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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Grateful New Yorker welcomed to Bemidji

Last month my husband and I relocated to Minnesota. Though I was wary at first, my fears could not have been more unfounded, and I'm publicly acknowledging how grateful I am for the warm welcome we've received. As a lifelong New Yorker, it's cert...

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Last month my husband and I relocated to Minnesota. Though I was wary at first, my fears could not have been more unfounded, and I’m publicly acknowledging how grateful I am for the warm welcome we’ve received.
As a lifelong New Yorker, it’s certainly been an adjustment, but I appreciate how everybody goes out of their way to embody the state’s signature niceness. When, not long after subscribing, a glitch caused us to miss an issue of this paper, the publisher himself hand delivered a replacement copy. When our dog got into the shredder and knocked over a new houseplant, the folks at KD Floral were able to nurse it back to health, and sought no compensation. The mayor herself even made special acknowledgement of our arrival at a recent city council meeting.
My husband’s coworkers at Sanford Health have been gracious and generous, opening their homes, showering us with garden fresh vegetables and extending invitations for horseback riding and sailing. Near strangers, be they the tea shop proprietress, waiter at Tutto Bene or tilt-a-whirl operator at the county fair, converse freely, eagerly and, more importantly, without judgment. We’ve gone paddle boarding in the park, seen art exhibits and experimental theater, eaten hot dish pasties, wild rice and walleye at least seven different ways, but the true measure of a place is the people, and Bemidji boasts some of the most genuinely friendly I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
The transition has not been entirely seamless. We’re still searching for a suitable slice of pizza. There are, perhaps, a mite more mosquitos than I’m used to, and the ominous silence I’m met with whenever winter comes up is slightly concerning. But those are small prices to pay compared to the benefits of being here. Our neighbors are outgoing and unfailingly polite; I’ve been accepted into a graduate program at Bemidji State and have already met many smart, engaging individuals; and I was cast in an upcoming production of “Bedroom Farce” despite questionable talent. I enjoyed the spirit of camaraderie shared during post-storm cleanup at Diamond Point, and with fellow Friends of the Library volunteers. We’re loving the local fare at Harmony (not to mention its proximity to Bemidji Brewing) and, apparently, are now part owners of Paul Bunyan Communications, also a cooperative.
I have been, and always shall be, a New Yorker at heart. There is no place on earth like Central Park, and I sorely miss my nieces, but the inevitable homesickness, while palpable, has been offset beyond my expectations.
Gary Rozman
Bemidji

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