North Dakota January 26, 2017
10 Things You Have To Do Before You’re An Official North Dakotan
Anyone can move to North Dakota but there are some specific rites of passage, if you will, that they’ll have to experience before they can truly call themselves North Dakotan. These are things that most of us who live here have done, seen, or been a part of. They are definitely a part of the ND life and prove someone has what it takes to live here:
1. Survive winter driving in North Dakota.
Most everyone at some point gets to experience their first time driving during the winter. Winter driving can be tough in many places, but North Dakota's version of it is a on a whole new level. Sure, we've got plowing and sanding down in most places so it's not always the ice you have to worry about; it's the wind that whips the snow across the road so bad you can't even see the road at all! But if you can survive that without so much as a fender bender, you're definitely worthy of being a North Dakotan.
2. Pick a side: Vikings or Packers.
North Dakota doesn't have its own NFL football team so most everyone chooses from the teams in nearby states, more specifically the Minnesota Vikings or the Green Bay Packers. You know it when you see the football merchandise section of any store in ND, it's usually split with both purple and green. Which side are you on?
3. Be initiated on the regional food and learn how to spell it.
German and Scandinavian food is huge here and there's no way you can live here for very long without encountering it at some point. After you find out how delicious it is your next step is to tackle the spelling of it, and some things have multiple versions of spelling. Good luck!
4. Attend a local friend's bonfire.
Ahh, nothing like a good bonfire! There's just something fun about hanging around a large fire out on someone's farm with plenty of beer to go around while everyone talks and enjoys each other's company. Like moths to a flame, most North Dakotans are easily attracted to one of these, so make sure you attend one too!
5. See a Kroll's commercial on TV.
Everyone has seen a commercial for our state chain diner Kroll's least once - it's just part of living in North Dakota. Sit down and eat!
6. Experience nature's inability to make up its mind about what season it really is.
Warm and sunny out today, looks like spring is coming? Nope! It's going to be in the negative degrees tomorrow followed by snow. I've witnessed snow in North Dakota well after winter was over and the plants were already green; it's not even a shocking thing to see anymore.
7. And on the subject of weather: witness a sun dog.
Most people outside of North Dakota may go their entire lives without even knowing these things exist, but come wintertime here on the cloudless, freezing days we get these often. They're called "sun dogs" and look like a circular light formation in the sky around the sun. They are truly a sight to behold (and indicate it is very cold out) and definitely a part of being in ND.
8. Go to your local county fair.
No matter how small your town or county is, they are still always fun to visit when in North Dakota. From pig races to chili cook-offs (you wouldn't believe how serious people here get about chili cook-offs), there's a bit of fun for everyone and a great way to show local pride.
9. See just how many stars are visible in the night sky.
As someone who came from a different part of the country where the night sky had a few scattered stars and the rest blocked out from light pollution, witnessing how beautiful North Dakota's night skies are was amazing to me as a kid and still amazes me to this day. Add in the fact that you can often see shooting stars and even the Northern Lights and you have an unforgettable, truly North Dakotan experience.
10. Witness a North Dakota sunrise or sunset that makes the state we love look so beautiful.
At the end of the day, a sunset over the natural beauty of the land in North Dakota is all you really need to get hooked on living here.
What other things do you think people need to do before they become an official North Dakotan?
Maybe these weird things that only we do should count, too!