You know how they say all good stories have a beginning, middle, and an end? I’m not quite sure if I’ll ever feel like I’ve gotten to the middle or even less likely, the end, of this project, but how about I give you three different beginnings instead? My inspiration to start this blog had several starting points:
1. The real “a-ha moment,” in every sense of that phrase
I was riding on the bus today, coming home from The Wedge Co-Op, my local grocery store, after having picked up some ingredients to make banana brown-sugar ice cream. These are the kinds of details I feel people remember when they’re starting something HUGELY PROMISING, like how I feel about this blog. Anyway, I got the recipe for that delectable sounding ice cream from David Leibovitz‘s blog where he posts recipes (mainly ice cream) and about his life in France. Interesting life, I thought, making ice cream, eating ice cream, living in France, and writing about it. He even has a book that’s essentially the same thing (except that I don’t think he was living in France when he wrote it). In addition to making ice cream in my spare time, I’m also reading The Lost Girls, a travel memoir about three girls who give up their jobs, boyfriends, family, and homes to travel around the world for a year. And then they just came home and wrote about it. Well, it was probably more challenging than I’m making it out to be, but then I thought to myself, “Hey! These people have interesting lives and people are interested in hearing about what their lives are like! I just need to come up with a cool angle for what I do everyday.” Unfortunately I don’t travel around the world or gorge on Parisian ice cream. But my angle is that I live in Minneapolis, and I’m not originally from ’round these parts. That’s gotta make for some interesting stories and/or drama, right???
2. The poetic, introspective self-reflection moment
Lately, I’ve been feeling a little lost myself (hence the reading of The Lost Girls) because I’ve been living in an unfamiliar city for 2 years now (since August 2009) and it just doesn’t quite feel like home to me (yet?). While many of my friends have steady jobs and are buying homes, getting married or at least entering serious stable relationships, getting pets, etc., I’m still living like a student. Sure, I live like a really nice student in a ritzy high-rise downtown, but I’m a student nonetheless. I don’t even own a plant, the most “easy” of living things to take care relative to puppies, hamsters, or babies, because my life just feels so transitory and temporary. Recently, another graduate student referred to this lifestyle in more romantic terms as the “untethered lifestyle.” That sounds better and less “judge-y” than transitory and temporary, so I decided to run with it. His advice: Don’t have all the trappings of the untethered lifestyle if you don’t actually live the untethered lifestyle. Translation: go out and do and experience all the things this city and this state have to offer. After all, I’m hoping to only be here 5 years total to finish my PhD program, which only gives me 3 more years to find all the gems of the city. Perhaps I’d be better at finding all those opportunities for civic exploration if I had some motivation to document and write about it. Sort of like Rachel McAdams in “Julie & Julia.”
3. The practical aspect of blogging
In case you haven’t stumbled over to the “About” page yet AND you also skimmed the above point, I’m a graduate student. That means a majority of my job is writing, and boring, scientific writing at that. BUT, we get better at reading by reading and better at writing by writing. Practice makes perfect after all, and this blog will hopefully be a creative outlet for me to practice fun writing in a (hopefully) noncritical environment. It’s like the writing version of my chick lit reading after heavy textbook reading.
Ok, so now that you know where I’m coming from on this project, let’s talk about what this blog is. I’m going to write about all the stuff I do here in the cities and surrounding areas in the offchance that I get some time to actually go to surrounding areas. Typical day-to-day stuff that a non-native Minnesotan might do. That might involve cooking food and posting a recipe. Perhaps it will be visiting a new store or restaurant and writing a review of it. There might be occasional musings on what these crazy Midwesterners do or think. I just upgraded my iPhone, so there will likely be pictures as well.
This blog is NOT a place to talk about specific topics or provide advice or watered-down scientific research. If you’re interested in that kind of stuff, I’ve got other blogs out there in cyberspace (here, here, and here) that accomplish those things. However, I stopped writing in all of those blogs eventually because it got too tiresome to think of new stuff to write about on the same exact topic. I felt too much pressure to be inventive and creative and finish posts in a nightly or weekly manner. So, in an effort to shake things up, this blog is also NOT a place where deadlines are enforced. Some days I may post more than once a day (like in the first few days of starting this up – got some steam rolling this project along!). Other times I might go weeks without posting (hello mid-terms). But, I’ll try to be as consistent as possible and give you a view of what it’s like being the new kid in one of the greatest American cities.