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5 initial differences between Florida and Minnesota:

1.  The People. The people in Minnesota are generally nicer.  Many people are so nice it makes me want to see if there’s someone standing behind me making faces and doing funny tricks.  Those are the people who just cannot do enough for you.  It makes me rather uncomfortable, if I’m being honest.  But then there are those for whom “nice” is exchanged with “polite”.  Those people grit-their-teeth-and-smile because that is what they are supposed to do.  They are Po-lite people, dammit!

2.  The Water.  Shower water that is.  It must be what they call “soft” water because the damn soap never seems to wash off completely.  Showers take exceptionally long because you’re left standing under the stream of water just waiting to feel clean.  All in vain.  The feeling never comes and now you’ve just wasted gallons and gallons of the precious resource and all dreams of being Miss Green in Minnesota are dashed.  I haven’t stopped growing inordinately angry whenever I take a shower and am faced with the realization.  I may just have to stop showering in general.  (Also, my hair is doing just terribly here!  It’s all kinds of dry and tangled.  ::sigh::)

3.  Shorts.  No one really wears them.  My city is having their hottest summer on record and still I see people sheathed in pants and, gasp! long sleeved shirts.  They just don’t know how to deal with hot weather.  And truth be told, even the hottest days can start out in the 60s so maybe they just leave their houses early in the morning and don’t pack a change of clothes?  Being from Florida I happen to own quite a few pairs of shorts and I like to wear them.  So I walk around with my short Miami shorts and, yes, some people stare, but at least I’m comfortable.

4.  Distance perception/traffic.  Nothing is very far away – not the store, the gas station, work, local coffee house.  And the traffic, even during “rush” hour, moves along at a nice pace.  I notoriously run 5 minutes late to everything and I am able to dash across town and make all of my appointments on time, despite the self-sabotage.  (I suppose when I’ve been here longer and know the time it takes to travel places, I can reassert my trusty old patterns and start showing up late again).  But despite everything being pretty convenient, people are appalled if they have to drive across town or, heaven-forbid, to a store five miles away.  And if you live seven miles outside of town, people think you are out of your mind!  Coming from Miami where driving anywhere is an endurance event of courage, outwitting traffic patterns and carrying water bottles and snacks, this is pretty refreshing.

5.  The Terrain.  The grass here is amazing.  Green and lush and sitting on it doesn’t leave you scratching for days or with wicked ant bites.  Then there’s the change in elevation.  In Florida, the only elevation change comes from bridges.  But here there are rolling hills, steep cliffs and rocky abutments.  Not everything is at the same height, which lends a kind of playful air to things.  You can see buildings perched on hills in the distance and even see a change from the front yard of a house to the back.  I want to run the hills and become a stronger runner.

Coincidentally, Florida is the southern most state of the contiguous 48 states and Minnesota is the northern most state.  Does that mean I’ve gone from the bottom to the top?  Where do I go from here?