Posted by womanabouttown | Posted in Lutherans, Mormons, Moving, Salt Lake City, Willmar | Posted on 26-02-2012
Tags: moving to Minnesota
Thinking back to 25 years ago, I got different reactions when I told my Salt Lake City friends that we were moving to Minnesota. My Mormon friends were not impressed. They saw Minnesota as farm country, which is uncool to city kids. They didn’t think of Minneapolis – St Paul as a metropolis. And they knew that it would be even colder in Minnesota than it is in Utah. They did understand that I would be around more Lutherans like me, which might be nice for me. Most of my school friends were Mormon, as Utah is made up mostly of Mormons, and I fit in with them OK because I was pretty straight-laced anyway. One of my friends told me “You’re a good girl, like a Mormon.” I think that my friends sometimes viewed me as an interesting specimen, their non-Mormon friend. Sometimes I would argue with them a little about religion, especially with my friend who kept trying to convert me. Looking back, I feel honored that she so wanted me to be a part of something that was so true to her.
Our Lutheran friends had a much different reaction to our moving announcement. They were envious. Lutherans in Utah see Minnesota as The Promised Land. Some of them had lived here before. They had a sparkle in their eyes as they spoke of the many lakes, the shopping, the culture, the slower pace of life, and the Scandinavian heritage. They even talked rather excitedly about the cold weather. I gained hesitant interest as I listened to them. It helped that I was a big fan of the “Prairie Home Companion” radio show, even as a teenager.
We made our move to St Anthony, a suburb of Minneapolis. Again, I got involved in church. One of my new church friends became a school friend, and she took me under her wing at school. Her friends became my friends. I noticed that Minnesotans have a pretty clever sense of humor. Did you know how funny you can be? I laughed a lot. And the Twin Cities radio stations played songs that Salt Lake City stations wouldn’t, like George Michael’s “I want your sex.” I turned up the volume when that song came on (Sorry, Mom and Dad) as a small celebration of my new, more liberal surroundings.
I have heard other transplants say that it’s hard to make friends here because everyone grew up here and already has their group of friends. I agree with that, although, even as I write that, I think that maybe that has changed a little. It’s hard to say if that change came about because of me, and my changing perspectives as I age, or if Minnesotans have become more open to change through the years. Maybe a little of both. I do think that everywhere you go, you have to work at meeting people and making friends. I have made friends in Minnesota, but I haven’t always been good at keeping in touch as I move from one job to another. That’s another thing to work on. I am, like everyone else, a work in progress.