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Front Step Project: Lynn & Steve

Welcome to another Columbia Heights Front Step Project brought to you by MarKei Photo & Video. I began this initiative to facilitate connecting the humans in my city, to celebrate our diversity, and share our challenges during this pandemic and beyond. If you’re enjoying this series, please share. To support my photography, like & follow MarKei (on FB, IG, Twitter, &/or YouTube). To be notified of new posts, subscribe at markeiphoto.com. We are still offering socially distant photography in MN, so feel free to reach out!


Say hi to Lynn and Steve!


Lynn has lived in Columbia Heights for 46 years. Steve joined Lynn in CoHi after they married and bought a house here together 10 years ago. Steve retired 6 years ago and Lynn retired 8 years ago.

During the pandemic, Lynn and Steve have been focused on continuing life at a social distance. Lynn goes to the grocery store and post office only when necessary. Steve is a homebody anyways and doesn't really mind hunkering down.

Steve keeps himself busy with his hobby of photography. He even has had some of his work hung in city hall! You can see his work here: https://500px.com/stevennodgaard. He says he loves photography because there's a lot you can learn and there's always new techniques to try. For the last 10 years of Steve's career, he was a consultant for manufacturers and a professional instructor in supply chain management industry. Before that, he was with GE for more than 20 years. And before THAT, he worked in the hotel/restaurant business. But he realized there was more to life than working weekends and holidays, thus the change.


Before Lynn retired, she provided in home daycare for up to 12 children for 19 years. As her children aged she decided seek employment outside the home.  She began working at a screen printing company that was just in the middle of their transition to computers. She wasn't educated in computer use so she attended a vocational school to learn. Later, she went to work in marketing for a large engineering company. When Lynn retired, there were three things she wanted to do: spend time with her aging mother (94), spend time with her grandchildren, and travel. 

COVID 19 has definitely thrown a wrench into Lynn and Steve's retirement plans. They have only been able to see their grandchildren at a social distance. But before the pandemic, they were seeing those little buggers on a weekly basis. Lynn and Steve have three children and 8 grandchildren altogether. They all live local, which is convenient! Lynn has been able to visit with her mom outdoors.


Lynn and Steve were traveling abroad while the news of COVID19 sunk into the US. On March 1st, they left the US for Santiago, Chile. They then flew to Puerto Mont, Chile, picked up a rental car and drove down the coast cutting over into Argentina. Two days into their time in Argentina, they got word that Chile was going to be closing down their borders due to the virus. So they would have trouble getting their rental car back to Puerto Mont. They debated about what to do but finally decided to change their plans and spend time in Argentina, drive the car up the Atlantic coast, and then return the car. Along the route there were roadblocks with officials asking about symptoms. On the 3rd morning, they were stopped and asked for their passports. They were informed that they would be quarantined for 14 days. So they had to turn around, go back, and pack their things. A police escort brought them to a small hotel with a bed and bathroom (no chairs). They were informed they would be there for 14 days. Lynn and Steve committed to making the best of it. They got unpacked, organized, and soon a doctor arrived to interview them. The doctor discovered they'd been in Chile for 8 days so he said they'd only need to quarantine for 4-5 days. They were told they'd be let out of their room once a day to get exercise in the courtyard. However, just a couple of hours later, they were told about a bus that would take them to an airport 3 hours away. They were, however, allowed to grab their rental car and drive it instead to the airport. They got a flight that night that left at 2am for Buenos Aires. From there they had to get a flight to the US and that took a while to arrange. They were able to book to Panama City and from there to Orlando. Had they stayed just a day longer, they would have been under lockdown in Buenos Aires. In Orlando, they were happy to be back in the US. They had been awake for 48 hours and expected to get a hotel and have some time to rest. However, they still had to get a flight to Minneapolis, the ticketing agent was able to get them on a flight home, leaving in 1.5 hours. Apparently, six of the eight flights for the day had already been canceled. They finally got home at 10:30pm. They had originally planned to be in South America for 6 weeks but their trip was cut short only 19 days into it. They remarked with wonder how South America was very responsive to the threat and immediately locked down, but upon their return to the US on March 20th, there was nothing in place.  Lynn and Steve said that Argentina has been doing fairly well managing the pandemic since they TOTALLY locked down from the very beginning: roadblocks and public transportation was totally shut down. They can't wait to return to South America and are looking forward to visiting Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus next. They love to experience different people and cultures and go to places that are off the beaten path, such as Peru, Mexico, India, Sri Lanka, Romania, Philippines, and The Balkans. 


Now that Steve & Lynn are back home and social distancing, Lynn has been busy working with her neighbors planting a naturalized garden on the path around Sullivan Lake, which adjoins their property. The natural plants act as a buffer for the property and protection for the lake plus they add colorful flowers for all to enjoy.  They've also been doing sidewalk chalk art hoping to spread good feelings. Steve says he's just been enjoying his own company, doing photography, and having fun cooking.

Steve and Lynn say that Columbia Heights is an amazing community. Lynn really appreciates meeting the people walking around the lake who stop and talk. There are so many good people out there. 


In the past life was busy but the pandemic has caused them to slow down and reminded them to appreciate what is right around them. They have a beautiful home on a lake with a lovely yard, deck, and patio.  They have been enjoying eating dinners on the deck and afternoons reading on the patio.  Rather than running up to Lifetime Fitness every morning , Lynn now gets her exercise walking around the lake with neighbors. She says, "some good comes out of everything."


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#FRONTSTEPPROJECT: If YOU want to be featured, message me! It is free for Columbia Heights residents. Donations to SACA Food Shelf & Thrift Store are encouraged. Tell your neighbor who may not be on social media.

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