Perhaps Peter Mayle and I have something in common. Granted, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is as far from Provence as you can get proverbially, but some of the locals may as well been a part of a Mayle book. Yet, I have not encountered any truffles out in the wilds of Minnehaha Falls, but one can say that home problems and regional dialects seem to run in common between these two experiences.
In case you are wondering why I mentioned Mr. Mayle and referred to a favroite book of mine, today marks my first anniversary of my move to the state of Minnesota.
The situation that brought me here was a desperate one. Without sounding dramatic, had I remained in Chicago, you might not be reading this or any of this blog. The first seven months of 2004 was a terrible time for me and I needed to jumpstart my life and quick.
Luckily, I had enough points on Amtrak’s frequent traveler program to get a roundtrip ticket somewhere in the Midwest. The original plan was to simply take a week and re-evaluate my life. Instead, suggestions came to look for a job when I get here. I took that plan to heart.
The train ride from Chicago to St. Paul felt more like an escape from hell than one of determined change. I arrived later than scheduled, but my friend David met me at the station. I stayed at his apartment in downtown St. Paul, which became a staging area for a job search. Through the following Monday, I did eight interviews and signed up for a half-dozen temporary agencies, Two days into my time in Minnesota, I made a commitment to stay in the state and cancelled my return train trip.
On Friday, my closest friend Scott scored two free tickets to the Twins at the Metrodome. This completely cheered me up! Then, I spent the weekend in Northfield taking it all in. Upon my return to St. Paul, I found out that I landed a job that began later in August. I also had to find another temporary place to live.
By September, I had a place to live in St. Paul, a regular job and began dating. By year’s end, I would be in a different job and became single again.
A year later, Minnesota has become my home. In the course of a year, I was able to fulfill several lifelong dreams. I now have a book out. The Boy From Reseda was a huge surprise to me and is still out there for your perusal. Also, I now have an online blog for GLBT automotive enthusiasts. This was one of those big ideas that I had in mind for Chicago, but was never able to execute. On top of this, I am in a good paying job and will be moving into a place in Minneapolis by the end of the August.
Most importantly, I live in a place that has a feel that reminds me of my time in the Bay Area. I am blessed to have connected with a good number of gay friends and acquaintances that are fun to be around and great to hang out with. I can go to Bear Bar Night at Trickx in downtown St. Paul every month and it would feel like a monthly reunion with everyone. With that said, I want to publicly thank all of my Minnesota friends and acquaintances for this gift you have provided me in this time of transition and establishment.
Today, I truly feel Minnesotan. In every sense of my life, I am the furthest from the native Californian I used to be. This amazing self-transformation is exactly what happened to Peter Mayle after a year in Provence.
Then again, I am truly in Provence.