I had an unexpected emotional reaction yesterday. I had just left a meeting with a friend in what I’m calling “my old neighborhood” – the part of south Minneapolis called Lyndale. I was driving up 35W North to get around the city and over to 394, which would take me to my current apartment in Saint Louis Park. I got to a stretch of the highway where the tall buildings of downtown Minneapolis are laid out in front of you: The IDS building, Foshay Tower, Wells Fargo, Campbell Mithun, Capella Tower, and the newer Grant Park apartments. My first thought was – as it often is – it’s such a small downtown. I grew up playing in Chicago and I’ve stood before the magnificent sprawl of New York City, and after those Minneapolis is a wee thing. But then a nearly overwhelming rush of love and admiration flowed through me and I realized that this city is my home.
“Now that’s silly,” you say. “You’re Biodork and your blog tagline is “Thoughts from the Big Cherry.” You’ve lived in Minneapolis for as long as we’ve known you. You’ve been in Minneapolis since 2006, and you’ve lived in Minnesota since 1997. Of course this is your home.”
(which I think is a little presumptuous and stalkerish of you, but I’m gonna let it slide.)
For a long time I haven’t allowed myself to feel at home in Minneapolis because I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of remaining in one place for the rest of my life. I had steeled myself to the necessity of moving to go back to school, or barring that, to finding a new career, joining the Peace Corps (or hey, joining up with that new-fangled Foundation Beyond Belief Humanist Service Corps), moving someplace where it doesn’t snow for up to half of each year…or a gazillion other excuses that I gave myself for not falling completely, totally, utterly in love with this amazing city.
But I’m not going back to school (of course, the U of MN is just up the street), I am happy in my career and proud of the company for which I work, living in Minneapolis doesn’t preclude taking time off to volunteer with service organizations, and I’ve lived in Minnesota long enough to learn how to deal with – and even appreciate the stark beauty of – winter in this part of the world. I’ve become passingly familiar with the art and music scenes, the foodie culture and beer snobbery, the politics, the flourishing geek community, the GLBTQ scene. I know practically every inch of every Minneapolis neighborhood, and a fair number of the suburbs. I even hear tell of a far eastern suburb called “Saint Paul” that sounds intriguing, and into which I may have stumbled during some of the many adventures I’ve had here. Every summer I look forward to playing in the abundant state parks and lakes – some of which are located right within the city, and riding my bike in a place that respects (for the most part) its biking citizens. And during all of this I’ve done these horribly inconvenient things like joining social groups, getting involved in local activist and volunteer organizations, and meeting a ton of incredibly awesome people, some of whom I consider adopted family. I blame them most for this onset of truly feeling at home. You jerks.
And I know it’s real because I had this realization while driving on an icy highway on a gray, overcast day, during which the temperature never rose above 12°F. That’s real.
And of course, these feelings didn’t happen in a void. The Hubby and I have plans to buy a house in south Minneapolis sometime in the next two years. Not a “well, we’re thinking about buying a house…” kind of thing but a home fund-having, budget-following, eye-on-the-market-keeping, real estate agent and financial counselor-consulting kind of plan. For many people, buying a house comes along with an admission of permanence: you’re planning on staying a bit.
So that’s it. I just wanted to share with everyone: I’m in love. I’m in love and I’m home and I’m planning on being here for a good long while.