Posted at March 22, 2014

7 Things Newcomers Should Know About North Dakota

20120730_134146 (2)So, you’ve left your home and roots to travel to this new land. Whatever the reasons, you are here taking part in this historical moment in time. Whether a newcomer or an old timer, here are 7 things that you should know about North Dakota.


The first thing any newcomer to North Dakota should know is that you are not alone. Every person I’ve met that has settled here, whether last week or 20 years ago has felt what you are feeling now. Just know, change is hard, but change can be great if you give it a chance.


Once you’ve settled in, you might notice that some things are done differently here in the Dakota’s. You might ask your self why? For example, the pine trees that are planted in very long rows throughout the fields. Yes, they are wind breakers, you might have also noticed this glorious wind that is almost constantly blowing. Don’t fret because there is an upside to everything, while western North Dakota is said to be one of the windiest places around, it also has the cleanest air in the Nation. So if you suffer from allergies this wind could be a real blessing.

The second purpose those long rows of trees have, is soil conservation. Protecting that precious layer of top soil is extremely important to farmers. Thus you will see these trees planted in fields in the middle of nowhere.


The third thing newcomers should know is; even though it may not look like it, the roads do get plowed in the winter. However, they do not get salted. Apparently salting does little good in these subzero climates because it will turn into an ice slick along with everything else. The best way  to combat the ice is to sprinkle dirt or sand over it for traction, who knew!


Fourth thing to keep in mind is that all stores are closed until twelve o’clock on Sunday. This is actually a law so that employees can go to church services if they choose. North Dakota has the highest church going population and the most churches per capita in the US. Though inconvenient, once you’re used to this law, it’s nice to help you slow down and focus on what really matters without the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


It’s one of the only places where you’ll find The Ten Commandments posted throughout the state on the sides of highways and in cities, this is one of the reasons I love it here. Most of the people are hearty and not afraid to stand up for their beliefs, they can post them on the side of the highway without worrying about being politically correct or offending anyone. Because honestly, if anyone takes offense, it’s their own problem. Maybe all this clean air has cleaned up their thinking and given them a good dose of common sense. Almost every local person you talk to, no matter what their religion, is pretty laid back and has good common sense. I love it!


Rent is outrageous anywhere West of Bismarck! I guess that is one of the prices you pay to live in a booming state where economic growth is at an all time high. Aside from the crazy long, cold winters, this is peoples’ number one complaint. If rent prices were reasonable, it just might be perfect here! In all fairness though, if I had a rental property I would probably do the same so I can’t gripe about it too much. There are some reasonable landlords though who will rent their properties for less if you look like a responsible person that will take care of it. Also, many employers provide company housing so it’s all about finding the right job.


Last, but not least as you may know, the winters in North Dakota can be harsh and unpredictable. One day it will be a lovely 32 degrees F, and the next could be a bitter -12, it helps to be prepared. Make sure you have what it takes to be safe while driving. Have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide leaks. Most of all get some vitamin D!

Because of the lack of sunshine in winter, most people are deficient in vitamin D, this can lead to many problems including depression. I found an awesome article on Dr. Mercola’s website about vitamin D deficiency and I personally know that getting some UVB exposure or taking a vitamin D supplement makes a world of difference! I cannot overstate this, I spent two very long winters here before discovering that taking one drop of vitamin D under my tongue a day would change my whole perspective on life. If you find yourself hating life in North Dakota you just might have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this is another fancy term for depression. As I found out the hard way, this SAD does not only affect you in winter. It can carry over into the summer months and before you know it, it’s winter again. This vicious cycle can be stopped, take some vitamin D!

I hope you have found some useful information here that will help clear up any confusion and help you to start LOVING North Dakota. Please share your thoughts and feelings on the subject, I’d love to hear from you.


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