It’s that time of year when the cool breeze warns us winter is on its way.
After a decade surviving Fargo winters and coming from a country where the idea of cold is 60 degrees, I became a myth among my fellow Brazilians.
When I meet someone from back home, I am always asked: “Is it true you’ve been living here all this time?”
“Yes,” and I always clarify, “I’m not part of the Witness Protection Program — I chose to be here!”
Another common question: “How can I make connections and have fun in Fargo?”
In addition to sharing my favorite places, I encourage them to join a club. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or your hobbies, Fargo has one for you.
I made great connections through a book club, but now that I’ve made longtime friends, honestly, I got tired of reading books I didn’t really want to read. So, I decided to do what the comedian Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”
But, there is one “secret club” I wasn’t aware of.
I discovered it last year, when my husband was invited to toss the coin at a Bison football game. Before the game, one of his friends invited us to do something I’ve never done before called “tailgating.”
When we got there, my eyes couldn’t believe what I was seeing …
Hundreds of cars and buses decorated in gold and green turned into portable bars in the parking lot next to the stadium, with thousands of people having fun and playing something with a suspicious name called “cornhole” … a true celebration of life!
A woman with a huge smile, green face and horns on her head came at me with open arms screaming “Go Bison!” The next thing I know, I’m in her trailer talking, eating and laughing with my new “Bison friends.”
My heart could hardly take it. I felt like I was at Carnival in Brazil!
I couldn’t understand why my husband never brought me to the best “club” in town. Then, he whispered in my ear, “I’m a UND guy.”
So him bringing me to a Bison game is like me bringing him to cheer for the Argentinian soccer team … it’s not going to happen!
Even though I can understand his position, my Latin blood got so upset for the fun I’ve missed. I said, “UND guy?! Last time I checked we were both boring parents stuck at home watching ‘PAW Patrol’ instead of partying with the funniest people in town!”
When he was walking onto the field in a Bison T-shirt to toss the coin, I felt like screaming: “Traitor! He’s a traitor!”
The Bison fever got to me. A combination of fans, food, families, friends and fiesta — wrapped in a gold-and-green package — warmed my heart and made me feel like I was back home.
So I have advice for anyone who wants to make connections and have fun in a new community. If you decide to belong to a club, find one where people are quick to smile, easy to have fun with, ready to receive you with open arms and, most of all, aren’t afraid to paint their faces and put horns on their heads. This way, no matter where you are or how cold is, you will have a heck of a good time!
And for my fellow Bison … if you are accepting new members, my amigos, I am willing to break my own rule and join your club, because in this town, there is no place like the Bison Fan Club!
Recognized by Glamour magazine as a “Hometown Hero,” Cris Linnares is an international women’s coach, psychologist and Founder of the Flaw Club. She is also a proud Fargo mom, a Brazilian wife of a Midwest man (who happens to be the publisher) and a self-proclaimed global citizen. Contact her at email@example.com.