There are many challenges to converting to “Minnesotan” but one of the biggest has been learning new vocabulary in addition to toning down the NY accent. It doesn’t always work, especially when I’m excited or mad. People often ask me to repeat “coffee” (pronounced cawfee), “walk” (pronounced wauk) and other Archie Bunkerisms and really get a kick out of it. I enjoy providing the entertainment but I’m definitely a one-trick pony.
Vocabulary-wise, I’ve had to figure out that “hot dishes” are what I know as casseroles, “bars” are really square shaped cookies or brownies and that “dinner” is really lunch. My husband and I would often get into weird “who’s on first, who’s on second” conversations when I tell him what I’m making for dinner. He shows up at lunch expecting a 3 course meal and ends up getting a sad little sandwich. But, he’s had to adjust a lot too. He’s been a straight up meat and potatoes guy his entire life and now has a wife that uses onions, peppers and garlic as a garnish. The fact that I can make a good Italian cheesecake hopefully makes up for my enthusiasm for oregano.
I had no idea what an “Open house” celebration is here in rural Minnesota. I kept seeing them in the local paper and finally had to know. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around it. You mean you actually post an open invitation in the newspaper for your party?! Imagine if I had an “open house” celebration in NY. The entire Long Island Expressway would be backed up to my house with people I could never hope to meet in one lifetime ready to eat us out of house and home! I’ve been to several “open house” parties and they are warm, welcoming and entirely population manageable and that’s wonderful to see. Only in Minnesota. That’s what makes this place so special.
Best of all, besides learning some new vocabulary and social norms, I’m slowing becoming acclimated to using farm equipment. By slowly, I mean, s-l-o-w-l-y. I can now use a rider mower, drive plow and rake hay. The fact that I drove my husband’s tractor sideways into a drainage ditch and needed five neighbors to help us pull it out only goes to show that there is always a learning curve! Yeah, I felt really bad about that. God love him, he wasn’t even mad at me.