It would seem I am experiencing a case of culture shock, when only moving an hour away from my previous home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In my two weeks of living here, here is what stood out to me so far.
- The Twin Cities may be twins, but they are not identical.
- In fact, there might be some sibling rivalry between the two. Minneapolis tends to “always get everything,” with more urban restaurants, concerts, nightlife, arts and shopping. St. Paul, on the other hand, is the older, more grown-up city, with a residential, community feel and a lot of smaller, local businesses. I always sort of lumped the two together, however now that I work in St. Paul and visit friends in Minneapolis, I see a clear distinction.
- Perhaps this is the more Illinois-side of me, where I can admit guilt of having a lead foot. But people drive differently here. What is considered speedy in Minnesota isn’t exactly left-lane material in my eyes.
- Traffic. When I have to leave an hour before a meeting, even though my destination is only 15 minutes away. Ugh.
- Driving alongside bikers. Minneapolis is the best city to be an urban bicyclist in the country. Now it’s just getting used to sharing a road with them, when previously, I did not have to.
- Better selection of music.
- Finally, a variety of radio stations to listen to. Something other than top 40’s or county. 89.3 The Current is what keeps me from going bonkers during rush hour.
- Caribou > Starbucks.
- In fact, I actually just learned this, but Minnesota is the birthplace of Caribou Coffee and Dunn Brothers Coffee. So there is a little less of Starbucks in this neck of the woods. Sad times for a Team Starbucks gal!
- Don’t underestimate the popularity of the craft beer scene.
- I knew it was a popular trend in the country, but Minnesota is really in on this trend. I noticed a lot of people I meet here are self-proclaimed “beer connoisseurs.” I went on a date with a guy in St. Paul who could write a novel on what makes a good IPA. The majority of restaurants I’ve been to in the cities prides themselves on their selection of locally made brews. Not only am I meeting friends out at restaurants, coffee shops and bars, but breweries as well.
- If you’re a Blackhawks fan, you’re by yourself.
- Originally from Illinois, I got into the habit of rooting for Chicago teams. It’s bad enough I support rival teams in enemy territory, but to cheer for an especially familiar foe of theirs in the state of hockey, itself? Not acceptable.
- You have to buy liquor at liquor stores.
- It didn’t truly hit me I no longer live in Wisconsin, the nation’s top binge-drinking state, until without thinking, I tried purchasing beer at a gas station. No worries, I thought. The grocery store is right down the corner. Also unsuccessful. It would seem the laws are a bit more strict here. Turns out, you cannot purchase alcohol on Sundays either.
Oh Toto, we’re not in Wisconsin anymore.