Before moving to Rhode Island, I lived half my life in Minnesota and half in North Dakota– exactly, but I know nothing about either state beyond the day-to-day and the Minnesota fun facts that were on my single-serving milk carton in the Hallock Elementary cafeteria. The problem is, that I first moved from MN to ND three days before the first day of 7th grade (also on my birthday). My MN school taught state history in 7th grade, my ND school in 6th grade. I completely missed out.
Naturally, I didn’t care because I was in 7th grade and had more important things on my mind. Interestingly enough, two of my best friends won the North Dakota Know Your State contest, and I’m not 100% sure what the state bird is (flickertail?). None of this ever really mattered because I lived in ND or MN and no one was asking me about the states because they were from one or both of them as well.
Now I live 1,800 miles away and people are fascinated, albeit in kind of a freakshow kind of way, with where I’m from, and I have nothing to really say about it except that it is flat and cold, I have heard of the movie, and no we don’t all talk like that. Once I tried (foolishly) to bring up Lewis and Clark, about whom I know shockingly little, and the person was like “Really? Lewis and Clark are significant in ND, why?”
I then had to admit that I wasn’t quite sure, but I was basing the statement on the fact that Lewis and Clark were names of schools and were on license plates so there must be some reason. I now know that they built Fort Mandan, and picked up Sacagawea there– thanks wikipedia.
I had a hunch that if I moved away I would start to care more about where I came from, and now I do for reasons other than hating having nothing to say when people ask about North Dakota. So now I’m going to turn into that asshole student from “somewhere else” who only does assignments related to where he or she came from. I may want to kick my own ass, but if I have to do the research anyway…