Saturday, August 20, 2011


I'm in Minnesota, sitting on my parents' deck and listening to cicadas sing. And as happens each time I come back to visit, I am asking myself why I left.

"Well there is that matter of you getting a college degree. Or two," noted my best friend, Eric.

True. And I need only turn on any of the myriad 24-hour shouting channels, formerly known as news networks, to be reminded of other reasons for going. Yesterday, driving to Eric's, I found myself stuck on the freeway behind a truck with the words, "AMERICA: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT," emblazoned across the back. I said a quiet thank you for the fact I have the option.

But still some part of my mind swoons with visions of returning, living in the Saint Paul neighbourhood I loved so much. They're getting a light rail line soon; I used to say that was the only thing missing. In the beauty of Minnesota my mind spins with visions of what my life would be like were I to return.

Conveniently, those visions assume me to be in a far higher pay scale than I am now. They magically erase my financial woes. Often they assume some sort of ridiculous shift in personality or taste ("Oh, if I lived in America again, I'd go see Kenny Chesney in concert").

As much as one part of me aches to move back to the United States, another part fights to remind me why I left.

I dislike this dichotomy, this inability to be happy in whatever skin I'm in. But, at least, for the moment I have ready access to lots of really good ice cream.


Sarah Stevenson said...

What, is there a dearth of good ice cream in Wales? Or is it just that Minnesota is so close to Wisconsin that the ice cream is exceptional?

Ah, yes, the 24-hour shouting channels. Don't forget, it's our god-given right as Americans to yell at each other until we're hoarse because, hey, free speech!

Chris Cope said...

Withe exception of American imports (i.e., Ben & Jerry's), Britain tends not to know how to make genuinely good ice cream.