I Am Minnesotan To A Fault

As you all know, or should know, is that I was raised in Minnesota.  My parents were both farm kids on opposite ends of the state; my mother was raised on a large farm in a small town about 40 miles outside of Fargo, ND, while my father was raised in a little town just outside of Lindstrom, MN, ten minutes from Wisconsin.

While I was raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis, we always had a very heavy farm influence in our lives.  Growing up I would ride in my Grandpa’s tractor or combine, and other times I would help my grandma with getting eggs out of the chicken coop.  We always had corn fresh picked, and everything we ate would stick to your thighs for twenty years.  I always try to work hard in everything that I do, whether or not I like it.  I drink coffee, I think everything should be cooked in a crock pot, and potatoes go with every meal.  I like to garden, but only food staples.  Flower gardening has never gone well for me.  I stretch my vowels to the point of murdering them, and whenever I have a guest in my home, I always try to offer food and beverage.  Whenever I visit someone else’s home, especially overnight, I always try to bring a dessert of some kind or even bake something.

Basically, I am a Norwegian-Minnesotan to my very core.  I am Midwestern in everything that I do… except I’m chatty.  Not a lot of chatty folk in Minnesota.

Now, my husband, was raised on both coasts.  Primarily an East Coaster, with a grandma who’s a Buddhist and his other grandmother living in New York City, you can imagine that many of our arguments are primarily cultural differences.  I would even say we speak vastly different dialects.

My best example is my use of, “That’s different.” Those in the south have something similar, but it’s actually “Bless Your Heart.”

Minnesotans have this horrible habit of being ridiculously passive aggressive, otherwise known as Minnesota Nice.  I have this lovely talent that nobody knows if I hate them, which is kind of a curse because I’ll have people say we’re besties when half the time I can hardly tolerate them.  However, my real “besties” know who they are and I tend to be a little more up front with them.

Sorry, I’m getting off topic.

When Alex and I were first dating and first married, I was very much a creature of habit in my cooking.  Everything I cooked would use only a little salt to taste, potatoes and cream of mushroom soup in everything, and it was all very heavy food.  Alex, on the other hand, being raised by a hippy*, whenever he would cook there would be lots of seasoning, lots of fresh veggies on the plate, and hardly ever starches.

Whenever he’d ask me my opinion, I would always respond, “Well, it’s different.”

In Minnesota, if you say something is different, it has a few different meanings.

  1. “This is horribly disgusting.  If you feed this to me again I will defecate in your morning coffee.”
  2. “That is really, really weird and I hope that you never give this to me again.”
  3. “Why the hell are you serving me this weird ass food?  Why would anyone eat this?  What the fuck is kale?”
  4. Or, if you’re my mom, “Hmm, nobody else would wear something like this and it’s flattering on my body type, I give it a 5/10.”

Alex was unaware of this.  He thought that I thought it was a little weird, so he would continue to make it and add different tweaks.

Every single time, I would eat it and say the same thing, “Well, it’s different.”

When we decided to make a trip to Minnesota for the first time together, we had been married nearly two years, and we were taking a full eight days to see family and friends all over.  My brother, who is probably one of the funniest people I have ever encountered in my entire existence, decided to send Alex a book titled How To Talk Minnesotan.

Hilarious Because It's True

Hilarious Because It’s True

The very first chapter of the book discusses the three most common phrases in Minnesota: You Bet, That’s Different, and Whatever.

I remember Alex reading it, and after finishing the first chapter running over to me, demanding to know why I never explained, “That’s Different,” to him.

Honestly, I had thought it was universal.  We got into a fight over how I never explain what I mean and that when I talk, I’m far too vague.  After he finished reading the book, he realized just how much of a bitch I really am.

He even said to me, “I always thought you were just really neutral on everything.  Now I realize that you’re probably the bitchiest person I know.”

But I’m always nice about it, Because I’m Ridiculously Midwestern.

 

*My mother in law is a very nice woman, but she was a vegan for a while and from what Alex has told me, a lot of their living was from large gardens, she doesn’t kill the bugs in the house, she does compost, just… you know, hippy stuff.  Nothing wrong with it at all, just when he first told me about that I was like “There are actual hippies? AWESOME!”

 

Ever have any issues with dialect differences when going to different parts of the country?  Ever say something and someone took it the wrong way?  Let me know in the comments, I want to hear your horribly awkward situations.

Want to learn more about the hilarious dialect that is Minnesota?

The Book: http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Minnesotan-Revised-Century/dp/014312269X/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1DMQNGZVVBVQPA93ZM9R

The Movie Based On The Book (Don’t Worry, It’s Free To Watch Online): http://www.mnvideovault.org/mvvPlayer/customPlaylist2.php?id=15512&select_index=&popup=yes#0

Random Article Showing How Eccentric We are: http://www.buzzfeed.com/katieheaney/31-things-only-minnesotans-will-understand

Some Hilarious Youtube Videos about Minnesotans:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OymMl734Ews –Radio Talk show Host doing his Shit Minnesotans Say

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-wx11l3nr4 –Showing the passive aggressiveness of Minnesotans

 

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His Name Was Arthur

About a week after moving in to my house here in Louisiana, I was out in my yard taking out the dogs so they could do their business.  It was around 100 degrees and since I had been living in Alaska for five years prior to this, I was basically glowing.  Not glowing as in “oh, so pretty,” I mean I was glowing as in I looked radioactive because of how the sun was bouncing off my skin.  Seriously, Alex had to look at me with sun glasses because I hurt his eyes.

It was ridiculous.

Anyway, when I was out,  my neighbor, who scraps metal for a living, was in his yard with his friend doing his scrap  metal thing.  He came over to the fence, where I walked over and introduced myself.

“Hey there, I’m Leah.  We just moved here from Alaska,” I tell him, and he smiled.

“Nice ta’ meetcha.  I’m Ah-tha.”

This was my first interaction with a true southerner.  His accent was so thick I was barely able to make out the “Nice ta’ meetcha.”  I was seriously at a loss for words.

“Uh.. What?”

He clears his throat.  “I’m Ah-tha.  My name is Ah-tha.”

I could tell he was trying to clear his southern accent, but I seriously could not understand what he was saying.  I felt like I was being really rude.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” I ask him, trying to speak as clearly as I can.

He gives me a weird look, and repeats what he said.  “I’m Ah-tha.”

After a few more times of me saying “I’m sorry, I can’t understand you,” his friend finally stands up, in a perfectly clear accent, and says this.

“HE SAID HIS NAME IS ARTHUR!”

My face, in a nutshell.

My face, in a nutshell.

Never, in a million years, would I have guessed that’s what he was saying.

And that was the last time I ever talked to my neighbor.