting nearly 1,800 miles between ourselves and the people we love most. The longer we were here, the greater urgency we felt to move home. You can only call, text and Skype with family and friends so much.

Why Portland, specifically? I had always been interested in living the Pacific Northwest because of the climate, terrain and politics. My initial thought was Seattle, but Portland was more practical based on cost and job opportunities. (Not saying the job market is better in Portland, but Seattle is a too tech-oriented for this English graduate.) There’s a lot of things I’ve loved about Portland: the mild winter, the coffee shops, the Willamette Week, the library system, the parks. What it lacks, though, time and time again, is our family and friends.

Growing up, I never intended on being someone who needed to live near their family. Aside from aunts and cousins in Indianapolis, the vast majority of my family is in the South Dakota-Minnesota area. I’d always been jealous of families that spread across the country, popping in major cities like Ikea stores. Now, I can’t wait to get back home. I can’t live close enough to my family as far as I’m concerned.

The same people who made moving away so hard helped make the decision to move back so easy.

Here’s another piece of truth: We left behind some great friends. My whole life, I’ve cycled through small groups of friends, allowing time and space to cut friendships short. The friends I had when we moved were the best friends I’ve ever had. The people we’re returning home to are people I want my kids to know. They’re people I want to look at old college photos with when our grandchildren can look at us and say, “What’s a digital camera?”

The Midwest is by no means a hip area of the country, but I’ve had my fill of hip. I miss the hokey Northern dialect, the deep devotion to beer and football, several dozen conversations each day about the weather. I miss guys who wear Carhartt without irony, pride themselves on their Buffalo wing eating ability and can sing every word to “Skol Vikings.” I miss girls who wear hooded sweatshirts, pride themselves on their Buffalo wing eating ability and don’t mind smiling for no apparent reason.

When you live in a place where it rains for months on end, you need a good umbrella. When you live in a place where (-26) degrees outside isn’t rare, you need a good sense of humor. That’s something Portland is lacking.

My girlfriend and I don’t move until late July, so in the meantime, we plan on giving Portland our full attention. Much has been made of bucket lists since the Jack Nicholson—Morgan Freeman buddy flick was released a few years ago. We’ve agreed to something similar — a f*ck-it list. As in, I don’t really want to go to the Japanese Rose Garden, but we’re moving soon, so f*ck it! We’re cobbling together a list of things we want to do or see before making our move. (No. 1 on the list is going to Seattle for Memorial Weekend to catch a Minnesota Twins-Seattle Mariners game at Safeco Field.)

This post might just catch someone on the verge of a cross-country move, so let me part with those people in mind: I understand full well the urge to get away and try something new. There’s no better learning process than throwing yourself into a place that’s unfamiliar, surrounded by people you don’t know. However, think about the people you get to have in your life every day. Is where you live so intolerable that you would settle on seeing them just once or twice per year just to live in a different time zone?

If yes, I wish you the best of luck. If no, well, there’s no shame in that. I’m hesitant to call it one for the appreciation it’s given us, but you can learn from our mistake.


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17 thoughts on “We’re Moving Back to Minnesota (Finally)

  1. Moving back to MN?
    I feel like I’m you when you moved to Portland. I need to get out of this state and try something new for a change. Arizona is your Portland for me.

    Butyou have a pretty good insight, family and friends do play a large role in moving away. Hence I’m leaving St. Cloud and going back to Mankato in the fall. So i’m not sure whether I would like it somewhere outside of MN, the only reason I would stay here is strictly just friends and family.

  2. Congrats!

    You pretty much hit the nail on the head in regard to the reasons I’ve contemplated moving back “home” as well.

    Boston is great and I love it, but it sucks some serious monkey-balls only seeing my family and best friends (and the Twins) two or three times a year.

      • Very true. It was very easy to feel both “bored” and “stuck” despite not actually being either one.

        My best friend moved out to California for two years, and the entire time he was there, all he thought about was how much he missed home. I totally get that.

        Much like yourself, I miss my family and friends and all of the things that are just so “natural”…I’ve grown rather weary to constantly being an “outsider” in my everyday life.

        Boston is great, but it’ll never be home.

  3. I’m proud of you Andrew. I wish I had your wisdom when I moved away. I regret all the years I missed with my family and that my children didn’t get to meet my friends and hang with their cousins. There is something about the midwest that centers you and makes you realize what is important.

  4. As many times as I tried blaming this all on my friends by asking “Why the hell did you let me move here?” We have to keep in mind what it was like our last few months in Mankato. You’d been there 6+(?) years, I’d been there 4. We were miserable, tired of the college scene and antsy. If we up and moved to Minneapolis we would have been just as miserable. It wasn’t the change we needed. I never in my life thought I would get homesick. My 19 year old self has been telling me “buck up, this is what you wanted.” Yes, it’s what I wanted but now what I want more than anything is my family and friends in real life, not over a phone, text or computer screen. Just after I was settled in at work and I had a routine down in life, it took the new Michael Buble CD to break me. I called my Ma sobbing asking her what was wrong with me. “Well Boo-Boo, I hate to say this but I think you miss us” As always Jan was right.
    Yeah, we spent what felt like millions of dollars uprooting and moving across the country, spent scary unemployed nights sharing a party pizza and box of cheesy noodles, but look what we learned, look what we’ve conquered together. Most importantly, look what we left behind, and what we found we couldn’t live without. I would have never known I would miss: fighting with my sister, losing to my Dad in bags, my Ma making me go to the store at 10pm because I drank the last of the milk and what if Joe woke up in the middle of the night wanting cookies, or not being able to have peanuts in my house incase my 25 year old brother who is deathly allergic might someday decide to try one, or my Ma waking me up by opening the blinds and climbing into bed with me at 6:30am when I had just gone to bed a few hours earlier.
    So, no, not a mistake…just a long vacation, a life test, a relationship test, which I believe we have passed with flying colors.
    I couldn’t think of anyone better to do this with, so thanks Miller and I do love you even though you blog.

  5. Have you guys decided which part of the Twin Cities you are moving to? Also, would you have any interest in blogging for a Twin Cities events and “underground entertainment” website? (Not for pay, but would look good for experience)

  6. A girl named Dorothy-a wizard-ruby slippers and click your heels together 3 times and repeat after me”There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home”!!!
    Admire you both for moving out there but so glad you are moving back…love you both lots and lots and lots!!!!!!!!
    XOXOXO

  7. Congratulations. Moving to Portland was the worst move of my life; getting out was the best. It’s the only place I’ve ever lived that I have no nostalgia for, no interest in seeing again.

    My last six weeks sound like yours — I hit the Japanese Garden a few times, enjoyed the public library, breathed the nice air, and counted the days until I could be away from these people, their forced self-consciousness, groupthink, conformity, slavish trendiness and naked xenophobia.

    It sounds like you and your girl moved to Portland for the same reasons I did — the environment, amenable politics, etc. etc. Then you find out: The people are polite on the surface, but have no social skills and are proud of it. The art and music scenes are just not interesting, because no one’s really DOING anything. The ballyhooed food culture is…overstated, to put it mildly.

    Bikes are fun, but they’re a limited topic for conversation. So is recycling. And, face it, Portland: you can’t even define “sustainable.” It’s just a catch-all term for Good.

    If something is a good idea, Portland thinks it invented it; if it’s a bad idea, someone must’ve brought it to Portland, and it’s probably a goddamn Californian.

    I’m not interested in putting on a suit and tie every day, but I want to be able to do it for special occasions, and I damn well don’t want to be a 35-year-old man riding a skateboard to the comic books store.

    Get out. I have a feeling you won’t regret it.

    I’ve enjoyed your blog. Cheers.

  8. Glad to hear it. I heard through the grapevine (facebook) that Beth was coming, but I thought it was for vacation. FYI I read this almost everyday. If you could bottle it, we could sell awesome juice.

  9. Moving away from your roots is tough, trust me, I should know after living in Seattle for the last 3 years leaving my family and all my friends behind is hard and not fun keeping in touch via facebook. It was a crazy, crazy move that I can’t believe I actually did it. There isn’t a day where Minnesota doesn’t cross my mind; especially now with the new Twins Ballpark, which by the way, I can’t wait to check it out sometime over this summer.

    The fact Portland doesn’t have a MLB baseball team, I’m sure, is the real reason why Portland sucks? I would think so, being a baseball fan, Portland is cool, but not as cool without MLB baseball team (I know, the Mariners are shitty – nothing impressive –, but at least we have MLB baseball).

    Andrew, congratulation with your decision moving back home to Minnesota. I’d wish I was moving back home with you, but I’m love with the mountains, Seattle, and my girlfriend, Anne, who’s from Washington.

  10. Both of you have made my experience moving out here a lot easier, even if we only saw each other a handful of times it still helped my transition knowing you were also on this adventure 1,700 miles from home. Although, I am sad you are leaving I know it is the best fit. Thank you for welcoming me to the Pacific NorthWest and letting me crash everytime I came to Portland. Hopefully I will be here a little longer and you can come visit and attempt another Ducks game! Who knows where I will be in a year or two, but I know I am a better person by trying this new adventure and learning who I am.
    You will love Minneapolis. I just have one request. Go to as many twins games as possible for me!

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