Things are finally buckling down at work. Out on the study abroad fair circuit. Visiting schools, securing meetings with organizations (well, trying to). It’s busy.

And right now I’m wishing I got something to eat before I hopped on this plane back to Philly.

Minneapolis—or Princeland is what I’ve begun to call it—was where I spent the end of my mid-September week. And I just feel so grateful that I have a job which gives me the opportunity to travel.

I arrived a day early to explore the city. Didn’t know what to expect. The Midwest never caught my eye like the big cities on the coasts. Probably because around this time every four years, those States get really red. And red unfortunately equates to all kinds of “-isms” in my mind. Maybe a result of parental programming in my youth.*

Touched down after a smooth, sunny morning flight with an extra hour on hand. Time would reclaim it on the way back, but for now I took  advantage. Where to go? Well, pulled out google maps and realized the Mall of America was only fifteen minutes away! Hopped on the Metro Line with my carry-on and headed south. Passed by Fort Snelling Cemetery, which seemed to stretch out almost endlessly. Well, most cemeteries look like that, but this one was a bit more ominous. Each headstone was crafted exactly like the next. Like gray pixels over a green background.

Finally I arrived, but where was the Mall? The Metro car docked in what seemed to be a transport center for street trains, connected to a much bigger parking lot. I followed the signs up to an escalator, and there it was.

Now I see why Arnold never found a Turbo Man in time for Christmas.

This place is HUGE.

I walked and walked. Many of the usual stores were here but with all new clothes. Seemed like the whole place was season ahead of America (and a season behind New York).

Right in the belly of Monstro was the craziest of all sights. A theme park right in the middle of the mall. If for some reason I ended up growing up in Minneapolis, I know for sure my mom would never take me here. I could see myself begging my mom to pay for every ride, do every carnival game, spin every prize wheel…

Next was the Walker Art Center, a masterpiece in unobtrusive architecture. One gallery leads into the next, into the next; like a maze that never ends. Over time it creates such a calming effect. I became fully engaged in viewing each work, forgetting where I was, at times.

One of my favorite galleries was Hold your breath, dance slowly by Lee Kit. Initially I couldn’t get this type of visual art. Where’s the creativity? A lot of this stuff I could probably get at Target! I thought. But as I walked deeper into the gallery (which resembled a home/large apartment), the theme which the artist was trying to convey became clear to me. Which I interpreted to be this:

Inanimate, everyday objects used by our lovers can be charged with so much emotional meaning when viewed through the looking glass of memory.

It touched me so much considering how much the concept relates to my relationship with Paula. Everyday things like t-shirts, jewelry, perfume, etc. mean so much to us. For they remind us of the times when we were physically together, and gives us something to look forward to when we reunite again.

I could go on and on, but Minneapolis is a dope city. Wish I had time to  visit Paisley Park, but this purple-themed city gave me enough Princely vibes to hold me up until my next visit.

Final random thoughts:

  • Shout out to all the random people who started long and interesting conversations with this lone-ronin traveler. From the owner at Town Hall Brewery, who just visited Philly, to PJ at the study abroad fair who knew Temple peeps (super small world). Last but not least, a man from Kansas City I met in Matt’s Bar. Over burgers we talked about the midwest small-town-big-city feel. His son is a Godzilla otaku kid who wants to live in Japan. He even had his son’s name tattooed on his arm, in katakana.
    • So yeah, I’m starting to think that this many coincidence in two days doesn’t just “happen”
  • Huge Somali and Muslim population here. Reminded me of the random Nigerian pockets in Tokyo and Saitama, or the Jamaican ones in Toronto. Makes me wonder, why do groups choose to immigrate to very specific area around the country/world?

Just some thoughts, I’m done!


*After doing some research of my own, I realized that Minnesota is super Democratic.


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