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Old 05-25-2014, 06:16 PM
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Hello everyone!

I will be moving from Southern California to the Twin Cities this August. I am going to be attending the U's school of dentistry. I do not have any family members in MN and this will be the first time I'll truly be on my own. Despite this, I am looking forward to this next chapter of my life.

A little bit about myself:

I am first generation Vietnamese-American. My parents were immigrants and I have lived my entire life in California. I chose the U because of its excellent community outreach program and its cold winters (just kidding ). When I'm not studying science, I like learning about different cultures. In addition, I do not have a favorite football team (for now).

I will be here in this state for four years and want to practice rural dentistry somewhere in Minnesota afterwards.

Below, I have listed some questions/concerns about my move. Thank you in advance for reading this thread!

1) Would it be wiser to purchase winter clothes in socal and then ship it to MN, or should I just purchase everything once I get there?

2) I will be living very close to the U, so what is the best grocery store for me to shop at? I prefer fresh meats, seafood, and fruits. In addition, any recommendations where I can purchase more ethnic spices? I love to cook!

3) Local church I can attend? I do not really have a preference, but would prefer a Christian church that has students and late services.

4) I will be flying to MN with just the clothes on my back and two cases full of clothes. Any last minute advice?
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:33 PM
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As far as clothing goes, if looking for good deals you're probably best off just waiting until you get here and then visit garage sales. That said, if you have extra space in your suitcases you can get some really good deals on very nice winter gear in southern California thrift shops (we used to live in LA, so I remember this well), in part because there are simply fewer people buying it. But you won't really know what you want or need yet (although later on when you go back to visit friends or family in CA you may want to leave some space for good deals), and there are always good sales here on winter clothes even early on in the season.

Your easiest grocery store options are going to depend on where around campus you're living. You may want to check out the Seward Co-op; it's not right on campus but it's nearby, and you can easily hop on the 2 bus to get you there and back.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:22 PM
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1. Buy winter clothes in Minnesota. There is no sales tax on clothing in MN.

2. Groceries at the U are annoying. There is no "real" grocery store in the U district. I would sign up for Car2Go and then just do a grocery run once a week to Whole Foods downtown Minneapolis (or on Grand in St. Paul), Seward Co-op, and Dragon Star in St. Paul. I guess technically the Lunds in Nordeast is the closest grocery to the U.

3. I am not sure about which church to recommend but there are tons of them so it should be easy to find one.
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Old 05-26-2014, 12:47 AM
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Definitely buy winter clothes in Minnesota. As noted, we don't have sales tax on clothing, and things like jackets tends to be expensive, so it will save you some cash. Plus, you'll have time to buy winter gear...September is usually pretty warm and sometimes October is too. Most people are still wearing light outerwear well into November or sometimes even December if things are behaving.

Grocery stores will vary depending on where you will be around the U. Your best bets for fresh food are going to be places like Seward Co-op in the Seward neighborhood, Lunds in Northeast, or the downtown Whole Foods. Depending on your transportation options (read: if you have a car or are willing to do some wonky busing), you'll also have access to groceries at Target or Rainbow (soon to be Cub) at the Quarry, though those likely wouldn't meet your requirements. For everyday goods, there will also be a Target Express (new concept Target store) opening in Dinkytown for the occasional food item or quick thing you need to pick up.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:25 AM
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I should clarify that when I said winter clothes selection (specifically coats, etc.) in southern CA, I meant if buying used. If buying new, definitely wait until MN. If you want top selection at a good price second-hand, buy it at your local Out of the Closet or Goodwill in southern CA! (but not if you have to pay extra to ship it; if you can't fit it in your luggage, don't bother.)

Downtown Minneapolis also has some decent grocery store options. Whole Foods is very convenient -- and while not a budget option, some of their staples or sales can be affordable (just assuming budget is an issue, as you'll be in school. Whole Foods can add up fast!). The Target on Nicollet Mall also has a grocery selection. And you will be able to hop on the Green Line starting in June to visit the grocery stores and other options in St. Paul; I always see a lot of college students returning to the U with shopping bags when I'm on the bus. Not sure exactly what is there, but I think there are all the local staples, from the discount (Aldi) to the basic staples of Rainbow (kind of like a Safeway or Vons) to all sorts of specialty ethnic grocery stores, including lots of Vietnamese options. If you're going to drive you'll have all sorts of other options all around town, but really, as it sounds like you're not bringing a car I think you'll be just fine taking the bus or train (or depending on exact U neighborhood location, walking. The Lunds on University Ave in Marcy-Holmes is within easy walking distance of some of the U neighborhoods, for example.)
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:53 AM
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If you're not able to find what you're looking for in thrift stores (which really are your best option-- I've found Sorel boots for $3 and Columbia jackets for $5 here in FL!), another option to consider is eBay-- I've scored some unbelievable deals on The North Face and comparable coats for my kids, my husband and myself. $300+ coats for under $100 for me and the hubs and even better for the kids-- $150-$200 coats for $30 and under and higher end snowboots for under $20 for the kids and under $40 for me. It's the off season so the deals abound.. but if you're going to be in MN soon, I'd wait so you don't have to take more with you than absolutely necessary.

Another option if you're only willing to consider new is that Nordstrom has their half annual sale right now (and items both ship and return free, should they not fit or if they don't work for any reason)-- and 6pm.com is always a great option (it's the equivalent of Marshall's or TJMaxx online). There's also Burlington Coat Factory in MN (not sure where the locations are in relation to where you'll be living) and much of my family's winter gear has been purchased there in the past (not sure what the selection is like up there-- but as they have a decent selection in their locations in FL, I would assume that MN would be that much better). Good luck!
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for the replies so far, they're much appreciated =). I have been feeling overwhelmed with this move, especially since I'll be leaving my family. I'm still not sure how to cope with it even though I'm 23.

Anyways, I would like to clarify some things about my living situation. I will be living very close to the dental school building, which is located on 515 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. In addition, I do not have a car so I have to depend on public transportation.

As for freshness of foods, it does not have to be Whole Foods quality, but I'm glad they have it. I was looking for something that was similar in quality and cleanness to Vons.

What type of winter clothes should I buy? I want to do all my shopping before school starts, that includes clothes.
Assume I do not have any winter clothes. I only have light jackets at best. To clarify, I'm open to purchasing my clothes used, but would prefer to buy it in person for sizing issues. I'm also a male and need proper shoes as well.

In addition, where would be the best place to purchase furniture? I only need to furnish my own room, the rest of the house is good to go. I need a mattress, frame, desk, chair, lamp, solar lamp (for SAD), organizers, and a mini fridge. I was thinking of going to IKEA and getting most of this in one go, then using their in house shipping offer. Is there a better option?

Last edited by Toothy17; 05-26-2014 at 09:24 AM..
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:13 AM
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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You'll want to buy a long down jacket. Something that goes down to the knees and has a hood. Down jackets are the warmest. I spent a bundle on a North Face down coat, but it's awesome. I was at the U this past semester and I don't think I could have survived without it! You'll also want to get leather gloves. I think they insulate the best. And lots of thick scarves so that you can pull up to your face. Between the scarves and the hood, only your eyes will be showing. I actually saw several guys wearing ski goggles!

The public transportation near the U is really good. You should have no problem getting groceries. For furniture, we have your usual suspects here. We bought our guest bedroom mattress at Mattress Firm, but there are other places in the Twin Cities. Places like HomeGoods are great because you can get lamps, chairs, small furniture, home decor etc. at a discount.

Minneapolis also has Zipcar, which allows you to rent cars by the hour. There are several garages around the U where you can rent a zipcar for between $7-$10 an hour. Getting a membership would be a good investment. You can rent a car for the hour or two you need it to make weekly or biweekly purchases. You can also rent them for multiple days if you find yourself going out of town. However for the most part you will have no problem getting from the U to downtown or to the areas where people socialize. It's very easy to get to and from campus.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:17 AM
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I would wait to buy clothing to see what you need. If you are living that close to the dental school, you probably only need whatever clothing you will wear for classes--jeans/sweater/scrubs?? a winter coat and some gloves. You can navigate most of the buildings in that area for classes via the tunnel system or a short walk outside. Also, most sales will happen in October-mid-October and chances are, you won't really need anything until late September at the earliest and often into October before you need more than jeans and a fleece jacket. Plan on it being mid 70-80 through most of September.

Shopping, there is bus service but what about a delivery service for your groceries? That might be the most time-effective way to shop.

Church service--we used to attend St. Cecelia's on University/280. It was a lovely parish many years ago, very close knit with fantastic music. A lot can change over time, obviously, but it's worth checking out.

Keep the Tracy, MN area on your radar for a place to practice down the road. There is a large Asian population, mainly Hmong though, Tracy. It's near Walnut Grove and all things Little House on the Prairie for reference. Tracy is a cute little town and would qualify as rural, very rural.
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Old 05-26-2014, 11:53 AM
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I agree--personally I have had down coats down to my knees--and I would not want one again-especially if riding the bus alot. I would get a good jacket--something with a thinsulate type lining, or an outer shell and inner separate layer. It should have a hood to pull up in case of really bad weather. Leather or thinsulate gloves are best. You may want to get boots online-say Zappos, Campmor, Sierra Trading. If you want to go in person, you could get a ride to REI in Roseville, Cabelas in Woodbury, Dicks Sporting Goods in any of the Burbs, or Fleet Farm in Oakdale.

When you get here, be sure to go to Trung Nam French Bakery on University Ave. Many Asian Food Markets on University also. I also would recommend Mississippi Market. There is one on Selby and one on W 7th in St. Paul. Very comparable to Seward.

As for churches, I would just ask around and try them out. Here is a site where you can look by zip code or denomination: Churches in Minneapolis by Denomination, MN Minnesota Church Directory.

Welcome to MN!!

PS--oh as far as furniture--are you sure your housing isnt furnished. Stadium View on Delaware is furnished. Otherwise, you Ikea idea is a good one but I personally wouldnt buy everything at IKEA-too expensive. I would maybe just get a bed there and ask around about other options. If someone has a car or truck, Craigslist is one of your better options. But if you have the cash, go for it at IKEA! You could take the train and do it all in one trip!

Last edited by jzeig104; 05-26-2014 at 12:11 PM..
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