Monday, December 16, 2013
The other day I was chatting with a friend about something related to work. I was talking about my approach to something or other, and she said to me, “Yeah, that’s because you’re from the midwest. Midwestern work ethic.”
Ever since that conversation, I’ve been thinking about my Midwestern sensibilities. Although I haven’t lived in Minnesota full-time in over a decade, I think Midwestern is not something you can easily shake. I will always be a Midwesterner at heart. Always, always, always.
In addition to my work ethic, one of the sensibilities I have engrained to my core is fierce loyalty. I am tough to win over, and I admit I have extremely high standards, but once I'm on your side, I will always and forever be loyal.
I’m not the type to follow college sports or join a sorority or be involved in my alumni association, yet, I will always be fiercely, absolutely fiercely, loyal to the U, my undergraduate alma mater. (I think this goes without saying, but unless you’re from Minnesota, the U probably means something different to you. For Andrew, it means the University of Utah. But all of us in the know know that it means the University of Minnesota.thank.you.very.much!) Rah, rah, rah for ski-u-mah!
When I was teaching in France, I taught my students our fight song, the Minnesota Rouser, and they loved it. Imagine a bunch of twelve years olds wandering around the streets of a tiny town in the southern Alps with the Rouser stuck in their heads. Heart melting! My oldest friend Rosie and I took every opportunity that year to sing the Rouser when we got homesick. She didn't even go to the U as an undergrad, and although she went there for grad school, I don't think she had ever attended at the time. We even sung the Rouser at our wedding reception, much to the surprise of Andrew's family.
I’m loyal to all things Minnesota really, but my favorites are the U, of course, and the Minnesota State Fair, the best in the nation, and Northeast Minneapolis, the best urban neighborhood in the country, and the Grand Rounds, the world’s longest urban parkway and the best darn walk anyone could ever take.
I know I'm not alone. We Midwesterners seem to be a loyal people.