I’m off to Minnesota today to visit what has been hailed as the best state fair in the US. And it not just Minnesotans who think so; according to the very helpful internet, it’s in the top five fairs in the US. And guess who has a sister living in Minnesota? And guess who is a little excited starting everyone sentence with “And?”

While I’ve heard about the Amazing State Fair  because of the famed food on a stick (hello, cake on a stick? How do they do that? Does it matter if I understand? No as long as it tastes good!), turns out The Minnesota State fair is well known for its educational exhibits.

Be still my beating heart.

My dream of visiting the fair just got better. Quirky food and education exhibits. If you never see me again, I’ll have died from grease and sugar overdosing  learning of the ways of rabbits or how the first water wheel was made or some other missing piece that will help build the puzzle of Amy.

Previous Augusts have found me knee deep in those new to China. The month of August is spent orienting those who are moving to China into how to teach, live, love, and understand the culture and how to adapt. It was the highlight of my year. For me, it never got old to go the Great Wall, show people around, sit and talk about what they were experiencing. It never grew old, but it did mean that I couldn’t eat cake on a stick or learn about 4-H projects.

Hey, life comes with limits, and this was mine.

Creative commons: rustiqueart

Creative commons: rustiqueart

Part of the training in Beijing involved the first year “Affective Cycle” which is a fancy way of saying, your biological clock is used to certain rhythms and you are going to have alarms going off at weird times. When that happens, don’t freak, you’re normal.

For example, there is a week-long holiday for National Day, October 1st. For many new to teaching and getting going with life in China, that holiday feels more like hitting a brick wall. Why are we stopping when we just got started?! But come late November when internally their bodies are saying, hold on a break is coming, you’ll get a few days off for Thanksgiving.

Sucker! Wrong. You get to cram a holiday into keeping right on moving forward.  And pay more for turkey than you ever thought (if you want to honor that alarm that’s been set in your stomach).

The body and soul then begins to count the day until Christmas. Only to find the semester isn’t oriented around Christmas, you are in China, and duh, the Chinese Spring Festival is now your new ending point. But wait, you get a four to six week break from teaching depending on the year (being lunar and all), the school, and whether you teach in the north of the south?! Now, that might make resetting all of the internal alarms worth it.

In May you begin to hear whispers of school ending in other parts of the world which is just bizarre given that the school year in China doesn’t end until later June or July.

The ebbs and flows of the seasons. The rhythms of feasting and fasting. A new way to mark and measure time. There was evening and morning, another day.

It’s not that deep fried snickers bars are an upgrade on the Great Wall, but I have my own internal alarms and need to start somewhere with new rhythms. In order to help me set new ones, I have scheduled something I couldn’t do in China each month for these first few months.

Minnesota  State Fair, I’ve been dreaming of you for years! Laura and Sue, when you get home from work today, let the food-on-a-stick and educational-exhibits fest begin … I know one of you joins in the joy and one of you will tolerate me and my enthusiasm :). But what’s new? Not everything changes, eh?! You’ve been tolerating me for years and I’m all the better for sharing a bloodline with you.

What food on a stick should I check out? What food on a stick have you eaten? 

Leave A Comment

  1. Beth August 22, 2013 at 6:41 am - Reply

    The Minnesota State Fair truly IS the best! Don’t miss Pork Chop on a stick & take home a jar of seasoning! Also Sweet Martha’s Cookies with a big cup of fresh milk! Oh, and Tom Thumb mini donuts – those fit in carry-ons nicely! Cheese curds, cow barn, horse barn, baby pigs feeding on huge mama’s. Dern, I wish we were going this year! Have a super time!!!

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      Amy August 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the list … can’t wait to explore!

  2. Beth August 22, 2013 at 6:43 am - Reply

    Oh, and Christmas trees, carvings of the princesses in butter, botanical beauty… Sorry, I’m carried away! ;)

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      Amy August 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      You’re in good company!

  3. Michelle August 22, 2013 at 7:06 am - Reply

    I loved cheesecake on a stick…someone else made margaritas on a stick as well. Have fun.

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      Amy August 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      Now BOTH of those sound yummy!

  4. Jolene August 22, 2013 at 7:22 am - Reply

    Scotch eggs. They’re not on a stick but worth traveling from China for. Enjoy the fair! Check out the butter heads and the quilts. Enjoy the miracle of birth center and have a blast!

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      Amy August 22, 2013 at 5:25 pm - Reply

      Love the tips!!

  5. Jo August 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    I can’t fathom actually WANTING to go to the Minnesota State Fair. And I’m a MInnesotan! Looking forward to seeing you, though.

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      Amy August 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm - Reply

      Well some people just lack imagination :)

    • Beth August 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      Jo – It must be the transplants and their friends from far away that love it SO! We don’t have anything remotely close in GA. Thankful for “better than family” up there for 29 years!

  6. Denise August 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Amy! I am in MN right now, but we don’t have time to go to the fair, so eat a corn dog for me! I love the creative arts building where everyone shows off their quilts, knitting, woodworking etc. Don’t miss it!

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      Amy August 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Creative arts! and corn dogs! I may never leave :)

  7. Amy August 23, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Been to the MN state fair several times as a kid (MN family) so I agree, it is good!

  8. Mike August 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    “There was evening and morning, another day.”

    This sentence grabbed me, Amy, because that’s where I am right now. Yesterday we just returned to China from a great summer of re-connecting with family to begin another year. And I keep telling myself that’s all it is, another year, just the latest in a long string of many wonderful years of living in China. Not a big test to see if my new energy level is sufficient to continue teaching. No, no test. Just another year. Calm my anxious heart.

    And there was evening and morning, another day. Another year.

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      Amy August 24, 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Oh Mike.

      In an odd, unmedical way, I relate. That’s what I kept telling myself all last year — it was just another year. And there is such truth in that. I appreciate how the Father often doesn’t show us too much of the plan. Just enough. Will be remembering you and W!

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