Thursday, June 26, 2014

Michigan...The Good and Bad...

I am a Southern girl born and raised. I spent the first 27 years of my life in The Heart of Dixie....Alabama. So when Dave told me his next assignment (after Montgomery, AL) was Battle Creek, Michigan and asked if I would move with him, I had no idea what I was in for! We moved July 31 which was quite deceiving....summers in Michigan look a lot like summers in Alabama. All was good until that first snow hit on Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving!).  Then the second snow. Then the third. I was freaking out and the locals kept saying that it was nothing....just a dusting. A dusting?!?! looked like more than a dusting to me! Boy was I wrong! Like I said, I didn't know what I was in for. All this to say, Michigan has had its ups and downs...its pros and cons. Let me share some with you....

The Good:
1. We are 45 minutes from Lake Michigan and all the adorable towns that line the coast. I love that we can hop in the car on Saturday morning and spend the day laying out by the lake (no sharks!), grabbing an ice cream and wondering through the shops in all the small towns. Some of my favorite are: South Haven, St. Joseph, and Saugatuck.

2. People here are so nice. I can't remember the last time I went into the grocery, Old Navy, Home Depot, etc. and didn't spend several minutes just chatting it up with the cashier.

3. Summers up here are like a spring day in Alabama. I grew up where the summers are so hot, if you are outside you better be in a swimming pool. I love that we can sit outside in the summers here and enjoy the sunshine and mild weather. The evenings can even get cool enough to need a light jacket!

4. Our house is so cute! Maybe I am biased but I just love our house. It is perfect for us and has been such a great first home for us. It is a great size and was in wonderful condition when we bought it. Most of the changes we have made consist of painting. I will miss it most of all when the day finally comes to leave. 

5. Michigan has some of the country's best beer! I love a good craft beer and we have so many options. There are 29 breweries within 50 miles of our house including Bell's, Arcadia, Dark Horse, Founders, and New Holland.

The Bad:
1. The winters! I have never in my life seen so much snow! This past winter we had over 100" and I saw it get to -11 degrees. It was one of the worst winters on record in recent history. We even had to resort to buying a snow blower (which I haven't used and hope to get through another winter without having to!) for Dave! There was just too much to get by with only a shovel! When we got home from Christmas we had 16" just sitting in our driveway! Winters are the worst and some days I feel like I am being buried alive by the never-ending snowfall.

2. Once the winter is over the potholes are so huge they might swallow your car. The snow plows do a number on our roads all winter so it takes half the summer for them to be patched just for the damage to be done all over again the following winter.

3. We are 11 hours by car from my family. Before moving up here, the farthest I had ever lived from home was an hour away when I was in college. I hate that I can't just hop in the car when they need me and that they can't dash up here when I am missing them.

4. Can recycling is nasty business. In Michigan, every time you purchase a beverage in a can or bottle you are charged a $.10 deposit. You get it back when you return the bottle/can. The recycle room at the grocery store smells like a frat house that had a party last weekend and has yet to clean up! Yuck! Needless to say, Dave handles all the recycling (what a man!).

5.We are not actually based near any kind of military base. We are considered remote and there are some days that word feels so true...remote. It is so hard to find any kind of community here. Most people that live in the area grew up here with family and friends nearby. So while they might be nice they have a hard time reaching out to new people especially people like us who will only be here for three years.

While Michigan has its ups and downs, we really have loved calling it home for the last two years. With one year left until the Air Force decides our next home, we plan to make the most of it by exploring the area and finding new adventures. Where do you live? What do you love about where you live? What can't you stand?

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