Over the years, people have asked me what it is like to live in Minnesota. I usually tell them that it is a boring and extremely cold state. Most Taiwanese are used to the metropolitan lifestyle and tropical to subtropical weather to be able to imagine living in a state with winter as long as 7 months and downtown activity that dies down around 5pm.
If you truly like winter and winter sports such as downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snow-sledding, snow-tubing, snow-shoeing, snowmobiling, ice-fishing, ice-skating, snow-sculpting, dog-sledding, glacier walking, playing ice hockey, sleigh riding, building snow forts or snowmen, and making snow angels, or if you always want to have a white Christmas, you might find Minnesota a paradise like my son. My son, who was born in winter, wishes that it snows every day. He is a true winter boy. His mom sure picks the right place for him to live. Minnesota winters are tedious and cold. However, nothing shuts down even when snow storms strike. Temperatures well below freezing are just run-of-the-mill. You may see snow as early as in October and as late as in April. If you cannot endure 7 months of winter, the below zero degree temperature with windchill factor and the constant snow storms, Minnesota is not the place for you. I don’t think that you can stand hibernating for over half of the year.
So far in this winter, we have had seven snow storms. We had eight inches of snow on November, 13, 2010 (Saturday), three inches of snow on November 24, 2010 (Wednesday), ten inches of snow on November 29, 2010 (Monday), eight inches of snow on December 3, 2010 (Friday), twenty inches of snow on December 11, 2010 (Saturday), six inches snow on December 16, 2010 (Thursday) and eight inches of snow on December 20, 2010 (Monday). Most of the snow storms occurred during the weekend, so it is not too much of a chaos or hassle. This Monday’s snow storm was a bit worse as it hit the drivers during rush hours. Some took 3 hours for a regular half an hour drive. MnDOT and the suburb cities did a pretty good job for the December 13’s snow storm which fell during the weekend but were late to clear the streets for this Monday’s snow storm because of the fast falling snow. Talking about snow storms, the snow storm on December 11, 2010 was the fifth largest snow storm in the history of Minnesota and it actually caused the collapse of the Metrodome and the cancellation of a game between the MN Vikings and the NY Giants. Can you imagine the building collapsing because of the heavy snow? Can you also imagine close to 30 inches of snow dumped in a day? That happened in the 1991 Halloween, which was the biggest snow storm in Minnesota’s history. Since I have lived in this state for almost twenty years, I am so used to the snow storms to be oblivious to most. By the way, it is crucial to have either snow tires or snow chains for your cars to drive in Minnesota in the winter. The road can get very slippery and your car will skid easily into ditches. Before we bought the snow tires, I had an experience with my car skidding all the way into a snow bank in our neighborhood. Luckily, my ex-neighbor had snow chains on his tires and was able to pull my car out of the snow bank.
So what about other season? You get only one month of spring in May and one month of autumn in September. They are the best seasons of all, but too short. Minnesota is a land of the extremes. Summers can be extremely hot and humid. I am glad that we only have three months of summer. Rather than in winter, I usually hibernate in the summer. I cannot stand the heat and the humidity and especially the state birds. Do you know what our state birds are? They are mosquitoes. Have you heard of Minnesota being a land of ten thousand lakes? Now imagine all these pools of water, a perfect breeding ground for the mosquitoes. In addition to the heat and humidity, tornado season also peaks in the summer. It can start as early as in March, but rarely.
If you like lake activities such as fishing, sailing, lake cruising, kayaking the Boundary Waters, you would love living in Minnesota. We do have sand beaches near the lakes. The upside or downside of it is that you don’t smell the scent of an ocean. I do cruise on the lakes occasionally, mostly for company events. I don’t own a kayak or a boat. I don’t really like lakes. I prefer oceans. I like the smell of the ocean. I like to eat ocean fish. Minnesota’s landscape can be dull as there are no mountains, only plains. What can you expect living in the Midwest? I think that family life and tranquility is what we look for. We live near a nature preserve park with lots of animals surrounding us. That is why I am drawn to Minnesota in addition to the bitter cold. Oh, we do have the biggest mall in America.
Written by Elisa English
On 12/22/2010 in Minneapolis