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The Ten Commandments were painted on the cafeteria wall, and prayers — sometimes called “a moment of silence,” like that fooled anybody — were said before football games and over the intercom during morning announcements.

As a weirdo only child with ­Jewish-Wiccan parents, I was a fish out of water.

Type “snow struggles in New York City” into You Tube to see what I mean.) Among the many things that astonished us about Minneapolis and St. Enormous old trees, winsome rose gardens, lushly manicured parks, sparkling blue lakes, bike lanes everywhere — it’s absolutely gorgeous seven months out of the year. And hey, if the travel writing thing doesn’t work out, we can always look for cubicle jobs at one of the 17 Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Twin Cities — or better yet, start our own business.

What sold us on the other five was how much the locals embrace winter: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat biking, snowmobiling, ice fishing, building bonfires, and turning out in force to see wacky art installations pitched in the middle of a frozen lake. Compared with other metropolises, the cost of living here is affordable enough that you can actually risk being an entrepreneur.

When we visited his family for Christmas, I slept in his childhood bed.

— glowing in Technicolor while the rest of the world turned to gray. The first thing that sold us on Minneapolis and its sister city of St. One of my favorite things about living in New York was riding the subway and hearing conversations in 20 different languages.Every stop gave us an opportunity to slip into a brand-new identity.Did we want to spend Saturday nights down at the rodeo, decked out in cowboy boots and bolo ties in Wimberley, Texas?The locals’ welcoming of outsiders was in step with their liberal political agenda — another plus for us ex–Blue Staters.a lemongrassy chicken soup, at the sprawling Hmong Village market; watched weirdo cult flicks at Trylon Microcinema’s monthly Trash Film Debauchery night; and spent hours wandering the Minneapolis Institute of Art, a.k.a. Importantly, the best bands, comedians, and authors also stopped in the Twin Cities when touring — another thumbs up for the Bold North.

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