Minnesota nice

I’m wondering if I might need cultural competency training to live in Minnesota. I feel like I don’t come across well here.

I wouldn’t have expected to need a major adjustment to figure out how to talk to people, but I feel like I’m misunderstood about 75% of the time. I end up scrambling to correct someone’s misinterpretation while they stand there looking sort of offended, and I’m not ever sure where I’m going wrong. It is not less jarring than being misunderstood in France or Canada or Mexico or London. It might actually be more unpleasant, because it surprises me every single time.

Probably, I’ll figure it out. I’ll become an avid observer of central Minnesota culture and figure out where I’m going wrong. The biggest mistake we can make in cultural misunderstandings is thinking we have no culture of our own. Somehow, my Virginia must be getting in my way, and through a process of trial and error, I’ll hopefully be able to find out why (or at least figure out how to fake it until I do!). As George said this afternoon, if the only way to learn is through trial and error, I should be well on my way. And while I know it’s probably better to learn these things gradually, I do find myself wishing a little bit for a Matrix-style instant upload of Everything You Need to Know to Live Happily in Central Minnesota.


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