Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | November 28, 2016

You can’t go home again? We’ll see about that.

True to the name of this blog, we’re on the move again. This time, we’re heading back to Minnesota.

We have told many of our friends, families and acquaintances about this move. This blog post is the official acknowledgement. The move is either three months or two years in the making. Our conversation — and contemplation — for this move started sometime this summer, around the midpoint of my cross-country bike trip.

Here’s a quick historical summary:

  • 1991: After the collapse of The National Sports Daily, we flee New York, jobless and with few prospects and no money. After a short interlude, I land a job at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Melody, our daughter Jenna (then just 2) and I head to Minnesota. We are quickly greeted by the Halloween Blizzard of 1991, giving us the rude welcome we couldn’t have anticipated. But we stick it out and Saint Paul becomes our home, I’m happy in my work and Melody becomes an accomplished filmmaker.

    74562_1507441644647_1192473030_1144922_5556022_n

    Family!

  • 2011: After 20 years at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, our daughter graduates from college and we head to Bulgaria in search of adventure, life-expanding experiences and new opportunities. What started out as a one-year lark turns into a four-year love affair with the American University in Bulgaria, our many colleagues, and our smart, engaging and lovely students. It’s a second home to us now, but after four years, the pull to return to the United States is strong.

    JMC Rocks

    There was always lots of love and laughter at AUBG.

  • 2015: We buy a small condo in Chicago with a fabulous view of Lake Michigan, making up for the loss of our Southwestern Bulgaria mountain views. Why Chicago? Well, our daughter has moved here after college and when we buy the condo we think, maybe, she’ll be around when we get back. Nope. Even before we return, she moves to New York for a new job — and for love — and we are left with Chicago. It’s a great city. Lots to love about it. But ….

    Chicago sunrise, jpeg

    Sunrise from the balcony in Chicago.

  • The present: At the end of December, we’ll leave our condo (in the care of a renter), put our stuff in storage — again — and head back to a city filled with great friends, whom we love, and the kinds of professional contacts we hope will yield more stable employment than what we’ve been able to muster here in Chicago.

So, how did this happen?

Quite simply, we realized Minnesota is home. I’m from Milwaukee. Melody’s from Washington, D.C. And it took us five years, two countries and countless plane trips to figure it out, but there you have it. We’re going home.

Lake selfie

Our good pals Mary and Dan at White Bear Lake.

Beyond the comforts of being around dear, dear friends, the challenge of creating a professional network in a new, major city turned out to be tougher than we expected. I did some freelance work and had one solid stretch with a major agency here. But if we look back on our time in Chicago, the one thing we did that really stands out has nothing to do with the place.

About this time last year, with my professional efforts running into dead ends, I decided to put my efforts into riding my bike. That turned into a winter of training which in turn became the 55 and Alive cross-country bike ride. No regrets.

It was on a break during the ride when we drove up to the Twin Cities to visit friends. It was a quick visit, but we connected to sooooo many friends. On the way back down to Iowa, I turned to Melody (or she turned to me) and we had one of those epiphanies: We should just return to Minnesota, shouldn’t we?

When we left the place in 2011, we figured that was it — new adventures, new challenges, new people and places.

10530864_10100298228434947_1103738427342027091_n

Whether it’s Georgia (the country) or Minnesota (the state), I’ve been lucky to share it all with Melody. More of the same … for as long as it lasts, please.

Turns out, we missed our people. … Melody and I have been pretty unmoored during much of our 30 years of marriage. We met in Wisconsin. We lived in Florida, California and New York before we landed in Minnesota. But those gol’ darned people and that dad-gum place stuck their hooks in us and we didn’t even notice it. (Must have barbless hooks — fishing humor.).

So now we’re heading back. We don’t have jobs (sound familiar?). We don’t have a place to live. But we’re coming anyway. Make room for us, OK? We’ve got some house-sitting gigs in January and March, potentially. If we land work, we’ll find a place to live. If we don’t get work, we might be crashing in YOUR guest room. If you’ll have us.

So keep an eye open for us — and for anyone who might need a writer/editor or a filmmaker/producer/director. Consider this my “will work for food” sign.

 

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Responses

  1. Go get ’em ! You two will slam dunk it. You always do 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. This excites me very much.

    let’s get into trouble!

    CHARLIE GERSZEWSKI / editor-partner CHANNEL Z MINNEAPOLIS | 612.370.0016

    >

  3. Finally. We will have you around. But as life has proved us maybe this time we may move 😉

    >

  4. Mark

    The best will come your way. Hang on and don’t let anything go!

    Rick

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  5. Not surprised. Congratulations on making the decision. Funny how these things work out!

  6. So so so happy and excited for you guys!

  7. Glad my big brother is going to be closer then Bulgaria, at least for a while…

    • Love you, bro. And it’s “than” … haha. Once an editor … I figured I’d point it out before Mom got on here and gave you the business.

      • Jokes on you, I was just testing you!

  8. Of course your dad and I are very happy that you both will be closer THAN,
    [Gary] Bulgaria and even Chicago. Your dad has made it plain that he will not be going anywhere on a plane. So car rides it will be. And quick weekend visits. Can’t wait.

    • I blame my lack of grasp on spelling and proper grammar, and the English language as a whole, not hole, on MPS, and the basketball courts across the street during my youth! No time to study…

  9. What wonderful news. Welcome home, Mark!

  10. Congrats Uncle Mark! I’m glad you are doing something that makes you happy. Hopefully the kids and Emir and I will be able to get out to the Midwest sometime sooner than later. We would love to see you and of course the rest of the fam. Have a safe and easy move back to the twin cities and keep in touch.

  11. Good Luck you two! Your like the glass half full couple, always room for more adventures!


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