Where in the world is Rhode Island?
As I get ready to board my 7 a.m. flight back to Minnesota, I look around and see people from all around the world traveling to places all around the world.
Even with google and other search engines I often notice that people don’t really know much about other states or about other countries.
I am the first to admit that I didn’t really know about Minnesota before I moved here and since then I have been on a quest to learn as much as possible about other parts about the country.
For Christmas this year my parents aka Santa Claus got me an awesome gift! They got me a shirt from a Rhode Island gift shop near at the airport by their house and it says “where in the word is Rhode Island.”
On the shirt it has various of different things that Rhode Island is known for and shows it on a map.
It also pokes fun at some of the stereotypical things that people say about Rhode Island like it’s in New York or things to that nature.
The reality is I learned very quickly that like me not knowing about Minnesota at first many people in Minnesota or anywhere in the Midwest really, don’t know much or anything about Rhode Island.
I got my real first glimpse of this last year when I was a guest speaker at a school and a older student asked me if Rhode Island was apart of California.
Luckily she knew me from being on the track team that I coached so she wasn’t too embarrassed and the group were all people that she had gone to school with for many years.
We all enjoyed a good laugh.
I got another glimpse of the fact that many people don’t know much about the Rhode Island culture during the summer.
Every year my family and Rhode Islanders across the state celebrate a Rhode Island holiday called Victory over Japan Day.
Rhode Island is the only state in the Union that celebrates the day and it’s mainly just a long weekend in August for people who normally don’t get a chance to enjoy the beautiful beaches.
I brought with me my girlfriend who grew up in Mankato and the Mankato area and had never been to the Ocean State before or anywhere in New England for that matter.
She was absolutely amazed by the beauty of the state and all the things that are different between Minnesota and Rhode Island.
Then we went to the Ocean.
At that moment I realized why so many people go to Rhode Island for the beaches.
It was like she never saw anything like it before.
I used to spend my summers working security at state beaches and campgrounds while I was in college so I always took beaches for granted I suppose, especially since I spent a ton of time on the beach growing up.
While we were in Rhode Island during the summer, my girlfriend also got to enjoy a lot of Rhode Island things for the first time like amazing seafood, and other great things that Rhode Island has and no one else (I can be bias towards my home state sometimes).
I think the funniest moment of the trip was watching my girlfriend experience coffee milk for the first time.
Coffee Milk is a Rhode Island favorite, and ultimately all it is coffee syrup and you make it just like you would chocolate milk or any other flavored milk.
Long story short me and my family were in the living room at the beach house we rented out for week and my girlfriend had a cup of hot coffee and the coffee syrup in her hand.
She then asked “how much do I pour in there.”
We were all very confused and then explained to her how it works and like the person who thought Rhode Island was in California, she was a little embarrassed but we all enjoyed a good laugh together.
Since that trip she has had nothing but great things to say about Rhode Island and during my trip to Rhode Island she got to spend a few days in the Ocean State as well.
It’s pretty awesome in my book that she likes Rhode Island a lot because like Minnesota for me, she got accustomed to the goofy things there but the things that make it unique and an awesome place.
Her love for Rhode Island was also shown on Christmas when my sister gave my girlfriend a Rhode Island necklace for her present.
When my mom told me what she got her for Christmas she said “she got it because she’s dating a Rhode Island boy so she needs something from Rhode Island.”
Funny enough we got my sister a Minnesota sweatshirt and necklace from the State Fair for Christmas.
I feel really fortunate that I have someone in my life that I get to teach Rhode Island things to and someone who can give me a first person perspective about the Minnesota life.
I realize I still have a lot of nearby states and Minnesota towns to visit, and I am looking forward to doing so.
The only question now is where in the world will I go visit next?