How Does One Say Goodbye To North Dakota?

On the second day of the North Dakota Bloggers and Writers Workshop held in Bismarck, my husband called with news. He had just found out we were getting transferred to Mason City, IA.
I was on a high from the previous evening’s food crawl through downtown Bismarck with Marilyn Hagerty and this news made me feel especially emotional during the North Dakota Tourism Department’s presentation. It featured photos of the state’s most beautiful places and encouraged us to look for stories to tell. I felt like I had just made new friends and finally connected with people I had only communicated with on Twitter. Talk about bad timing.

Now I’m left grappling with how to say goodbye to North Dakota. Two years ago, I remember sobbing about leaving my hometown of Minneapolis-St. Paul, pausing between tears to say, “But I lovethis city. Now, I feel the same way about Fargo. Oh, how I wish I could stay in North Dakota, but at least I know I have the ability to bloom where I’m planted. I’ve found a lot to be happy about here, just as I will in Iowa.

Our time here is short. Next week, we’ll visit Mason City for the first time and celebrate a family wedding in southern Minnesota. Any spare time will be dedicated to tying up loose ends, saying goodbyes to friends, and looking for a house. Still, I want take the time to say goodbye to North Dakota and am figuring out what this means.

Last night, we had a farewell dinner of sorts at Sarello’s. I met Sarah Nasello at the ND Writers and Bloggers Workshop and have been meaning to try their family’s restaurant. It’s funny how you just assume you’ll have more time. We enjoyed the type of meal that made us wonder why the heck we didn’t go there sooner.

Then there’s the fact that I will not return to culinary school at Minnesota State Community and Technical College this fall. I looked forward to learning how to work the fryer, break down a cow, and function in a supervisory role. This fall, I will think of my classmates and cheer then on from Iowa. I highly encourage anyone in the Fargo-Moorhead community interested in culinary arts to consider this program. It’s affordable, class sizes are small, and the teaching is high quality, but apply early because there’s always a waiting list. Students are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. You’ll have to deal with your fair share of slacker classmates and unusual behavior, but you’ll reap what you sow in terms of your education and connections with your peers.

I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface on exploring North Dakota. I had grand road trip plans for the summer and the reality is that I may only be able to choose one, at the most. Shall I head to German-Russian country and tour the local cafes and bakeries, Pembina Gorge, or Lake Mettegoshe and the Peace Gardens?

Do I return to the restaurants that serve my favorite dishes or try those we haven’t visited yet?

How would you say goodbye to North Dakota?

I’d love to hear your ideas.


  1. Sandy

    Oh,,,so sorry to hear this news! I hope you keep your blog going from IA. Wishing you a smooth transition, and hope you can finish your culinary school nearby. Good Luck to you. I have no advice for saying good-bye, but they do have Germans from Russia in IA, too!

  2. nichole

    Bittersweet! Your food crawl article was great. Happy trails and good luck in Iowa, hope you keep posting from your new adventures!

  3. Jen

    Thank you Sandy and Nichole. I will certainly keep posting about our adventures. We’ll be in transit between IA and ND these next few weeks. I just got a new camera so I’m excited to document our adventures.

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