It took a while, but I’m finally a Minnesota resident. The biggest hurdle was probably that 40-question driver’s license test that I passed — barely.
I guess I’m a little rusty on whether you’re supposed to stop 20, 35 or 50 feet away from a stopped school bus.
Truthfully, reality that I’m a Minnesotan didn’t really dawn on me until I had those blue-and-white license plates in my hand, with “10,000 lakes” scrolled across the bottom. Worthington is fortunate enough to have one of those lakes right here in the middle of town.
In fact, Lake Okabena was the first thing I really took notice of when I drove up a month-and-a-half ago from Sioux City for my job interview at the Daily Globe. You see, that lake has helped ease the transition from college at Briar Cliff to my first full-time job (that I actually bring a check home from).
That’s because more than anything else from college, I miss running with my teammates. When I ran track and cross country for the Chargers, I developed a bond that only those who cover 60 miles per week with each other can know about.
And Worthington, among other things, is most definitely a runner’s town. It’s more than just the annual Turkey Day 10-K, the competitive track and cross country squads that the Trojans usually field or the lake loop, which is a pleasant change of scenery from the Sioux City streets and bike trails.
As anyone who watches the lake at the break of dawn or during a nice sunset can testify, there’s always a steady stream of joggers in this town. Usually, quite a few people can be seen hoofing it around the lake — some more competitively than others.
The most important thing? They always seem to be enjoying themselves.
That, more than anything else, might be a good way to sum up my impression of Worthington after my first month and a half: people here simply enjoy themselves.
It’s a nice thing to see. I spent my summer in Washington, D.C., interning at WTOP News Radio. It was a great experience, but after eight weeks I was craving to be in the Midwest again.
Growing up in the small town of Utica, Neb., I wasn’t used to the crowded streets, the crammed houses, the expensive groceries or the public transportation (I never thought I’d miss driving my little, dilapidated Ford Escort so much).
Most of all, I missed the genuine kindness of the people you meet everyday on the street. Sometimes, that’s an overlooked benefit of living in a Midwest small town.
For some reason, even though I grew up a Husker, Mr. Aaron Hagen picked me to be the Globe’s next sports reporter.
I’ve had a blast so far, roaming the sidelines at football, soccer and volleyball games in Worthington and the surrounding area.
Every coach, player, parent or fan I’ve met while covering local sports has been a pleasure to speak with. I’ll work my hardest, so that they might say the same thing about their conversations with me.
It just feels good to be a Minnesotan.
I’ll see you on the lake loop.