If you polled all the transplants, you'd find three reasons for coming here -- love, a job, a magazine article that showed Minnesota in the summer. A year later you break up, get fired and end up staring out the window at the cruel fury of a late-March snowstorm, and you think, I'd write a letter to that magazine if I wasn't so depressed.
But then the place works its magic, and you stay.
Meet Molly Priesmeyer. She's a freelance writer and co-owner of the Good Work Group, a company that provides Web services and consulting for companies and organizations that want to do, well, Good Work for the community. She lives in Minneapolis' Powderhorn area.
Born here or a convert?
"I grew up in St. Louis.
"We always considered it the Midwest. The arch is the gateway to the West, you know. When I came here and people found out where I was from, they'd ask why don't you have an accent? Or they ask me sometimes, in all honesty, 'Do you guys eat squirrels down there?' "
So you don't really eat squirrels.
"I said we cooked squirrels in college as part of our intro to the poverty of college life."
What does that say about us -- OK, some of us -- that St. Louis seems foreign and exotic?
"Well, when I lived in Missouri I thought everyone was Lutheran and self-referential like Garrison Keillor."
So what brought you here?
"Two things. My then-boyfriend was living up here, and when visited I really liked it. Then I read this magazine for 20-somethings, some art magazine that probably lasted three issues, and it said Minneapolis was number one in the country for young people.''
Sounds like a beloved local icon who never actually lived here. Did you watch the Mary Tyler Moore show?
"In high school I thought she was living in Montreal, though. Minneapolis, Montreal, they're both in Canada!"
And both cold.
"For a number of years, winters made me want to leave. I'd talk to my family, and they'd say the daffodils are blooming in the yard, and here we'd have a thick enamel of ice. It took me 10 years to learn how to appreciate winter.''
What says Minnesota to her?
"It's the community and connectivity -- I don't know if Twin Citians appreciate it as much as a transplant would ... We have this amazing system of people and parks and ideas that does not exist in the rest of the country."