It has been almost 2 years after I made the first trip to Minnesota. With the old saying “good memories worth sharing”, there are some things that can be washed away as time goes by; but others can only become stronger after being processed in time.
That was an “unplanned” trip, because I was supposed to fly back to China right after the semester ended, but after experiencing several detours, I decided to continue my study as an international student, but that was already to late to book a cheap flight to go home, my visa status didn’t permit me to do off-campus internship either. A mid-summer trip sounded like the best option to get away from the boring summer campus.
While most of my old friends were still in China, Minnesota became the only place I could possibly find some connections, so I went, and it was one of those memories that like nothing else! Thank you Randy & Lisa who made my stay memorable and unique!
Among all these fresh-new experiences, here are my top 10 picks :
1.The moments spent in the cabin by Ottertail. This is a typical summer morning by Ottertail. It was the first time for me to see a sunrise by such big lake, it was definitely amazing! Praise the Lord!
2. An unexpected meeting with Mr. Peanut. Holy moly! I have never such a giant nut-mobile!!
3. Step into Mississippi headwaters. From my high school GEO class, I already known that Mississippi River is one of the major river systems in North America. But this time, I got the chance to be there and see it with my own eyes! (Just for comparison, the photo on the right was take near Memphis, TN. How wide has it become when flowing from MN to TN!)
4. Watch fireworks on the evening of Fourth of July. While I were in China, firework is almost everywhere. But in states, it only shoots fireworks in certain occasions, “I kinda miss seeing that stuff now”
5. Got a taste of Minnesota State Fair. That was so far my first and only experience at a state fair. “everything on a stick” concludes it all. I loved seeing these Peanuts statues on the fair ground. One of my favorite characters.
6. Went to see the Cherry Spoon Bridge. Whenever I google for downtown Minneapolis images, Cherry Spoon Bridge is usually the first one that comes out. This is such a beautiful and unique sculpture!
7. Visit Mall of America and was thrown a early Birthday surprise. This was such an unplanned birthday surprise! The visit at Mall of America was in July, but my actual birthday was about one month later. I couldn’t even resist the tears that came out of surprise and excitement! Loved the taste at Famous Dave’s.
8. Went to Lake Harriet to watch outdoor summer concert. Speaking of Minnesota, it’s hard not to mention about its music. Watching an outdoor orchestra concert has been such a great experience!
9. Did indoor rock climbing for the very first time in states! While I were in China, hiking, cycling, mountain climbing have been three of my favorite outdoor activities. But with the lack of bicycle-friendly roads in West Virginia (around my campus), I have been hungry for some outdoor activities for so long! It was such a great moment trying to overcome my fear and finally reached the top of the rock. (Left: me looking down from the top of the rock; Right: Me and the safety guard)
10. Zorbaz, the Minnesota-only “restaurant by the lake” This is probably one of the reasons that I enjoy go to places where I know people who live there! I have never heard of this restaurant, but after that adventure, “I loved eating there!” The moment when sitting on the deck, watching the waves coming by, seeing sunset, feel the wind blowing, there is no other place can top of this.
Special thanks to: Randy & Lisa, Michael & Katie, who not only hosted me, also planned the whole trip while I were there. I can confidently say, it was much better off than any of the travel books!
“Land of 10,000 Lakes” is so much different than “Wild and Wonderful” West Virginia! One has more water surface, the other has more high peaks. I would always want to come back to Minnesota, someday.