I just got my first taste of winter here in Minneapolis with 16” of snow yesterday and temperatures in the teens today! And of course there is no snow day; we are expected to get to where we need to be! So with such cold temperatures today, I faced the Minnesota Ice. But I didn’t drive the car today! I took the public bus to my appointments and to my office. I know there will be more of the Minnesota Ice since it’s only December. I have some good boots on order and I will be dressing in layers.
But there’s another kind of apparent cold out here that I need to figure out. I had been told that there’s this cultural phenomenon described as “Minnesota Nice.” Here’s the popular Wikipedia definition, and here’s a more scholarly analysis of the behavior. None of this sits well with a native New Yorker! We New Yorkers have long had a reputation for speaking our minds and not backing down from confrontation. Here’s a nice explanation of a NYC attitude.
So, as you might imagine, I wasn’t feeling this Minnesota Nice thing! Yet being a man who has felt called to cross-cultural ministry here in the USA, I am wiling to try. I will do my best to embrace the cultural differences. I am hoping that my NY attitude (tempered by nearly 18 years in DC) will not alienate the lovely people that I am meeting here in Minnesota, but I am also hoping that cultural customs will not prevent us from “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). My wife and I hope to entertain more in our home, as we did in Brooklyn, NY and Washington, DC. Maybe some potluck dinners will help thaw the ice.
Being the “new kid” has been tough in many ways, but it’s only been a bit over 6 months. Who knows? Maybe before long I’ll be cross-country skiing and possibly even ice fishing! (Not!)