Despite my public persona at times, I am actually a quiet person. My nature is more reserved I would say. I would rather watch and listen silently in the background than be the center of attention.
But I have never really been all that shy about my love for the southern Minnesota region. My passion and belief in this place just exudes from every part of me when I’m asked how I like living in Mankato and in Minnesota in general. You see, sometimes our winters give us a bad rap to my friends that live in more climate-friendly locations. I truly believe, actually I know, that this place is special.
Time has gone quickly for me living here this time around. I’ve been back for seven years now. But to this day when people find out I moved to Mankato, Minnesota from Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii… the first reaction remains “You moved HERE from THERE? Are you crazy?” Well, the truth is, I’m crazy about Southern Minnesota.
We’ve had the privilege of living in many areas of the country, and we have found it’s not the warmth of the climate that matters, it’s the warmth of the people. We first discovered Mankato, let’s just say “many”, years ago, when my husband Brodie and I moved here so he could attend what was then known as Mankato State University. Upon his graduation, we embarked on a life that would take us criss–crossing the country. He was an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard and that kept us on the move. And although each spot we landed never quite felt like home, we did grow to love things about each place that helped ready us for our final spot: Mankato.
We first moved to the San Francisco area. We chose to live about 50 miles north. There nestled in the valley near Napa, I learned to love wine. A couple of years later we trekked back across the country to the Washington D.C. area. There, nestled next to Quantico Marine Corps Base, I learned to love more deeply our brave service men and women, seeing first–hand the sacrifices they and their families make every day. After a few years there, we moved back across the country (I mean as far as you can go) to Hawaii. There nestled along the beach of Hawaii Kai, I learned to love the sun.
As each adventure grew, so did our family. By the time we moved to Hawaii, our family had grown to six: Two parents, two boys and two girls. As the kids grew, so did our need to “settle down.” We were drawn back to the only place that truly felt like home, Mankato. So for the last time we packed our family, our belongings and our memories, and moved.
Here nestled among neighbors and parks and schools and kindness, I have learned to love life. The good life.