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North Dakota … Home Away From Home

Posted by Shauna McNaughton 4/10/2018

I am what a North Dakotan would consider to be an “out-of-stater.” In fact, I’m so far out-of-state its practically like I’m from another country. Well actually, I am from another country. I come from the great, white, friendly, not-so-far-away, neighbors to the north, Canada. However, over the past five and a half years, North Dakota has become a very important place to me. 

It all started when I came down to Dickinson, N.D. in search of adventures, life experiences and stories I could tell my grandchildren. I attended Dickinson State University where I got a degree in natural resource management and communications and spent four and a half years meeting friends I could never forget, professors I wish I could and undergoing more challenges, adventures and life experiences than I could have possibly imagined.

In the beginning, I seemed to notice all the differences that separated native North Dakotans from those of us who were imports. The different pronunciation of words, the different holidays and the lack of certain foods were just some examples of topics that were always heavily debated. However, as time went on I tended to forget about the differences and instead started to appreciate the things we had in common such as our strong sense of community, pride in heritage, and unwavering ability to come to a friend in need.

As with the best laid plans, mine took a drastic change somewhere in my junior year of college when I began dating a dashing rancher from South Dakota. Therefore, when I graduated from college and got engaged, I stayed and worked in Bismarck until our wedding. North Dakota continued to grow on me as I spent more time on the Missouri River and traveled to unique and interesting places around the state.

Today, as I prepare to leave North Dakota for the last time I reflect on how much this state has become a home to me. I have spent all four seasons here, gone on road trips, embraced the holiday of Black Friday and celebrated both Canadian and American Thanksgivings. My friends have gotten married in this state and started their families here and now when I drive through Dickinson I get the calm feeling you get when you visit a place that holds so many of your important memories and has played such an integral part of shaping who you are. I will always appreciate the time that I have spent in this great state and the many wonderful people that I have met along the way. Being as North Dakota is conveniently situated between Canada and South Dakota, I have a feeling I will always be driving through my home away from home.


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