Thanks to the “Minnesota Connection”

Last night I had to go to a cocktail party thingy (the Brits would call it a drinks party, appropriate since it was more of a wine and cheese). The attendees were work colleagues and their partners (and in one case, a daughter) and we were all doing the chat thing, some work chat (we had a big dinner Thursday night, in celebration of some big changes around here) and some social chat. Somehow we started discussing the funny way the local paper, and the British news media in general, sometimes report things. Our local paper is hilarious, and one colleague said he bought it just to be amused by the way the reporting tended to emphasize aspects of stories that we would find less than objective. My example was the “Five Britons die in Air France crash” from a BBC story I saw on the news at the gym a few months ago–it struck me because it was so familiar. You see, any time there was a local “Minnesota connection” to anything the local news would lead with that and make a big deal about this local connection. I’ve even blogged about it before, and how I find the local news media similar. It’s a sign, I think, of some inferiority complex–Minnesota is small and its virtues seem to be only well known to the locals. Britain is, as was described in the recent story for Newsweek about the Great British decline a place that might also be accused of having an inferiority complex. I was explaining this theory to the people to whom I was speaking, and I used the words “Minnesota Connection” trying to draw this analogy. Suddenly a girl comes walking quickly at me from across the room, saying, “did I just hear you say Minnesota connection?” Yes, my friends, it was another Minnesotan. Not a Minnesota native, but someone who has lived there, has seen the local culture, and who knew exactly what I was talking about. It was like a breath of fresh air. I had a fantastic rest of the evening, mostly chatting with one of my good friends (also an expat, but German) and my new, good, Minnesota friend. I have to admit, after dealing with my mixed feelings on my return, and my jet-lag and trying to get back into my work with some degree of normalcy, it was a breath of fresh air and a good way to end the first work week back. This has been one big change I’ve noticed in the past year, I have work friends now. Both expats and even (gasp!) British natives. It took a few years, but it’s definitely one of the better things about having been here for longer than a year or two. And I can’t wait to see my new Minnesota friend again.

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3 responses to “Thanks to the “Minnesota Connection”

  1. I’m glad for you. It’s fun to find a kindred spirit.

    I chickened out of answering those really hard questions at the end of your last post, by the way. Too difficult!

  2. A Minnesota connection! That’s nice. I met a guy who had been to the MSP airport the other day… doesn’t really count does it? But he said nice things about it and I beamed. Silly, I know. 🙂

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