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View Poll Results: Is the Twin Cities a good fit for me?
Yes 14 73.68%
No 5 26.32%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-05-2014, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
13 posts, read 26,444 times
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I am new to City Data Forum and I would like to ask questions and to hear opinions about Twin Cities/Minnesota. I have been considering a move up North for a long time. After careful research, I decided to choose the Twin Cities based on high quality of life, highly educated population due to many colleges and universities, affordable cost of living, excellent economy, a plenty of arts/museums/theatre plays, and well-known friendliness and acceptance of the residents along with scenic lakes and progressive to liberal politics.

However, a part of me fears the risk of leaving everything I have achieved behind and move only to find myself struggling to find a job due to no previous networking with Minnesotans or to make friends because I am not from there. All of my family are in MO, MS, and KY.

I was born and raised in the South. I've lived in various states (MO, AR, MS, TN, & FL). I never feel like I truly belong in the South. My jobs landed me in Little Rock, AR. I am currently a full-time school counselor at a high school and a part-time Adjunct Professor at a community college. I currently have M.S. Degree with plan to get Ph.D. in the future.

I happen to be a single gay male with liberal views. I want to be where I could be myself comfortably instead of being open to only family members, certain friends, and none of my co-workers. Arkansas doesn't have any laws protecting GLBT and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. I already know that the Twin Cities is very gay-friendly with laws like gay marriage and bans on discrimination against sexual orientation when it comes to housing, employment, and even adopting children.

I love nature/scenic outdoor and aquatic activities (swimming, fishing, pedal boating/water biking, and jet skiing). I love cold weather but I have never been in MN during winter though. Some of my likes are listed above that attracts me to the Twin Cities. Twin Cities has everything and it is not big like Chicago.

Do you think MN is for me? Are most employers in MN usually willing to hire someone from out of state? Will I make friends eventually?
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:04 PM
 
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MN sounds pretty ideal for you actually. You will get used to the winter
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:45 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 24,926,169 times
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Assuming you can handle the cold, the Twin Cities sounds like a good fit.

One thing about the PhD, though: I don't know about your program specifically, but PhD programs are usually really competitive (as I'm sure you already know); if you're thinking of applying soon, you may want to hold off on the move so you can apply to more schools in more places. And I think the adjunct market is tough here because there are SO many grad students/ABD/PhDs around.

Other than that, though, it does sound like a good fit, and it sounds like you've done your homework.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:55 PM
 
3,766 posts, read 8,110,130 times
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I think you should give MN a try. You will find an accepting populous in the cities and a fairly non-judgmental city. You should not have difficulty with employment, and the activities you enjoy - you will enjoy here. Winter is not something that should stop you - just have an understanding that it will be long - but it is part of the beauty of living here, and makes you really enjoy summer and fall.

As for making friends, as one of the more vocal critics of the transplant difficulty making friends here, I would say it is not impossible - but something you should be aware of before moving that can be difficult. If you are prone to loneliness and depression, I would probably tell you to either try for a while a/o get a good therapist before you move here. If it is one of many concerns that you have but you can cope with a small circle of friends - then you should be fine. If loneliness is a challenge then you need to have a plan.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
13 posts, read 26,444 times
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I'm glad to hear that my personality and my likes are a good fit for the Twin Cities, especially if I could handle the cold. I know my body will get adjusted to the cold eventually. I have experienced winters in St. Louis, Chicago, and Denver; I didn't have any problems as long I dress properly. It's all about clothing and common sense.

I'm of German/Irish heritage with Catholic upbringing. It sounds like St. Paul is a better area for me in the Twin Cities.

I am introverted like most Minnesotans so I guess it is a good thing. I prefer a small group of casual friends and maybe no more than 3 best friends. Having too many people in my life is not always a good thing. I prefer to meet friends at public places rather than at my home because I love my personal space. I don't mind people coming to my home for New Year's Party, Monday Night Football (NFL), or Super Bowl. I hope my being a fan of the Packers will not make me very unpopular in the land of the Vikings. LOL

I need to get about 3.5 more years of work experience first before applying to Ph.D. programs in MN. I understand that they are highly competitive. My specialty is usually called either Educational Psychology & Counseling or Counselor Education & Supervision depending on the location. Both are the same thing.

Fortunately for me, there are two programs available in MN: University of MN-Twin Cities and MN State University-Mankato. I can't go wrong with either one. I don't mind driving to Mankato twice a week since I am planning to do my doctoral part-time. Also, University of Wisconsin-Madison has one available online and they do accept MN residents for in-state tuition, which is a huge plus for me.

For those who are GLBT or have friends who are GLBT, please give me an idea of how the local gay community is in the Twin Cities. Do they live in specific neighborhoods or are they spread throughout the city?

Are they more of Long Term Relationship-oriented unlike most cities such as Los Angeles/West Hollywood, Atlanta, and San Francisco where most GLBT aren't into family life with adopted children? I hope to find my Mr. Right one day and have marriage and family just like everyone else.

Last edited by RazorbackFan1; 02-05-2014 at 09:41 PM..
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Old 02-06-2014, 06:49 AM
 
10,629 posts, read 24,926,169 times
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Why do you think St. Paul is a better fit? I wouldn't make that call based on ethnicity, if that's your reasoning.

I'm not gay and can't comment on the dating situation, but I have plenty of friends in long-term GLBT relationships. Some have kids, some don't. GLBT families have been a normal part of life here for a long time. There are no "gay" neighborhoods, although Loring Park is probably about the closest you can get. The GLBT population in Minneapolis is just under 13%, but you'll find GLBT people all over the metro area, and certainly spread throughout the city.

If winters in Chicago didn't scare you off then you'll be able to handle winters in Minneapolis, no problem.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
13 posts, read 26,444 times
Reputation: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
Why do you think St. Paul is a better fit? I wouldn't make that call based on ethnicity, if that's your reasoning.

I'm not gay and can't comment on the dating situation, but I have plenty of friends in long-term GLBT relationships. Some have kids, some don't. GLBT families have been a normal part of life here for a long time. There are no "gay" neighborhoods, although Loring Park is probably about the closest you can get. The GLBT population in Minneapolis is just under 13%, but you'll find GLBT people all over the metro area, and certainly spread throughout the city.

If winters in Chicago didn't scare you off then you'll be able to handle winters in Minneapolis, no problem.
I read that St. Paul is strongly rooted in German/Irish Catholic heritage and has more of European feel to the city while Minneapolis is newer and more modern. European feel is very appealing to me. Minnehaha Falls is like in the middle between the cities. At the same time, Minneapolis has the most scenic lakes in the Southwest. I also like White Bear Lake and Stillwater. It's good for recreation and exercising. It is hard for me to choose as a place to live.

However, eastern half of the Twin Cities currently has some openings for school counselors. I will probably end up living near or in St. Paul. I wouldn't mind living in inner suburbs like Roseville or White Bear Lake. Any more suggestions?

Does anybody have any complaints about living in Minnesota? I am curious. After reading throughout MN threads, most common complaints are "Minnesota Nice", high cost of living/taxes, and that the state is very isolated from other big American cities (Chicago is 7 hours away). It can't be isolated because the Twin Cities has everything you could possibly need.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:29 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 57,509,149 times
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I'd suggest that you just wait until you get an offer and find out where that offer is and then we can work from there. If you really like the German culture, New Ulm would be the place to go .

I think at one time there was more of a division between the various cultures but that really just is not the case in the Twin Cities any longer. There are really not strong ethnic neighborhoods any more outside of a few centers of more recent immigrants.
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Old 02-06-2014, 07:34 AM
 
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If MN doesn't work out for you, there's always Denver. There's a very large LGBT community here. Plenty of schools within the city, too.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:31 AM
 
871 posts, read 949,880 times
Reputation: 1893
Quote:
Originally Posted by RazorbackFan1 View Post
I'm glad to hear that my personality and my likes are a good fit for the Twin Cities, especially if I could handle the cold. I know my body will get adjusted to the cold eventually. I have experienced winters in St. Louis, Chicago, and Denver; I didn't have any problems as long I dress properly. It's all about clothing and common sense.
Not to warn you away, but more to help prepare you mentally for this, for me the hardest part of winter is not the short-term "stay warm by bundling up", it's the sheer duration of the thing. I joke sometimes that we Minnesotans would make good crews for those nuclear submarines that stay submerged under the polar ice caps for months at a time because we're used to such an indoor lifestyle. Staying warm by bundling up is quite doable- not suffering depression due to a winter that goes on and on is difficult for me.

Conversely, spring is such a wonderful feeling. It's like an adage I once heard where one man saw another hitting his hand with a hammer. He asks him "Why are you hitting your hand with a hammer?" and the man replies "Because it feels so good when I stop!". One thing I both like and hate about the weather here is that it reaches into my core, plunges me often into the depths of depression (late winter), and then catapults me out of it (spring). It feels like my entire life turns a page. Though it's difficult and I'm perhaps masochistic about it, the seasonal sameness of fairer weather locales like California scare me: I like seasonal page-turners, I think I need them...

Quote:
I'm of German/Irish heritage with Catholic upbringing. It sounds like St. Paul is a better area for me in the Twin Cities.
Very possibly. St. Paul is more Irish and Catholic. I think either city would be fine for you.

Quote:
I am introverted like most Minnesotans so I guess it is a good thing. I prefer a small group of casual friends and maybe no more than 3 best friends. Having too many people in my life is not always a good thing. I prefer to meet friends at public places rather than at my home because I love my personal space. I don't mind people coming to my home for New Year's Party, Monday Night Football (NFL), or Super Bowl. I hope my being a fan of the Packers will not make me very unpopular in the land of the Vikings. LOL
This all sounds good. We Minnesotans are, I have heard again and again, friendly but aloof. I've had a number of transplants tell me that people are nice to them but they feel perpetually stuck on the foyer. I can only go by the testimony of others on this, however, being native to this region. I, too, am an introvert (actually have been tested as an 'ambivert', meaning I can thrive with or without people, but I definitely prefer small circles of people). I think introversion will serve you well here. I do believe that you will likely be able to form a small group of quality friends. Extroverts who get their strokes from cross-pollinating large groups of acquaintances I think are least likely to thrive here.

Quote:
Fortunately for me, there are two programs available in MN: University of MN-Twin Cities and MN State University-Mankato. I can't go wrong with either one. I don't mind driving to Mankato twice a week since I am planning to do my doctoral part-time. Also, University of Wisconsin-Madison has one available online and they do accept MN residents for in-state tuition, which is a huge plus for me.
I used to live in a town 12 miles from Mankato. There are many pretty stretches on that drive from Mankato to St. Peter. If you are someone moved by landscapes and who takes an interest in the biomes and natural facets of our lovely continent I think you will like the trips you may take to Mankato.

Quote:
For those who are GLBT or have friends who are GLBT, please give me an idea of how the local gay community is in the Twin Cities. Do they live in specific neighborhoods or are they spread throughout the city?


Pick me! Pick me! I'm gay!

We're all over the place and integrated into just about every neighborhood. There are areas that are historically known as the nearest thing to 'gay ghettos' that the Twin Cities has had - like Loring Park- but now there's a pretty widespread 'community' throughout most of the cities and surrounding suburbs.


Quote:
Are they more of Long Term Relationship-oriented unlike most cities such as Los Angeles/West Hollywood, Atlanta, and San Francisco where most GLBT aren't into family life with adopted children?
Quote:
I hope to find my Mr. Right one day and have marriage and family just like everyone else.
Again, the Twin Cities sound like a good match for you. Yes, I would say we are more relationship-oriented. The gay family with kids is quite alive and well, including legal marriage, of course.

Quote:
I read that St. Paul is strongly rooted in German/Irish Catholic heritage and has more of European feel to the city while Minneapolis is newer and more modern. European feel is very appealing to me. Minnehaha Falls is like in the middle between the cities. At the same time, Minneapolis has the most scenic lakes in the Southwest. I also like White Bear Lake and Stillwater. It's good for recreation and exercising. It is hard for me to choose as a place to live.
I wouldn't disagree with this. I'm a Minneapolitan but I wouldn't object to living in parts of St. Paul. There are definitely more beautiful buildings in St. Paul and I have eyed many a gorgeous 100-year brick beauty to live in over there. My preference is Minneapolis but I don't engage in the completely bizarre and bitter parochialism which is surprisingly common here. Of course it's hard to choose a place to live- you don't know the area yet for yourself. However, I don't believe you can go TOO wrong wherever you land.

Quote:
Does anybody have any complaints about living in Minnesota?
Quote:
I am curious. After reading throughout MN threads, most common complaints are "Minnesota Nice", high cost of living/taxes, and that the state is very isolated from other big American cities (Chicago is 7 hours away). It can't be isolated because the Twin Cities has everything you could possibly need.
I'd have nothing to add to this. I'm not very receptive to complaints about taxes because I believe we get what we pay for and then some. By most objective measures, Minnesota is a state with relatively good government. Of course, that will never fly with those for whom all government is invariably evil. For those folks, elsewhere would be better because it is true that we are a high tax state. A friend of mine moved ten years ago to Atlanta and every time he has to renew his driver's license it takes literally a day of waiting in lines or even having to go from one government office to another. I remember once emailing our Department of Transportation with a question and getting a return call literally ten minutes later. I know that not everyone has good interactions with local and state government here, but my experiences have always been very surprisingly positive. That combined with our excellent healthcare, education, etc. makes the investment in government yield a high return for most of us citizens.

Still, when you move someplace, it's always a roll of the die. I think luck always has a hand in how well we gel with a place. That it appears you will fit well hear is based on a number of good signs but no guarantees as I'm sure you understand. Good luck and welcome to Minnesota should you decide to move here!
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