Not many people can write "Home Sweet Home" about North Dakota since less than 650,000 people reside in the entire state. However, because I lived there for four happy winters (everything is measured in winters in North Dakota), I practically consider myself a resident. North Dakota is one of the few states in the nation whose population actually declines every year. I left over five years ago and haven't been back. Amazingly, that changed last week when we stopped in Grand Forks for work.
I must say, flying in a gorgeous Beechjet to the same airport I trained as a young whippersnapper was an incredible experience.
Grand Forks is home to the University of North Dakota, where I finished my Bachelor's of Science in Commercial Aviation. I moved practically to Canada in January 2002 and graduated with my four-year degree in December 2004. Moving there in the dead of winter might not have been the best decision I've ever made, but attending UND's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences was. I have nothing but great memories of my education and loved every moment I was there, whether is was as a flight student or a flight instructor for the school.
You can imagine my excitement when I learned that we were headed to Grand Forks, North Dakota for the night to clear Customs. Talk about butterflies!
Unfortunately, we weren't in town long enough for me to visit people or places. We landed around 9:00 PM and were harassed by Customs for about half an hour. By the time we got to the hotel, it was almost ten. Big Boss wasn't hungry, so the rest of us piled into a car and drove five miles to the other side of town. Actually, The Blue Moose restaurant in located in another state, since it is in East Grand Forks, Minnesota just across the Red River. I was pretty giddy driving past so many landmarks that hadn't changed since I left.
We had an incredible dinner of tapas before heading back to the hotel. The builders announced the plans for this CanadInns just a few months before I moved away, and the whole town was excited because of its indoor water park. Year-round swimming despite temperatures fifty-below-zero? Yes, please!
We left bright and early the next morning, being at the airport at 8:00 AM. I was pretty disappointed that I couldn't go visit all my teachers in the flight department. It just gave me more motivation to head up for a weekend on my own!
Though I was only in town for a few hours, I had a wonderful time reliving so many great memories. I'm not biased in the least when I confess that I attended the greatest flight school in the nation! In the world! Where else can you get a world-class education while paying $1,300 a semester for tuition?!