Before deciding to go to Carlson, everyone warned me about the Minnesota winter.
"Nonsense!" I thought. For you see, Washington DC, my home for 3+ years, had been its usual hot mess that summer. I WANTED some cold in my life. I would take anything other than temperatures in the 90s and 100% humidity. The Minnesota winter sounded like an oasis. No more sweating because of the heat! No more sweating because of all the people on the metro! No more sweating because I was embarrassed by sweating!
Well, I chose Carlson-and promptly got my wish for cold. This year's winter has been the coldest since 1984. My car doors have frozen over. I have bought increasingly thicker hats before settling on this monstrosity (warm, but its pretty ugly). And every time I walk outside, I curse up a storm after being exposed to the frigid air.
Normally, in these conditions, I'd write off the winter and dedicate my life to the great indoors. But that doesn't work here. Needing to see the sun, many people here embrace the winter and outdoor events. And I, also needing to see the sun, decided to follow their example.
First up was the Twin Cities Snowshoe Shuffle, which involved 5 kilometers of hot snowshoe action. I learned to walk in snowshoes, travelled over a frozen lake, and realized that I was a bit out of shape. I was inspired by my friend and fellow full-timer Janice who seemingly never wobbled in her snowshoes and got stronger as time went on (I fell, of course, and got tangled up in my shoes a dozen times). Overall, it was a fantastic, yet humbling, experience.
Second was the St. Paul Winter Carnival, a collection of events spread throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul for two weeks. I was particularly interested in the ice sculptures, which lived up to expectations. I mean-they had a stegosaurus. You're never too old for a good stegosaurus.
Third: well, I don't know yet. Cross-country skiing? Maybe a trip to the Depot Rink for ice-skating? There's a lot to learn about the Twin Cities and its people, and I'm realizing that perhaps I've made a few assumptions about my new home.
But look-I won't lie. The winter here can be hard sometimes. I'm tired of the snow and ice and wind and the WARNING: WIND CHILL alerts that appear on my phone. But I'm surviving. I'm getting a little bit tougher. I have an impressive collection of hats. And perhaps most importantly, I'm still having fun-and not sweating nearly as much.