Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Need Snowboots and Sunscreen

"So, where are you from?" This is one of the most frequent questions a traveler will hear. Whether it's in the hostel, at the bar, or out on the streets, people you meet will inevitably want to know. After years of answering "Minnesota!" I've learned that there are some pretty hefty stereotypes of my home state floating around out there. Most of them have to do with our climate. You wouldn't believe how many people think we have winter year round. Or maybe you would, if you happen to be one of those people! Well, I'm here to dispel this nasty rumor once and for all. Minnesota does indeed have summer (and spring and fall), and we're currently enjoying a particularly spectacular one.

Ok, I'll admit that it gets cold here. Very cold. We usually make the national weather report when it gets down to 20, 30 or even 40 below zero Fahrenheit in some parts of the state, which is probably one of the sources of the misconception. Your average viewer's reasoning would go something like this: If it's 40 below in the winter, how could ever be warm any other time of the year? There's also the fact that Minnesotans like to brag about the cold and their ability to survive it with flying colors. Ha! Look at those people in the south. They get two flakes of snow and the whole town shuts down. We get two feet of snow plus sub-zero temperatures the next day and we still make it to work on time! We might be proud, but, unfortunately, it means that we're also misunderstood.

The winters may be cold and long, but the summers are glorious. The mercury regularly hovers in the 80s, the skies are a bright, sparkling blue, and our vast supply of lakes and trees and open spaces in general allow Minnesotans emerging from hibernation to enjoy nature in all her glory. Just the other day I went down to my favorite Minneapolis lake to take in some sun and a cool lake breeze. I wasn't the only one who thought this would be a good way to spend an afternoon of 85 and sunny. For a weekday afternoon, there were a fair amount of people. So no, we don't have winter all year long...but just in case that ever happens, we like to enjoy every second of summer we can.


Melina said...

The weather here, as usual, is a just a tad too cold for August, white/grey skies, and a definite chance of rain as I try to get home from work..I'd take the freezing winter for a nice, warm, sunnny summer any day!

Tanya said...

I know! That's just it, we suffer in the winter (well, not everybody, some people here absolutely love the cold and snow) but then the summers are generally amazing. When I left Paris it felt like fall already :-(

Christine Gilbert said...

Oh winter, how I will never suffer you again.

Sounds like you're enjoying being home!

Tanya said...

Christine: I think you've got the right idea. Just travel around avoiding winter :-) A fair number of Minnesotans have summer homes in Arizona or Florida for that very reason.