Duluth and the Meaning of Home – by Joseph Ehrich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports
Via Wikipedia: Randen Pederson from Superior – Middletown Arrives at Dusk, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duluth,_Minnesota
Being in Duluth has been the highlight of my life because it has given me the joys and thrills of a big city. This city lies upon Lake Superior in all its glory where the endless sea of blue goes beyond the horizon and adds a sense of mystery to the beholder. Duluth offers the aspects of living the big city life while also being close to nature where beautiful state parks like Gooseberry and Tettegouche allow visitors to experience the wonders of nature. This mix makes the city of Duluth unique and it holds the spirit of adventure for the inhabitants who live here. As a little kid, my parents would drive me up to Duluth and I would jump with joy in the backseat of the car. Once we got into Duluth, my breath would be taken away as I witnessed the majestic presence of Lake Superior. Along the shoreline lay a beautiful historic city that represents the best of Northern Minnesota.
For me, Duluth is now my home as it gives me the joy and the excitement that I have desired for most of my life. Duluth is a big city but is small enough that you can explore most of the city in a few days and it is very hard to get lost. If you ever get lost, you can always guide yourself by looking at Lake Superior or go up the hill to find your location. My parents’ house in Stacy is still also my home as my parents and siblings still live there. I am always welcome home in Stacy if something unexpected happens, and my loved ones will always make me feel I belonged. The College of St. Scholastica is the basis of my home currently, where I can go study in the library for hours at a time and hang out with my friends who accept me for who I am. Overall, my idea of home has changed since I came up here to Duluth for college. Because of my education I have become more knowledgeable of the world around me and have met amazing people on campus.
Even to this day, I am still struck by the sight of Lake Superior in all of its wondrous glory. Duluth has always felt like my home even though I live two and a half hours south of it. Growing up, Duluth always allowed me to feel happy or adventurous and it allowed me to get away from the problems of the world. My favorite part of Duluth is walking along the breakwater and observing the historic part of Canal Park, which is rich in history and character. For me, home is where you are allowed to be the person that you desire to be without the fear of being judged. Feeling free and outgoing in a place which gives you joy is the definition of home. Growing up, I always felt more at home in Duluth than I did in my hometown of Stacy, which offered very little to do. Duluth offers the prospects of freedom, the great outdoors, and represents the unique culture of Minnesota. The city of Duluth has played such a big part of my life that it made me decide to come St. Scholastica where I would be able to enjoy Duluth and the wonders of college.
Joseph Ehrich is a Nursing major currently enrolled in Professor Liang’s upper division research intensive Global Human Rights course. He submitted this essay in response to an earlier NSR article about Duluth and the meaning of home, at https://northstarreports.org/2018/09/26/duluth-beauty-gratitude-and-the-meaning-of-home-by-rachel-weyenberg-the-north-star-reports-global-citizenship-and-digital-literacy-at-northstarreports-org-and-facebook-com-northstarrep/
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41 responses to “Duluth and the Meaning of Home – by Joseph Ehrich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports”
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Joseph, thank you very much for sharing your story. This is truly a wonderful depiction of what Duluth has to offer to its citizens, as well as those who has an adventurous soul. Though I do not clearly love Duluth as much as you, I do appreciate this city. All the beauty, diversity, sense of community, and opportunities have made my three and a half years of living here quite enjoyable. While I do not ever see myself living here permanently, I too, feel like this place will always feel like “home”. Do you think this is the place you want to settle down? I think there is always some place in Duluth or around Duluth that you can go to and explore or visit, so I’m sure you would never be bored! Thanks for your article.
Thank you, Joseph, for this intriguing report! Your depiction of Duluth and your great passion for all of Duluth’s unique characteristics make myself ponder and reevaluate how fortunate I am to live in a city of much aw. From the lake to the college, I think you have nailed the exact understanding of what “home” is not only suppose to look like, but what home is suppose to feel like. A sense of love and security pioneered on the back of community by people that serve the greater Duluth community. One of my favorite activities I love to do in Duluth is simply to attend as many community events as possible to interact with the very unique community members. I say “unique community members” with great love and respect for the people of Duluth, however, there is something about Duluthians that makes them stand out among the rest of Minnesotans. I have never met so many people in one area feel the urge to become so passionate about local government and the actions that revolve around the Duluth area. Because of these attributes, the meaning of home in strengthened by the intense community involvement and I am happy to be part of this big Duluth family.
Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate your definition of home; “home is where you are allowed to be the person that you desire to be without the fear of being judged.” I, too, have been thinking a lot about home lately, and I think you’re onto something. I think that home is transcendent of boundaries. Rather than a stagnant place of citizenship, it is an inherent connection to a place and time. Duluth has been my home for 3.5 years now, and will continue to be ‘home’ for the rest of my life, but so will Roseau, MN, and so will wherever I end up in the future. This idea is why I have so much trouble with borders and strict boundaries that we put in place. I understand the need for this structure, but we aren’t doing a number of things right. I think we could be more dynamic and fluid, without necessarily allowing people to have 8 passports. What do you think?
Joseph, thank you for such a heartfelt description of Duluth, it really communicates everything the city has to offer. Duluth often feels like the best of both worlds, I would have to agree. Beautiful opportunities to be in nature at seemingly every turn mixed with lively urban activities really does encompass the reality of living in this wonderful city. Being able to experience aspects of city life and the familiar feel of my rural hometown is great, and its wonderful to hear others enjoying the area in the same ways I am able to.
I relate a lot to most of the things you said about Duluth being home. When I was a kid, my family used to take day trips to Duluth because it is the city that my parents have always wanted to live in but never moved because of their jobs. My dad still talks about retiring in Duluth and when both my brother and I chose to go to school in Duluth my parents almost followed us. I love that you mentioned the breathtaking view of the Lake and city as you come into town or even when you are leaving town. I’ve seen that view hundreds of times, but it never stops being awe-inspiring and beautiful. I also enjoy seeing the city at night because of the lights that surround the Lake. I too feel more at home in Duluth than I do when I return to my hometown. Duluth is a place I could see myself living in long after school ends, but my hometown is not a place I’ll settle in. However, going to my house where my parents and dogs live is home for me.
I like how you vividly paint an image of what Duluth is to you. I imagine if I had never been to Duluth before and I try to image what it might look like, I would have a fairly good idea just from the description you provide. I liked how you talked about how Duluth gave you the freedom that your hometown could not and therefore started to feel like home to you. I also grew up in a small town and I can identify a lot of things in this article that relate to me. I love Duluth for all of its culture, beauty and nature.
I really enjoyed your article and your viewpoints of Duluth and Scholastica as your home. The imagery of Duluth was represented greatly in your article. I also still get chills from the sight of Lake Superior. It is such a beautiful city on such a great lake. I think Duluth is an amazing place and a possible home for many of the college students present. Home is a difficult subject to talk about because many people have different ideas on what home is. I am at my Grandmas for Thanksgiving right now and see a sign that I think explains part of the idea of what home is. The sign says, “Home is where the heart is.” I think that anywhere we feel loved and appreciated is our home and I think this means we can have multiple. Thanks and have a good holiday.
I was very intrigued by your analysis of how the definition of home is changed by what you experience in that area. I think we all have a given home, but when we become mature enough we are able to locate ourselves somewhere we feel comfortable. I am also always taken back when I see Lake Superior and the unrestricted beauty of it all. There is an unmistakable feeling throughout Duluth that also makes me seem to forget about all other things.
I relate to this article in multiple ways. My parents home is in Sartell, Minnesota which will always be my “Home.” Now that I have lived in Duluth for almost three years this is the place I feel most comfortable. It is really nice to be able to start a new life in a different town. The college has helped me develop into an adult and recognize and experience things I would have never had the chance to in Sartell. Duluth is one of my homes because my friends, teammates, and community are here. I agree Duluth has opened so many opportunities for me and I will always be grateful for that!
Thank you for your thoughts!
I like your idea of feeling more at home in an area that you may not have been born into. I grew up near Duluth, but your idea brings up the concept of home and how it is viewed and formulated. I also enjoy your idea that home is an area where people feel free to feel joy and be themselves without the criticism of others. Duluth is a beautiful city, and although I did not always understand that growing up, I have come to appreciate the city that I call home. I plan to live abroad many years of my life as an adult, but I will always consider Duluth to be my home.
Thank you Joseph, your story reminded me of what we have been talking about in Professor Liang’s Poli Sci class about where we call home. Your story also reminded me of when I was younger. I live an hour north but always came to Duluth because there was more to do. I first went to college in the cities, but I started to realize how I took Duluth for granted, and I started to miss it. It is right in the middle of a small town and bigger city. Very good thoughts, thank you for sharing!
Joseph, I love this take on Duluth and how it has become home for you. I really enjoy hearing other’s perspectives on living in Duluth–it is easy to forget that growing up in a city on a Great Lake is not an experience everyone has, and I try to remember how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city. Your descriptions of Lake Superior, Canal Park, and all of the nature available around Duluth makes me picture those places and think about all the memories I have there. I understand what you mean when you say, “home is where you are allowed to be the person that you desire to be without the fear of being judged,” because I feel this way mostly when I’m with my family and close friends, but I feel it on Scholastica’s campus too. Thank you for sharing!
Hello Joseph, thank you for sharing your experience and reflecting on your time so far in Duluth and at CSS. It has been a pleasure to get to know you the past two years and it is always great to see you in the library! I also believe that Duluth is a home to many, especially College students who choose to attend one of the area schools for two or four years. I also find it fascinating how many students who are from the twin ports area end up staying in Duluth for College because they love the area so much. There is certainly something special about the city of Duluth, as it has so much to offer. From tourist attractions to opportunities for people to explore the great outdoors, whether that be mountain biking, skiing, running, hiking, rock climbing, boating, and so many other outdoor activities. I also feel fortunate to call Duluth my home at the present moment and I have always felt welcomed by the CSS and Duluth community.
I love your enthusiasm about Duluth. Your word choices really reflect your feelings. In our class alone we have looked at different ways that people look at and define home. Personally, I believe it is a phenomenon that changes from person to person. However, I have to agree with you on some of the definition behind the notion of home. To me, home is about the people in a certain place. Like you said you still consider Stacy home for your family still resides there. With that said, home for me shifts from time to time, due to the fact that I was born in one place, migrated to another and moved for school. Thus being born in Kenya and having a majority of the family still there, I consider it my concrete home. A second home would then be where my immediate family stays which is Brooklyn Center, although I am often hesitant to call it home for it does not have the same feeling as Kenya. As for Scholastica, I like to think of it as a home, but this has been harder and harder because most of the people that made it feel like home have been moving away. Overall, I think the sense of home is a unique phenomenon and I was glad to read about your expression of the idea. Thank you.
Like many kids that grow up within a reasonable drive time away from Duluth, it was always a treat to get the chance to spend some time in the great town. Duluth is just the right size of town where it offers much of the culture of a large city, but not large enough where it seems like you cannot get away. Being up on the hill, one almost forgets that near the water lies so much business. Since I moved into the dorms on campus my freshman year, I have spent every summer in Duluth and now definitely consider it my home. Thank you for sharing the very relatable story about your time in Duluth!
Thanks for sharing this article about your new hometown! I strongly believe that the feeling of being at home can be something very different than solely being where one comes from. I think you illustrate this pretty clearly in how you describe how even though you now consider Duluth to be home, that does not prevent your family’s house in Stacy to be another place you call home.
I guess that the most important factors in what one calls home varies a lot from person to person, but I believe that a sense of coherence and belonging could be a commonly recurring theme. From what I can see in your text, this is an important part of both your homes; the family in Stacy and the friends and the education in Duluth. I’m glad to hear that you seem be thriving in this city, it is definitely a beautiful place!
Thank you for sharing your story of how you came to consider Duluth your home. In your article, you captured very well the concept that home is whatever or wherever you decide. I have come to understand this as well. I moved around a lot as a kid, so I came to understand that no matter where you live, you take your home with you. I suppose home is much less tangible than we usually think. Home is so important to us, and when we discover new or additional homes our concept of it broadens. I think it is great that you have found another home in Duluth.
Thank you for your story of Duluth being home. I have often felt this way during my time in Duluth as well. As I am applying for graduate school and realizing that Duluth will no longer be my place of living for a period of time, I am finding myself really feeling attached to the city. Duluth has been a place of great growth for me, personally and academically, and I want to in my last semester really give back to this community that has given me so much. I really resonated with many of the ideas that you presented in your article, especially the fact that Duluth has always felt like home even though your actual home is far away. My actual home is over four hours away from Duluth, but Duluth has been a big part of my life since I was young.
I enjoyed reading this article because I do share some similar thoughts as you. For me Duluth is not my home however Minnesota has become a place I would like to stay when I graduate. My home will forever be Calgary where I have grown out but Minnesota is a close second for me. I also love the views and beauty that Duluth offers and Lake Superior is amazing. I love how you highlighted the fact that although you decided to call Duluth home you will always be welcome to go home whenever you please.
Thank you again for sharing, Tessa
Thank you for sharing your story with us. I find it really interesting that you always felt that Duluth was your home, even when you did not necessarily live there. That’s an idea that we’ve been talking a lot about is Poli Sci. I like seeing how some people can spend a short time in a particular place and it is instantly their home, whereas others can spend years and years in a place and still feel as though it is not their home. I am one of those people that fall into the latter category. I have been in Duluth now for 4 years, and I still feel as though it is not my home. I always long to go back to my small hometown, because that’s where I feel my home is. I’m glad you found your home and it sounds like you absolutely love it. Good for you! Thanks for sharing.
It seems as if you and I love Duluth for the same reasons — one of them being I am directionally challenged, so the juxtaposition of up and down the hill is helpful for when I get lost. In addition to the parks you mentioned, I love how many parks and trails are within the city itself. I recently read that within the city limits there’s over 150 miles of trails. It definitely is a good fit for those who like to adventure.
Since Duluth has become your home, do you anticipate staying here after your time at CSS comes to a close? Or will you be off on another adventure?
It is good to see that you are feeling at home here in the north. I admire those that can go into a new environment and call it home. My disposition is different, but my identity from home is very strong and a large part of who I am. I am curious if, being that you call Duluth home, when you have a break to you go “back home” or are you going to “visit your parents”. I don’t find this to be a large distinction in the grand scheme of things but I would be interested to know the answer. Have a great rest of your year at Scholastica. Cor et Anima.
I like how you talk about your home as being in two places. It fits very well with how we have talked about what home is in our class. I agree, as a kid i always loved coming up to Duluth and the North Shore, it was always a way to escape from what was happening down in the cities. I feel the same way now too, with how CSS has made Duluth my home and well I do go back to the cities time to time, it feels more like home here now. It really makes you think how other people feel about their “homes” if it is truly home or if they are missing something.
I really enjoyed your article on Duluth and what the city means for you. As a kid I also came up to Duluth also with my family on trips and usually went to canal and other areas up the north shore. When I moved up here for college a few years ago it was a great experience and brought back a lot of memories of when I was a kid. I remember driving around certain roads and areas in the city and remembered being their or going to certain spots when I was younger, but now I could call this area my home and not just a vacation spot. I found it interesting that you wrote Duluth is such a big city because I come a suburb right outside the Twin Cities and have spent a lot of time their so Duluth seemed more small to me. I do love the feel of the city being mixed in with all the nature and outdoor activities to do. College is a neat time in life because you can feel connected to where you live now and go to school but can also feel very connected to your hometown since you spent most of your life their.
Thanks for this article, Joseph. The idea of feeling more at home away from home is something I’ve struggled with since I started at CSS. I am from Duluth, but the difference between campus and home is stark. Your definition of home being the place you’re allowed to be yourself is really beautiful to me, because it resonates well with my situation. Using Lake Superior as a point of orientation in Duluth is common for even those who live here. I can see the lake from my house in Lincoln Park, and I can see the lake from campus. Having such a large body of water near by helps with my sense of home as well. Even while traveling abroad, I was always most comfortable where I could see a lake, river, stretch of ocean, etc, because it’s always been my point of orientation even at home in Duluth. I do always love hearing from people from smaller towns who consider Duluth a big city. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve lived here for 22 years, or if it’s because I’ve briefly visited bigger cities, but I can’t consider Duluth big. The part that makes it feel the biggest is the transportation situation, but that could be a whole article on its own. Thanks again!
I can’t agree with you enough about Duluth being home now. I moved here to Duluth from West Central Minnesota (about a 6 hour drive). The landscape, the culture, and experiences could not be more different from my hometown. Here in Duluth, I definitley feel more welcomed, and more at ease than I ever did before. There is a sense of acceptence you usually can’t get in a small town. The ‘big city’ feel is very real for me also. Having access to so many different activities and such really makes the difference when trying to consider Duluth home.
Joseph, thanks for sharing your story. Since I have lived in Duluth my entire life, I find it very interesting to hear other people’s perspectives of the city. Like you mentioned, I also love being so close to nature as it is a great escape from the stresses of the city. I find it amazing how people can be so drawn to certain places and spaces, whether they are familiar or not. Are you planning on staying in Duluth after you graduate from St. Scholastica or is there another city you would like to move to?
This article made me realize how fortunate I am to go to school in Duluth. I am from the St.Paul so coming to Duluth felt like a smaller town since I so used to the chaos of the Twin Cities. At times, I regretted coming to Duluth for college because I missed the cities so much. After thinking about my experience here more in depth, I am so happy that I decided to come to college in Duluth. I have meant so many amazing people and professors that have helped me adapt to college life. The town is beautiful and has a lot to offer. I am glad you found a place that you can call home!
Thank you for sharing your story! Since I moved to Duluth, I have felt more at home than I ever felt in Pine City, where I grew up. Duluth has so much to offer and is the place to be for people who are looking for an adventure. With Duluth’s rich history, it has attracted many tourists over the years! My family used to take me here on a vacation when I was little too! Now that I am older, the ride feels shorter than it did as a kid, but I still love to visit the same sites my parents took me to even today.
I may be the exact opposite. I do not like living in Duluth at all. Not to say parts of Duluth are enjoyable to be in at times, but taken as a whole, I cannot imagine calling it home. I grew up in Bloomington, MN and my family did not travel to Duluth much. We traveled in the winter for ski racing across the country and I was lucky enough to find places that truly felt like their arms were wide open. Duluth has never given me that feeling. I will occasionally wake up thinking I’m at one of the places that I traveled to for skiing, but only stayed for a week. Waking up in Duluth is closer to a nightmare for me.
I like your positive view on the city of Duluth and your life’s path so far. It is good to live without wondering whether or not you are in the right place. I had a similar experience with Duluth growing up. I am from Champlin, MN but my mother grew up in Silver Bay, MN about an hour down the shore from Duluth. I spent a considerable amount of time in the Arrowhead region on Minnesota and have always felt a really deep connection to nature here. However, I also enjoy the bustle of Minneapolis. Because Duluth’s topography is so unpredictable I kind of dread living here for any longer than I really need to and I plan on finding a similar city in a warmer climate. Like you, I enjoy the incorporation of nature in this city; I want to chase that wherever I go.
Thank you for sharing your story and best wishes,
Thank you so much for this personal message on what you think of home is. I can relate with idea because my parents also brought me to Duluth, to explore the great north. I will always be appreciative of my home and Duluth but I am still looking for more
Thank you for sharing your amazing experiences with Duluth now and as a child. I have had a very similar experience. When I was younger, Duluth was always a family trip that I looked forward to. When my sister was old enough to go the college, she chose the College of St. Scholastica. This made me fall in love with Duluth even more because she made it feel like a second home for my family. Once it was my turn to attend college, there was no doubt that I would be attending CSS. Duluth offers many different opportunities that my home town never did. I have loved all four years that I have been lucky enough to live here. The history book “Worlds together Worlds Apart” states that traveling increased interactions with other populations giving those that travel an advantage (Tignor, 226). This is still prevalent today. With travel and new adventures brings increased knowledge and experiences. Thank you so much for sharing.
It was really cool to read how people view Duluth as I have spent almost my entire life here. I completely agree that standing at the shore of Lake Superior can feel like looking out at a sea with no end. We have quite the mix of an urbanized downtown and canal but yet we are still surrounded by forests and parks. I agree Duluth is the best of both worlds with everything it has to offer and that is part of why I did not feel I needed to escape my hometown. Lake Superior also reminds me of some things I am currently reading on earlier civilizations in Tignor et al.’s “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (2018).” We use lake superior as a resource for water, fishing, and as a main route of trade. Since our climate has such harsh changes season to season we don’t rely on Lake Superior as a resource for agriculture. When looking at different climates and civilizations water was largely relied on for agriculture. As Tignor et al. discuss, the Qin Dynasty involved lots of irrigation systems to increase the lands being used for cultivation. Both the Han and Qin Dynasties relied on the peasant farmers and their crops, which served as an economic foundation of the Chinese empire (p.242, 2018). It is interesting to look at how heavily economy and civilization relied on water for agriculture compared to how today in Duluth it is mainly just for trade. Although it is plain to see we enjoy many activities and benefits of living so close to a large source of fresh water.
Thank you for sharing your story! I am from the cities and share a similar story to yours. Even though my family is in the cities, I find that I feel more at home in Duluth. I never felt that way until my now, my junior year here at Scholastica. I have seen more of Duluth and all of its amazing things to offer. I also agree that Duluth is a perfect size because there is so much to see and do but not big enough to get lost. When I was reading my textbook, it brought up that roads increased communication and trading between groups. (Tignor, 2018, pg. 250) I can’t help but think of I-35 and how it lead me to meet so many amazing people and view the beauty that Duluth has to offer.
Thank you for your post!
Thank you for sharing your story! I am from a small down 4 hours south of Duluth. Visiting CSS was the first time I had been up here. I instantly fell in love and felt at home. After reading Tignor et. al (2018), I think of transportation and what led me to be able to get up here. I compare I35 to the Silk Road. Roads have opened humans up to be able to travel may different places. Technology has allowed us to advance and be able to fly places as well. Thank you for your post!
Thank you for sharing your experience, and what home means to you. I loved you example telling us about how you can be who you are in your home, without people judging you. I agree to this statement 100%, because back home, in Vancouver B.C. I feel way more comfortable with myself, than when I am out here in Duluth. I find it interesting on how you think that Duluth is a big city. Where I am from, the city is way bigger than Duluth and can be sorta of overwhelming at times. Living in Duluth gives me the small town vibe because I feel like I can never get lost out here. I have always been so interested in how Duluth is on lake superior and how important travel and trade are to these types of communities. In the text, they are always mentioning how the developed to ways to travel and trade with places so far away. Duluth being right on the water has such a massive advantage over other cities.
I am very happy that Duluth can play that role in your life, and I hope that it continues to do so,
Thanks for sharing
I really enjoyed reading your article about what Duluth means to you, as I can relate to much of it since I was born and raised in Duluth! Because I have lived here my whole life, I feel like I really take how beautiful Duluth is for granted – and how amazing Lake Superior is! Like how Lake Superior is so important to Duluth for providing trade and transportation, the Red Sea and Indian Ocean were important for the Silk Road in Afro-Eurasia. I read about this in Worlds Together, Worlds Apart by Tignor et al – “Using new navigational techniques and larger ships, sea-fares eventually expanded the transport of Silk Road commodities via the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean” (Tignor et al., 2018, p. 232). Like the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, we utilize Lake Superior for much of our trade as well. Great post!
I loved reading this so much. As a Duluth native, I share so many of your sentiments, and I truly love showing people who are not from the area all the beauty that Duluth has to offer. I think it is amazing to think about what a large port and vital part of the shipping industry it is despite the fact that it is not a huge city. I think that is part of what makes it so special. It made me think of something we learned about in our Tignor history book, the city of Novgorod. It was described as “a vibrant trading center with a diverse population” (Tignor p. 379). In a way, that makes me think of Duluth. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts about home!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and touching stories about the meaning of home for you. I am also fortunate enough to call Duluth my home. Before I went to CSS, I went to a school in Sioux City, IA which is seven hours away from Duluth. When I was away from Duluth for a couple of months, I realized how I took Duluth for granted and that it was an irreplaceable destination that I was fortunate enough to call home.
“The new cities were melting pots of considerable social mobility – despite the rigid caste system. Yet the opportunities for social mobility did not ensure success for everyone” (Tignor et al., 2018, p. 172). As you mentioned earlier, you did not have as much opportunity in your original home town of Stacy compared to that of Duluth. Luckily, today, we have a lot more opportunities to take advantage of then ever before, as you were able to venture out to Duluth.