This week, Lauren and I are excited to feature a new guest writer on Hotdish & Catfish: Jay Higgins. Recently, Jay penned a letter to some friends who are looking for a fresh place to call home. We chose to include this on the blog because Jay’s passion for Minnesota embodies so much of what Lauren and I love about living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Enjoy!
“When I heard you were moving, I couldn’t resist making my case for Minnesota. According to your list it sounds like you have some pretty high profile cities and I will be honest. Minneapolis has many great qualities but … I’ll also be forthright with my biases. I was born and raised here. I’ve lived two other places in my life: Whitefish, Montana and Sydney, Australia. I may have a rosy lens when it comes to my current home, but studying abroad actually solidified my love for Minnesota.
When I first arrived in Australia, I was with a friend from St. Olaf (also a fellow Minnesotan). We were situated in the international student village and surrounded by other students (though mostly Americans). Right away stereotypes kicked in, but I didn’t realize just how we were stereotyped. It was determined early on that because of the place we called home, we were deemed honest, hard working, tough, kind and fair. Once this became clear, I was flooded with two very different emotions.
First, I was extremely proud that, regardless of how these assumptions were made, people from Minnesota were viewed in such a positive light. I was also a little overwhelmed with the prospect of upholding these values. What if I didn’t live up to the hype?
So, why did I tell you that story? Personally, I think it symbolizes why people want to live here. I am well aware Minnesota is cold and does not have the same amenities as New York or California. It sounds to me like you are looking for a community. And what better place to live than a state where people embody and value traits that strengthen community? I chose Minnesota because of the people here. Not just my friends. I honestly believe that Minnesotans value the things that are, in my mind, most important in life.
Family, friends and children are at the center of our value structure. Is it cold? Absolutely (some of us enjoy that but I understand it’s not for everyone). Are there good people in other places? Sure. But do I believe Minnesota is full of people I want to be associated with? You betcha. (Sorry, had to do it). More seriously, is it a place where I want to raise my daughter and where I feel like she will be instilled with values that will make her a better person than me? Unequivocally yes.
Minnesota is different, but when it comes to the important things it really shines. I hope you find your landing spot and selfishly hope this argument helps you see Minnesota as that place.