So to kick this off, my adventures in Asia were cut short and I returned home to Ohio last week. After a few days of sleep, reunions, and ridiculous reverse culture shock I set out in search of a new adventure; this time in search of a paycheck. Where did I end up? 20 hours north of my hometown in Columbus, Ohio at a small town you may not find on a map on the shores of Crane Lake, Minnesota. Up here the O’s are prolonged and the “about” is used with a Canadian accent. The population rests at around 75 in the winter and bulges at the seams with a whopping 200 in the summer. I am one of those 200. They count us. The crew. The college kids from all over the country in search of money and an adventure.
Between ridiculously complex family webs that make everything here interesting and the constant flow of “the men have gone fishing” groups filing in and out of the boats and gift shops, there is never a dull moment around these folks. Except the 8 hours I spend on my feet in a gift shop. Up here the clouds of mosquitos are the biggest threat to me. Keys are left in the cup holders of unlocked cars and cabin tenants aren’t given keys. The puddle hopping planes come and go constantly and the townies biggest fear is their boat breaking. Well, and the docks floating away as they break from their anchors given the recent swell in water level. Or (and this may be the worst) the kegs run out at the bar and the new ones aren’t chilled yet (!!!). Kids run as wild and free as the bugs.
Small town charm. I look like a complete jackass sitting on my computer in a bar and restaurant as most people here use very little technology outside of radios for the boats and minimal cell phone use, but I had to shoot some emails so I figured why not blog while I’m at it. Did I mention I have no service? ATT only. And wifi can’t reach as far as my hot waterless, leaky roofed, unlocked cabin. I’m the happiest person alive. That’s no joke. Paddling the maze of water that makes up the Minnesota-Canada border, running trails to beautiful gorges at 6 am, swimming with giggling children after work, fishing minnows and leeches out of bait ponds, and being almost completely isolated from the outside world is wonderful to me. The strikingly beautiful landscapes help too.
So, taverns and townies: two of my favorite things. Small town charm, family backstories, piecing together the web that makes up the community, and doing my best to fit in without intruding on their territory. I’m an outsider, and I will be for the duration of the summer. About five months ago this would have driven me crazy. Currently, I find it fascinating. I’ll keep ya guys posted. 11 hour work day can be fairly exhausting.
TTFN- ta ta for now!