Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Arizona Girl’s Take on Minnesota: Guest Post by Lindsay Harrel

This week I'm on a deadline, so my good writing friend Lindsay Harrel agreed to do a guest blog post for my Friday Fun: Minnesota Style Series! She and I were roommates together at ACFW in Texas and then again last weekend at the MBT Storycrafter's Retreat in Otsego, Minnesota. Thanks for visiting my blog home, Lindsay!
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Lindsay and I in Minnesota

This last weekend, I visited Minnesota for the first time.

I was attending a writer’s retreat and Gabe was kind enough to drive to the airport (totally out of her way!) to come pick me up. I was afraid I’d have to rent a car and potentially get lost.

Now, I’m an Arizona girl. I live in Phoenix. Yeah, that Phoenix. The one that hits about 117 in the middle of July.

So naturally, since Minnesota was so foreign to me, I had a few…misconceptions before I came.

I didn’t freeze.
I was pretty sure I was going to freeze my rear off. I brought the warmest thing I had and was just sure it wasn’t going to be enough. Despite the picture below, it wasn’t too bad. Well, sure, the wind sliced through me a few times, but it felt much like a January evening in Phoenix.

Okay, I’ll admit it. I WAS cold, but I didn’t freeze. So there.

People don’t really go around saying “You betcha” and “Donchaknow.”
Up until I met Gabe, my only knowledge of Minnesotans came from the awesome cartoon Bobby’s World. My little brother loved that show. Anyone remember it? Anyway, the mom ALWAYS said the aforementioned phrases in this extreme accent.

Although I will say, I smiled when I heard Gabe say “beg”—and no, I don’t mean what people do on street corners. Hehe. (No offense meant to at all. I’m sure I say things “wrong” too. Don’t we all?)

A circular body of water is not necessarily a lake.
Minnesota is supposed to be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, right?

Well, apparently a round body of water does not a lake make. Er…or something like that. As Gabe drove us to the retreat hotel, we passed some water. And I said, “Oh cool, is that a lake?” Gabe laughed and said it was more like a pond, if that.

What?! Don’t judge. The only lake near me is man made. LOL. 

So yeah, my visit to Minnesota cleared up a few misconceptions I had. In all seriousness, it was a really great visit and I was sorry to see it end so quickly!

Your Turn: Have you ever been to Minnesota? Have you had any of these misconceptions or known anyone who has?

Since the age of six, when she wrote the riveting tale “How to Eat Mud Pie,” Lindsay Harrel has passionately engaged the written word as a reader, writer, and editor. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and an M.A. in English. In her current day job as a curriculum editor for a local university, Lindsay helps others improve their work and hones her skills for her night job—writing inspirational contemporary fiction. Lindsay lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband of five years and two golden retriever puppies in serious need of training.

Twitter: @Lindsay Harrel:


  1. Thanks for guest posting, Lindsay! It was my pleasure to go out of my way to pick you up at the airport - I'll do it anytime. :) And, to clarify, when I said "beg" I was saying "bag" as in the thing you use to carry items - it turns out we say it wrong in Minnesota - who knew? And, I can confidently tell you I've never said "you betcha" and "donchaknow" in a conversation. I'm so happy I could clarify these misconceptions about the beautiful state of Minnesota for you! :) Thanks, again, you're an awesome roommate and friend!

  2. Yay! I love it. I have family in MN so I had an idea of what to expect. (My dad's from the great, frozen north state.) But I'm pretty sure my relatives say "you betcha." And about the 10,000 lakes--I have a theory that MN is an island, like an iceberg floating on water. ;)

  3. Love the freezing pic. So cute! Glad you had such a great time.

    I've never been to MN. I totally had the "you betcha" and "donchaknow" misconceptions. Thanks for setting me straight. :0)

  4. I've never been to Minnesota. My first thought would be that this California gal would get mighty chilly, especially in the winter.

  5. My tale went a little the opposite. We moved from Michigan to Montana (the eastern side which resembles Arizona). The residents were elated to show us It was no more than an overgrown puddle...from my perspective. I gave my kids the evil eye to insure they didn't laugh.
    Michigan, though cannot hold a candle to the very wide sky found only in desert areas. A tremendous beauty of its own. Great article Lindsay.

  6. Ha! Fun post - glad you two got to meet up, dontchaknow? This reminds me of that fun Harry Connick Jr. and Renee Zellweger movie, New in Town. Loved it.

    Blessings to you both!

  7. Haha, um, since I live in a state that touches Minnesota, I've been there tons. I've got relatives from Minnesota and half my college friends were from, for a few years I lived in a town that was only forty-five minutes or so from the border between MN and IA. Soooo...I honestly don't think I have any misconceptions about the state. Or maybe I've just too busy razzing people about their misconceptions of MY state. We grow corn, not potatoes, people!! Hehehe...

    Yay for Linds and Gave in one blog. Love ya, girls!

  8. I've never been to Minnesota, but I love that cute little accent that I've heard on the movie, New In Town. Very cute!

    Lindsay and Gabrielle, it was soooo good to meet both of you at ACFW this year. Two beautiful women oozing God's spirit! I love it!

  9. LOL! I've never been, but I always assume it's freezing too! :)

  10. As tourism director, for over 22 years, in Little Falls, I had the opportunity to meet many people from out-of-state. My most memorable story is about several couples from California. They wanted a vacation in Minnesota, during January, to ice fish on Mille Lacs Lake. Mille Lacs Lake is more than a pond – in most areas you cannot see across the lake. When it freezes, it becomes a small city of little houses (ice fishing houses) – some of these ice fishing houses are pretty elaborate and people can cook, lounge, party and sleep in them. Their first night in the “ice house” the temperatures dropped to 15 degrees below zero – they heard if the temperature drops below zero that your skin can fall off while being outside. They wrapped their bodies from head to toe (couldn’t see any skin, including faces) and they (women) ran screaming to their vehicles expecting the worst. After recovering from the sight, I explained that an individual would have to be outside for an extended length of time before anything would freeze or get frostbite, but would take an extreme case of frostbite for anything to fall off. Minnesota has a huge difference in temperatures, anywhere from below zero to over a hundred degrees - we have four very distinct seasons, each as beautiful as the next. I hope you can come back to Minnesota again Lindsey - we'd love to show you Little Falls, especially in the Spring, my favorite season.

  11. So glad you visited one of my favorite Mid Western neighboring states! YOU BETCHA! :) Glad you had fun -- just bummed you were so close and I missed you.

  12. Gabe, thanks so much for having me here! And thanks for clarifying what you mean when you say, “beg.” I was so confused. Hehe.

    Halee, I’m glad you were more prepared to visit than me. And interesting that there ARE some people that say “you betcha.” That’s how generalizations happen sometimes…eh?

    Susan, you’re welcome. LOL.

    Keli, you’re a bit more used to rain and a bit colder weather than me, so if I didn’t freeze (at least this time of year), you might not. However, it did snow this week, just after I left. Pretty sure I woulda freaked out. Ha.

    Mary, that’s awesome. And hilarious. You’d probably laugh at the manmade lake near me.

    Becky, that was one of my only exposures to Minnesota before coming. ;)

    Mel, no potatoes? What?! I’m shocked. LOL. So glad you could be there with me for my first visit to MN.

    Sherrinda, really the accent isn’t that strong for everyone. It’s just on a few words that sound “wrong” to my ears (like Gabe’s “beg”, hehe). Of course, like I said, they probably think I say things wrong! I probably sound kinda West coast, I imagine.

    Jess, doesn’t it get a bit cold down where you are?

    Nana, I’d love to come back as well!! I’m hoping to visit potentially this summer. I’ve heard there’s lots to do outside, whereas once it hits about mid-June in Phoenix, you stay inside unless you’re in the pool!

    Jaime, my only consolation is that I got to see you the week before. Hehe.


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