Manhattan Chick in the Midwest, Part 1: Pleasantries & a Weekend of Firsts

This past weekend, I visited the small Midwestern town of Northfield, Minnesota. You may now be asking...why? Well because one of my bestest gals and favorite Midwesterner turned New Yorker turned West Coaster got married in a truly gorgeous, down home wedding ceremony. For the last 9 years of friendship, C has regaled me with tales of small town wonder, including but not limited to extreme niceness, use of the word 'pop' in reference to soda, and of a land where everyone really does know your name.

Cornfields as far as the eye could see

A Weekend of Firsts

I realized that this trip not only symbolized the everlasting love and happiness of C & I, but also my own personal weekend of firsts.
1) First time in the Midwest.
Yes, it's true. I, Rachel, had never been to a Midwestern state before this weekend. As my dear friend M asked, 'Why have you never been to the Midwest?', I responded with a simple, 'Why would I go to the Midwest?' I do not mean to be snobbish or uppity over my East Coast roots...but they call them flyover states for a reason.

2) First time renting a car.
And I'm just glad that this was experienced for the first time in Minneapolis. As I rushed to the Enterprise counter, hoping against all odds that there would be a short line, imagine my astonishment that not only was there no line at all, but 6 tellers waiting to assist me. Had this been Newark International, there would have been a line 40 deep with a lone representative half working, half chatting with another representative who in turn was doing absolutely nothing. Midwest 1, Jersey 0.

3) First time flying Northwest.

And unlike numbers one and two, this first will likely be my last. Tiny, old planes and impossible online check-in (When I printed my boarding pass at work, there was no bar code on my ticket. When I called Northwest, instead of offering a solution, they informed me that yes, I do need a bar code. Thanks.) made this a less than desirable flying option. Don't even get me started on trying to move my flight to a later time. Unhelpful customer service reps and forced Internet changes solidified the pain, to boot. Though ultimately, I made it to Minneapolis and back in one piece, so I suppose I can't take that away from them.

Pleasantries & Unbelievable Occurrences:
1) Case #1: The people in Minnesota are just...nice.
In addition to the more than pleasant rental car experience, all locals thereafter put East Coasters to shame. Let me tell you about my darkest Jersey girl moment. On Friday, C & I had a rehearsal dinner at the local golf club. Putting on my cutest green summer dress and dolling myself up with pretty hair and make up, my lovely ladies and I parked across the street and walked to the club. A car pulled up next to us and the man inside rolled down his window. Immediately, I was prepared with my signature eye-roll and anti-cat calling slurs. As I braced myself, the nice man inside asked what was going on at the club as he had heard there was a football dinner. We said we weren't sure if there was a football dinner. The man wished us a nice evening and drove away. Northfield 1, Manhattan 0.

2) Case #2: The people in Minnesota actually line up at the bar.
No punching, pushing, eye rolling, or brawling. Instead, Northfielders form an orderly queue, pressed tightly against one wall of the bar and order their drinks one at a time. I have never seen anything like it. I'm not sure how anyone actually got themselves a drink or how long of a wait the line was...but it sure was a sight to see.

The bottom line from my first Midwestern excursion? I like it. A lot. It was refreshingly down to earth and all of C's tales of tea time and beyond really did live up to expectations. Up next, I'll be bringing you Northfield: A Big Weekend in a Small Town.