This week I brought my roommate, Sophia, back home to Minnesota to give her a small glimpse into the average American life.
Because Sophia is from Switzerland, she requested I show her my “everyday” life, so I did my best to give her the best impression of the Midwest that I would.
The first part of our adventure was making it back home. We chose to drive back home. For Sophia, the 12-14 drive from Wyoming to Minnesota was the longest car ride she had ever been on. I felt that this was a good way for her to see the landscape of the midwest.
One of my family’s biggest traditions on any road trip is that we take a picture with the Ronald McDonald in Windom when we pass through. We did this both on the way to Minnesota and on the way back to Wyoming.
Sophia also experienced Midwest weather. On our drive up, the weather was less than ideal, snowing with icy road conditions and a lot of wind. Something she noted was there was more snow than she was accustomed to. She said the massive piles of snow scattered about was interesting.
We made a trip to Minneopa Falls State Park to see the frozen falls, something I had never seen before. Having someone travel with me helped me see things I hadn’t seen before or had not noticed in a while.
Sophia, my cousin and I took a trip to the Mall of America. There were Irish dancers performing in the rotunda, and Sophia said “This is so American, I would never see something like this in Switzerland.” It made me happy to know that she got to see first hand the melting pot of different cultures coming together.
She also explored the Lindt store, and as a chocolate lover she was very much in love. In Switzerland, she had done an internship with them prior to coming to the US and was very excited to experience an American store.
There were a few foods on her “must try” list, one of them was S’mores. Because the weather conditions were not quite ideal, we chose to improvise by using my parents’ gas stove to roast marshmallows.
Growing up, this was something my dad would have us do on occasion so it was fun to share this part of my home life in particular.
We went to Lake Waconia for a stroll on the ice. We also went bowling, and my roommates and I hosted a game night.
Something Sophia said made her feel more at home was the ability to cook again and being a part of a family dynamic. Living in the dorms does not permit for either of these things so I was more than happy to share them with her.
I chose to bring Sophia with me for multiple reasons. One of the main ones was it didn’t feel right to leave her in Wyoming alone when I had the ability to bring her with me. Another reason was that she had been wanting to see where I am from. I really appreciated her interest in my home life.
Having someone view and explore a world that is very familiar to me also gave me a sense of newfound joy in some of the smaller parts of my life.
I absolutely love Minnesota, but at times I can be cynical with winter. Hearing someone talk about the beauty of the snow and the other things that come with winter — like the frozen lakes and waterfalls — reminded me of the beauty of it. (I was glad to hear Sophia agree that the winter there is a bit too cold.)
All in all, I truly enjoyed my time home reconnecting with my family and friends, but more importantly giving my roommate a chance to have a slice of home since she is not able to travel home the way that I am.
Header photo: One of my family’s biggest traditions on any road trip is that we take a picture with the Ronald McDonald in Windom, MN when we pass through. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Schoenecker)
Write to Andrea Schoenecker at firstname.lastname@example.org