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In order to escape the hubbub of city life I made an impromptu trip four hours to the north of the Twin Cities to a small, remote town on the south shore of Lake Superior. Having not traveled since returning from China last October, this was a much-needed getaway. The trip was also brought on by the desire to check out the nearby sea caves, which due to the coldest and snowiest winter in decades, had been talked up so much that tens of thousands of people were coming up on weekends to have a look, whereas in the past it’s likely been below one thousand for the year.

Lake Superior

What I Like About Living in the USA

No matter where I am living, I always miss the family and friends that are not around me. But there are some things I definitely miss about the US while I am living in China. One of those things is the ease of accessibility to remote places like the south shore of Lake Superior. The other is the variety of food.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior Squaw Bay Sea Caves

On this most recent trip to Lake Superior it did not feel very remote, as there were at least a thousand people out on the ice admiring the sea caves. The weather was beautiful: around freezing and sunny. Anything above zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17.8 C) feels warm these days as this winter has been one of the coldest in Minnesota history. Seeing a five-mile stretch of cars parked along highway 13 was a huge surprise when even five cars parked along this stretch of road would be noteworthy. The caves themselves were more like cliffs with gigantic icicles clinging to them. There were a few caves though, and man, woman, and child alike all ended up crawling in and out of them. Some had entrances shorter than one foot, but still people would find a way to squeeze through for a peek at the snow and ice inside.

Sea Caves

The Variety of Food

Enjoying breakfast at a local diner is another joy not found while living in China. I was able to sip a hot cup of coffee and write down some thoughts before enjoying a ham and cheese omelet. There are those who will say that China too has omelets and other types of Western food, and while this is true there is not nearly as much of it, especially in the smaller cities I have lived in, and when you can find it, it costs twice as much as here. Chinese style Western food does not count (note: if you ever find yourself in China looking at a restaurant that advertises western food, chances are it is not authentic and tastes terrible, so be careful). Do let that English alphabet fool you!

Sea Caves


Sea Caves

“Do you like rice or noodles?” I had been asked this question many times by my students. “Noodles…?” I remember saying the first time. “Me too!” said my student. You like noodles, I like noodles, we’ll be best friends! In China it is typical to have a ‘staple’ food with every meal. We do not really have this tradition in the US but some people I have met in China will mistakenly believe that we eat bread, hamburgers, or sandwiches with every meal the way they eat rice or noodles with every meal. As much as I love Chinese food, I do tire of it after eating it seven days in a row for every meal. One of the great things about the US is the variety of food we have (Indian, Thai, Mexican, Italian, etc.) and having the luxury to enjoy all of them without paying too much money is great.

Squaw Bay

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