My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. I moved to from Indiana to Michigan when I got married, so I’m celebrating 18 years as a Michigander too. After all these years, I feel truly at home in The Mitten State. I even act like a Michigander. Here are some ways to tell you’ve assimilated to life in Michigan:
You want it to snow.
Snow is a way of life here, and many Michiganders love it. Once I was old enough for the novelty of making snowmen to wear off, I hated snow for a long time. After living in Michigan for a few years, I started looking forward to snow coming in November. We had a very mild winter this year, and I kept saying I just wanted one good snowstorm. Well, we ended up getting two of them around the end of February. I loved it! Now I’m ready for spring.
You aren’t afraid to drive in the snow.
Michiganders are fearless when it comes to snow covered roads, but I wasn’t always used to winter driving. About 11 years ago, I drove home from work in a terrible snow storm. It should have taken me 45 minutes to get home, but it took two and a half hours. Besides white-knuckling it, I was seven months pregnant at the time and in desperate need of a bathroom for about 2 of those hours. I made it home safe, and decided if I could drive in that, I could drive in almost any conditions. Although, I prefer to play if safe and watch it snow from my cozy living room when possible.
50 degrees is warm enough to wear shorts and flip-flops.
Growing up, I didn’t wear summer clothes until it was actually summer. But by the time spring arrives in Michigan, we’re so tired of wearing heavy layers, we shed them as soon as possible. It’s not unusual to see Michiganders wearing flip-flops and shorts with a warm coat on a spring day. I’ve been wearing my flip-flops since the snow melted.
You open the windows if it gets above 60 degrees.
The house gets stuffy on warm spring days when the sun is out. People in Florida would think it’s still way too cold, but I open the windows and let in the fresh air.
Lake Michigan calls to you.
I don’t know a Michigander who doesn’t feel something akin to reverence for the Great Lakes. I just can’t get enough of Lake Michigan, or any of our Big Lakes. There’s no place I’d rather be than walking along the beach, listening to the water lap the shore.
The Michigan Left Turn actually makes sense.
When you make a Michigan left turn, you continue through the intersection then use a special turn lane to make a legal U-turn, go back to the intersection, then turn right where you wanted to turn left. Doesn’t make sense? It will after you get used to it.
You soothe an upset stomach with Vernor’s Ginger Ale.
After I had kids, I heard other moms talk about giving them Michigan-made Vernor’s Ginger Ale as a cure-all for stomach ailments. We all had Montezuma’s Revenge one week, so I gave Vernor’s a try. I don’t know if it was the power of suggestion or what, but it worked! Now it’s the first thing I reach for when there’s a stomach bug in our house.
You automatically take your shoes off at the door.
When I first moved here, and we would visit someone’s house, my husband would always nudge me at the door and say, “Take your shoes off.” Even if it wasn’t muddy or snowy. I didn’t understand why. I mean, it’s Michigan, not Japan, right? In fact, in some other places it might even be rude to walk around someone else’s house in your stinky socks. I still don’t really get it, but now I automatically take my shoes off at the door. Even in my own house!
You can’t get enough lighthouses.
If we’re anywhere in the vicinity of a lighthouse, I have to visit it and photograph it. Even if I’ve been to it before. I don’t know what it is, but they call to me like the lakes.
Thinking about leaving Michigan makes you panic.
There was a time I would have packed my bags and moved across the country without a second thought. Now when I imagine moving away from Michigan, I think about all the things I’d miss. Especially the lakes and beaches. I can’t imagine living in a landlocked place like Nebraska. Thinking about it makes me feel claustrophobic! What do you do when there isn’t a lake just down the road?! How can you live like that?! Maybe someday I’ll learn to love another place, but for now I’m happy to call Michigan my home.