Friday, February 26, 2016

Moving to Minnesota!

This beautiful photo was available through m01229's flicker
This week, Owen and I decided to move to Minneapolis. The University of Minnesota English department has offered me a PhD position, which essentially means I will be paid to study and teach Shakespeare. This is a great joy. This is what I want to spend my whole life doing. This is reason enough to move, but there are many other reasons I'm excited for this new place to call home.

For my European friends: That's Minnesota.
One reason is a strangely sentimental layover from an odd chance on a new year's eve. When I was in grad school and Owen and I were still just dating I was supposed to fly out and spend the week with him and his family in Seattle. There was a blizzard in NYC, and my flight scheduled to go through JFK was cancelled, so I had to find a different flight through Minneapolis. As we landed it was a perfectly clear night and I got to see the sudden skyscrapers of the twin cities all lit and beautiful, and heard a mother from a seat behind me asking her daughter, "does it look like home?", in a comforting, midwest accent. And I was just a little overwhelmed that I was getting a glimpse of the place my parents had spent eight years of their lives. It was a 20 minute layover, but I think of it six years later with a great deal of fondness.

I can imagine you thinking, "So your parents lived there for a bit, and you have a happy memory of a layover there. What else is nice about Minneapolis? Isn't it just supposed to be super-extra cold?" I mean, yes. Yes, it is. But I like winter. I've dressed as winter at a costume party, and I grew up in Rochester, NY which has fierce winters. Not as cold as the midwest, I grant you, but cold enough to know it and miss it in the years I've been away. Yesterday it got below freezing here and I was so happy to be out biking in the snow I found myself singing out loud.

(If you're not convinced but want to look at lots of beautiful wintery pictures click here:

This happiness, (however naive) is a great thing, because Minneapolis is one of the best cities for biking in the US, even ranks internationally in top 20 lists for biking cities, even considering the fact that it has brutally cold winters! You can read about one author's incredulity on this matter here. Their extensive bike-only freeways, their financial investment in making biking safe in the city, a prospering bike-share program, and mentality that biking is normal and expected make it much safer than elsewhere in the US.

People in Minneapolis are not just bikers, they're also readers. They're regularly listed as some of the most literate of American cities, ranked number one this past year by USA Today. I don't know how much time I'll have for pleasure reading on top of my regular coursework, but it will be such a joy to be able to be inside libraries of books I can read, and be surrounded by people who care about reading. And check out the beautiful new Minneapolis Central Library!

This will be me. 
There's such a great cultural scene in the Twin Cities! So much great theater! With a fringe festival! And Music! And excellent public radio! Although I am a little crushed to be moving to Minneapolis just as Garrison Keillor may be retiring from hosting A Prairie Home Companion (a radio show I grew up with, thanks to my parents' years in MN). In case you do not yet know the sound of Keillor's voice, let me introduce you via the Writer's Almanac.

We won't leave until the summer, but wherever live takes us, be it Minnesota or beyond, I hope to (as they say on the show) be well, do good work, and keep in touch. 


  1. Oh Clara, I am SO excited for you! What wonderful news!

    1. Thank you! It's been a while coming, but I am going to visit in a little over a week and I can't wait. :)

  2. HOORAY!!! Congrats congrats congrats. I am so happy for you and just the littlest bit jealous of our classmates that get to share a city with you again :)

    1. Thank you! I'm really looking forward to making a move to somewhere where I already have friends. It's such a happy thing.

  3. What great news! I'm excited for you for this job opportunity and a move to a city you have a fond spot for. I have to ask, though, am I allowed to laugh at the fact that you list the biking thing as a positive? I'm pretty sure the first post of yours I ever read here had to do with bikes, and I suspect THAT Clara wouldn't have thought much either way about how safe a city was for cyclists!

    1. I just saw your comment not, and yes! Of course you can laugh. I laugh myself about my feelings about biking back when I started. It's been a long journey since then. :)


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