Fargo, How I Loathe (Love?) Thee

posted in: the Dahls | 3

I’ve been having this internal debate as of late: What’s So Bad About Fargo, Anyway?

Last weekend, I went to a birthday party hosted by my friend Asraa.  Her children (how crazy is this??) have the same birthday – Ahmed just turned 2 and Azal, 5.  They are New Americans who moved from Iraq to Fargo about a year ago, and when they say party, they are not kidding.  I sat in a living room filled to the brim with women and children, all chattering away to each other in Arabic and broken English (to me, Hadley, and the one Iranian woman who spoke Farsi).  We laughed and danced and ate the most delicious Middle Eastern feast I have ever seen while the men ate and smoked and played a board game (the name of which I can neither pronounce nor remember) in the basement.  It was wonderful.  Seriously.  Could be up there with one of my Favorite. Experiences. Ever. 

So there I was, sitting in this room with these women I could not understand, having this amazing cultural experience, and it occurred to me – I am in Fargo.

Fargo, the place I hate.  The place I can’t wait to leave.  The place that one friend told me I needed to get the heck out of.  The place another friend told me he feared I would never leave if I stayed past this year. 

But why is Fargo so bad?  Why does no one think twice about a person who grows up in Chicago never leaving Chicago, but a person who grows up in Fargo and never leaves is one who never takes risks?  Why is it more of a risk to move somewhere where you might be surrounded by people who are like you, than to stay somewhere where you have to hunt out the relating few?

I don’t really have an answer.  The truth is, living in Fargo feels like Death.  But what if I’m missing something because I’m so busy planning when I can leave?  What if I could have an impact here?  What if I could change the way people think?  What if I could suck it up and actually learn to love and risk and serve and change, right here, in Fargo? 

Really, what’s a few more years?

And why – when I ask that – do I cringe, just a little?

3 Responses

  1. t’s funny how two very different acts are intertwined. leaving and staying both are difficult, easy, welcomed and unforeseen. when dylan and i met in ecuador i never imagined we would come back and begin our new life in north dakota and not somewhere a little more exotic…like illinois at least. 🙂 now, three years later, we’re in california and missing the midwest.
    we’ve been working on our contement capacity. i think that’s the key. being contented doesn’t diminish ambition, but it allows us to settle enough to be affective,positive contributors to life. we’re trying to be more like abram, settling and moving, guided by the holy spirit’s prompting.
    you’re in our prayers.

  2. I’m so glad you are writing again! I wish it was daily…
    I really want to meet Asraa. I’m so proud of you that you found another world right inside of Fargo!

  3. TESTIFY! I share many of those same sentiments with you… When I moved back to Minot, I vowed that I would capitalize on my time here and use it as an opportunity for progress in my life. Acquiring work experience, saving moolah, and pondering my next step in this journey of mine. Sometimes it’s a struggle because life can be so routine, so predictable… And while it really sucks–for lack of better words–to be far from dear friends, it’s a blessing to be near family and to have the time to grow closer with them. It’s also a blessing to have ties to a community and opportunities to get involved with Magic City happenings. But, I am getting more uncomfortable in my comfort zone and am itching to see more and to do more… I’m trying to be patient and wise because I do need to save more before I can explore (with this economy and everything). At the same time, I’m working on my bravery because when the time comes, I’ll still need to take a leap and that can be intimidating. I’m here for about another year and I have lots of work to do…