“Who moves to North Dakota?!” My dad has asked me this question probably 10 times over the last month and a half that I’ve called this place home. Even locals give me a questionable glance and a furrowed brow when I tell them I moved here from California. I then get the “Wait, so have you ever experienced winter?” “Do you know what you’re getting yourself into?” “Why did you come here?”
The awkward pauses and raised eyebrows are entertaining to say the least. Like Montana, North Dakota was on my list of states that “I could just never live in.” Funny thing though…here I am, and I actually kind of like it. I might be singing a different tune when it’s December and -20° outside, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Anyway, in my short time here…I’ve learned a thing or two about how to handle the perpetually icy and windy Bismarck. Here’s my top 10 favorite lessons I’ve learned so far in the great state of North Dakota.
1. Layers are your best friend. 28° in the morning and 75° at lunch…yeah you better be prepared for anything.
2. Ice. Everywhere. Everyday. On your windshield…every single morning and NO you should not try to use you windshield wiper fluid to get it off. This causes what we’ll call the “ICANTSEEANYTHING” effect.
3. Hairspray. Another best friend. It’s windy here, A LOT. Wind = bangs in eyes, mouth, nose, all the time. A good hairspray is a must.
4. Mosquitoes are not your friend. While runs by the river sound like a good idea, you will likely end up with at least 20 mosquitoes in your nose, mouth, eyeballs, stuck to your shirt, etc. Oh and a dozen more bites all over your body. (Side note: mosquitoes here are really smart, they WILL bite you through your pants.)
5. Oofta: an expression used to convey surprise, exhaustion, or a bunch of other feelings a North Dakotan may have.
6. Uggs are not snow boots, they are house slippers or dog toys.
7. The camo section at any store is not to be mocked…at least not with a North Dakotan in earshot.
8. The landscape is shockingly beautiful. Sparkling rivers, wind-swept prairies, golden leaves, vibrant sunsets & endless dirt roads…need I say more?
9. The phrases “oil boom” “man camp” and “fracking” are now a part of my vocabulary.
10. North Dakota, a state full of surprises, a community that loves one another & a place to call home, for now.