Nguyễn DZuy Nam
Minnesota is My Home
Minnesota is my Home State. I am very proud to say that, and in the
paragraphs that follow I will tell you my reasons why I love living here in
First and foremost, I should tell you a little bit about where I grew up. I
was born in Edina, but I grew up in the city of Burnsville. Burnsville
currently has a population of 60,220 and is about 20 minutes south of
Minneapolis. It’s one of the fastest growing suburbs in the Twin Cities area
in the past three decade. I remember when I first moved in my house in 1986
much of Burnsville back then was undeveloped. My backyard had a railroad
that was used twice daily by trains carrying cargo heading north and south.
It was somewhat of a dense wilderness area then with lots of trees, tall
grass, raccoons, snakes, red foxes, deer, skunks, woodchucks, rabbits, a few
mice and various birds. Now the railroad tracks are unused and much of the
ground has been flattened out and new town homes are being built. My house
sits on the bottom of a hill and it is such a warm cozy home throughout the
four seasons of the year. I live in an area that has everything I want to do
or need all within driving or walking distance, which brings me to my next
In today's difficult economy, many people are moving into Minnesota to find
a job. The population of Minnesota continues to grow at a faster rate than
the overall national average. Our current state population is close to 5
million. The majority of the population lives in the Twin Cities area, which
is Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and the surrounding suburbs. The capitol of
Minnesota is St. Paul. Most of the people in Minnesota are nice and polite.
Why Minnesota you might ask? Minnesota offers plentiful activities and
attractions for the one who seeks adventure. One word that would describe
everything about Minnesota: DIVERSE. Minnesota is diverse in that it offers
shopping, arts and performances, sports, outdoors, state and national parks,
scenic touring, resorts, campgrounds, lakes, rivers, and many attractions.
Where should I start? Well, weather might be a good start.
Weather: Winter & Beyond
For those in the South like California and Texas you might think that
Minnesota is cold here all year round. I can see why some might say that
since on a U.S. map Minnesota looks like the furthest state north and it
touches Canada. Actually, the weather here in Minnesota is quite pleasant.
Yes, there are times when the climate is unstable from being warm and then
cold and back again, but that’s the fun of living here in Minnesota. Mother
Nature offers us a diverse weather pattern, so you’re not always stuck with
sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, or snowy days all the time. The summers are
warm, and we usually get several days in July and August when it's reaches
beyond 90 degrees or so. It may get humid for a short time span. Typically,
though, our summer temperatures are in the 70s or 80s. Of course, it can get
very cold here in the winter. It sometimes gets as cold as -40 during
January in the upper north of the state like cities of Bemidji and Duluth.
Don’t be fooled by us Minnesotans. When that happens all of us are inside
the house. We are not icemen from the ice age! We get a blizzard or two
almost every winter, and we average about 50 inches of snow per year here in
Most people who live in Minnesota enjoy the winter. Winter offers ice
skating, sledding, snowmobiling, and skiing. My favorite winter activity is
ice fishing. When the ice gets thick enough I drive my car out onto the ice
and drill a hole in the ice to fish through. The ice is sometimes as thick
as three feet. I have a hand ice auger to drill my hole, but this coming
winter I plan to buy a gas-powered ice auger that will allow me to drill
through the ice in no time. A lot of those who ice fish have little houses
that they bring out on the lake. They have holes in the floor so they can
fish in them. Some of these ice fishing houses have a heater, stove, and
even a TV, and is about as comfortable as your own living room! Minnesota
offers one of the country's most extensive snowmobile trail networks, with
close to 20,000 miles of trails.
To make a winter more exciting every year a Winter Carnival is put on by
either Minneapolis or St. Paul for its festivities. This last Winter
Carnival an Ice Palace was built to host the NHL All-Star Hockey Game.
Traditionally, the palace was to be built every 100 years, but we have had
three built in the last decade or so. The last one was built in 1992 for the
Superbowl game at the Metrodome.
If you love shopping there is the world famous queen of all malls, the Mall
of America. It is located in the Twin Cities suburb of Bloomington. The Mall
of America is the largest indoor shopping center in the country. Besides the
clothing and the fine dining restaurants at the Mall you can visit Camp
Snoopy, the nation's largest indoor family theme park with more than 30
rides and seven acres of fun. There is also the Lego Imagination Center,
which is knows for its enormous four-story LEGO showplace entertains guests
of all ages and contains LEGO bricks to play with, models to look at, and
sets to buy. If you like movies there is the AMC Theatres located inside the
Mall, which has over 14 screens. Nightclubs and bars are available on the
upper level for those who love to dance and meet other singles. The place I
enjoy most at the Mall of America is taking an underwater tour in the
Underwater Adventures Aquarium. It’s like you travel 14 feet underwater
where both fresh- and saltwater fish and other marine animals such as
sharks, stingrays and giant sea turtles swim so close, you'll feel like you
can reach out and touch them! With over 1.2 million gallons of water, this
aquarium features a 300 foot-long curved tunnel, complete with a moving
walkway that simulates a scuba diving adventure, but without getting wet!
It’s totally amazing, and I am a frequent visitor there when I am at the
Mall. Of course if you are not enthusiastic about shopping at such a big
mall there are several smaller shopping centers throughout the state that
offer clothing and other items of interest. There is some exciting downtown
shopping in Minneapolis. Famous for downtown shopping is the Block e area.
Block e is bound by Hennepin Avenue and First Avenue North and in between
Sixth and Seventh Streets. Block e is equivalent to the Mall only you need
to go either outside or take the skyway to get from place to place for the
attractions. Whether you enjoy dancing and singing at the Hard Rock Cafe,
playing video games at GameWorks, relaxing with coffee and a good novel at
Borders Books and Music, roaring with laughter at the Improv Comedy Club, or
taking in a movie at Crown Theatres, Block e promises to have it all.
Arts & Performances
Every now and then I like to take in the entertainment scene and go see some
popular acts at some of the finest theaters. A few years ago I attended the
popular “Rent” at the Historic State Theater with a friend. The performance
was incredible and the venue was ideal. It’s an absolute must if you enjoy
the arts and performances scene. Minneapolis and St. Paul feature some of
the country’s finest theaters and world-class museums: the Guthrie Theater,
the Children’s Theatre Company, the Fitzgerald Theater, the Walker Art
Center, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Ordway Center for the
Performing Arts, and the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.
There are touring Broadway productions at the Orpheum and Historic State
Theatres in Minneapolis.
Other than shopping Minnesota’s attractions is what keeps Minnesotans in
Minnesota. It has something for everyone. If you like to see animals the
Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley is your ticket. It has giraffe, birds,
dolphins, fish, monkeys, lions, and a trail you can walk to see animals in
their replicated natural habitat. If you like to touch animals the Como Zoo
in St. Paul is the one. If you like horse racing and betting Canterbury Park
in Shakopee is cool. If you like car racing the Raceway Park in Shakopee
rumbles all summer. If you like roller-coasters and thrill rides Valley-Fair
in Shakopee will amaze you! If you like to see lots of fish The Aquarium in
Duluth is phenomenal or again, the one at the Mall of America is really
nice. If you like gambling there are a few casinos on the Indian
reservations. If you like science the Science Museum makes you think.
I am a big sports fan, but that’s probably not a surprise for all of you
male readers. The sport I enjoy watching most is football. I enjoy watching
my favorite team the Minnesota Vikings play throughout their season. There
is also professional basketball teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and
the Minnesota Lynx, a baseball team in the Minnesota Twins, and a hockey
team in the Minnesota Wild. Of course, there are college teams, which give
all of us Minnesotans sports variety such the Minnesota Gophers. The
University of Minnesota has great teams in basketball, wresting, football,
baseball among others. As I write my essay today (March 29,2004) the Women’s
Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball Team have made it into the Elite Eight
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester is world-renowned for its medical care of its
patients. President George H. W. Bush among other high figures are many of
whom have visited the Mayo Clinic. Mayo has earned a reputation for solving
hard-to-solve medical problems based on more than 100 years of results. The
clinic is famous for their cancer treatment.
State Parks / National Parks / Scenic Areas
Minnesota has 66 state parks. Large regions of Minnesota are preserved and
have varied landscapes. It’s the qualities that make each state park unique
in its own way and helps beautify our wonderful state. Most of our state
parks offer camping, canoeing, swimming and fishing opportunities.
As I travel along some major highways like Interstate 35 or 94 the road has
its own reward. It’s an exhilarating freedom driving off into the
countryside with only the rich farmlands or undeveloped regions, and of
course my eyes are open to whatever I might find. Every now and then I see
pheasants (see picture below), deer, ospreys, eagles, owls, raccoons (see
picture below), opossums, and other animals native to Minnesota. It’s the
wondering of what you might see that makes the road a journey from beginning
to end. You never know what you might encounter as you travel.
Lakes / Rivers
At the beginning of the essay I asked “Why Minnesota…?” Now I am finishing
up my essay and I have saved the best for last. The ten million dollar
question if anyone anywhere ask me today “What do I love most about
Minnesota that keeps from moving to any other state?” Lakes. What is
Minnesota known for? Minnesota is a “Land of 10,000 lakes.” There are
actually 15,291 "official" lakes in the state! There are small and large
lakes, and some in between. I have a passion for the great outdoors, and
fishing tops that list. Not only is fishing so good here, but it allows to
go outdoors away from family, work, and your daily routines. Instead I can
listen to birds chirping and seeing an otter splashing while I throw a lure
out to get a fish to bite. I can reflect on my past week or year’s
accomplishments and failures. Some might say how depressing that would be,
but for me it’s such a stress reliever to be on my own away from other
people enjoying the beauty of nature. It’s the serenity of nature and its
surroundings that captivates me. Have you ever heard an American Robin (see
picture below) whistle or a Mourning Dove “hooing” early morning or at late
evening? Believe me, it’s the most peaceful sound you can hear.
American Robin’s Eggs.
Nam Nguyen and his 49-inch, 27.5 lbs. Musky caught in Lake Minnetonka.
Fishing is the most popular past time in Minnesota. It’s so big here that
there are hundred of resorts throughout the state that offer packages to
accommodate visitors to stay at their lodge and includes fishing boat,
meals, etc. It’s fun for the whole family!
Nam Nguyen and his first brown trout caught at Willow Creek in Stillwater.
I am going to the Boundary Waters this coming June with a couple of friends.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northeastern Minnesota has some of the
most beautiful and unspoiled lakes in the United States, and it is a popular
vacation destination, especially for those who want to camp and canoe in a
wilderness area. You get away from the world and are surrounded by the
lakes, trees, and animals.
We do have a few rivers that run through Minnesota. The big famous river we
have is called the Mississippi River, and it starts here in Minnesota.
So, if you ever think about wanting a little exploring to do in your
lifetime and you are enthusiast about the outdoors as much as I am Minnesota
is your Home. Minnesota is and will forever be my Home State.
American Robin. < http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i7610id.html>
Explore Minnesota. http://www.exploreminnesota.com/
Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/
Nelson, Marin "Block E opening in Downtown Minneapolis" Twin Cities Guide. 5
Aug. 2002 - 31 Oct 2002.
Ringneck Pheasants. <http://www.centralpets.com/pages/photopages/birds/wild_birds/PHOTO_WBD4362.shtml>.