While this blog was originally intended to reassure my family and friends that I was indeed surviving the arctic tundra of Fargo, what it turned in to was a way for me to truly experience and enjoy the place I had moved to. In the beginning, I simply wrote about what I noticed around me. The food, the weather, the language and accents, etc. Eventually however, this blog inspired me to seek out unique midwestern experiences and opportunities on my own. In fact, many of my friends who have lived in the area their entire lives have often joked how I have done more “midwestern things” than they have. What this allowed me to do was to try new things, go to new places, eat new food, and meet some of the most amazing people I have ever met. In other words, truly embrace each new experience and make the best out of what I had originally thought would be a few somewhat unpleasant years. The truth is however, even in the midst of all my midwest “adventures”, I always viewed Fargo as temporary… a filler until the next phase of my life began. Sure, I’ve had a lot of fun experiences (branding a calf, going to small town bars, driving a car on a frozen lake, and learning to make lefse and hotdish… just to name a few), but these were just supposed to keep my occupied until my inevitable escape.
And then, about six or seven months ago, it hit me. Fargo was no filler until something else began and I moved away. On the contrary, something else began when I moved to Fargo. And with that
revelation, I began to settle down and accept that the quick “get in and get out” was just not going to happen. To make that revelation even more permanent, I bought a house. No getting out of here quickly anymore. And while I don’t know that Fargo will be a forever home, especially with my family so far away, for right now I can’t imagine going anywhere else.
So, the theme of this blog has been for me to experience life in the midwest; to “Become Midwestern”. Without realizing it, the midwest seems to have creeped in and found a place in my life. And to be honest, when I do notice it, I still get a little startled. The other day for example, Blake was talking to me and without batting an eye I replied, “Oh, yeah, I suppose”. We both froze. What had I just said? Or around the 4th of July I suddenly had a hankering for strawberry rhubarb pie. I had never even known what rhubarb was before moving to the midwest, led alone baked a pie from scratch before. And while this may sound ridiculous, I honestly think I am friendlier and just all around like people more since moving here.
You see, I think I accidentally have become somewhat midwestern. Though I will never lose the other parts of me, squished in between my east coast driver and lover of Old Bay seasoning, and my west coast need for elevation and green trees, is the midwestern me: a hotdish-making, lake-loving, snow-driving, sandbag-filling, festival-going me. And though I now have this additional piece to me, don’t expect me to suddenly embrace negative temperatures, shoveling snow, or lutefisk.
And with that, I think it is time to close this chapter of my life. I thank everyone who has so loyally followed my blog over the past few years. I have made connections with many of you that I have never even met in person and I do believe you all have helped to contribute to my shift in mindset about staying put in Fargo for a while. But when it is time to stop something and move on, you just know. After all, I think I achieved and actually surpassed what I set out to do. I actually became midwestern.
Hailey (Adkisson) Goplen