11 Things People From Rochester Hills Know Too Well

11 Things People From Rochester Hills Know Too Well

Rochester Hills, Michigan, where we're "innovative by nature" in one of the best hometowns in the world.
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Rochester Hills is a town of 70,000 people. It's small and it's cozy; it's like any other town, yet it's special. There's so much to explore in this town, and there's so much beauty. You always see pictures of pretty city parks and interesting landscapes and hear stories of the eccentric, yet aesthetic local stores in hipster cities. But it's something else entirely to say you live in a city where all of this exists, especially when you wouldn't expect it. There are just some things that every person who grew up in your hometown always knows, like a little piece of ourselves that we get to share with only so many people. And if you've lived here for long enough, you'll know exactly what I mean no matter what I say about our town. So, without further ado,10 Things People From Rochester Hills Know Too Well:

1. Downtown Rochester's Christmas Lights

It's a beautiful moment driving down Main Street on a December night when the lights are up, with Christmas music blasting through your car and the heat turned up to the max. Just makes you crave a hot chocolate and your snuggliest snow boots because you know, you know, winter is on its way. *Cue Michigan's evil laugh*

2. The Trails

Of course, we can't wait for winter to be over, so we can hit the serene trails of Rochester Hills, like the Clinton River Trail that lets you walk right alongside our mighty river, and the Paint Creek Trail (that disappointingly doesn't actually have paint waiting for us at every bend). Whether it's biking or running or walking with your dogs, the trails are just perfect. The best part about them is that you'll never be bored. Hundreds of side paths through the brush take you to the most surprising and picture perfect spots on the river, but we know never to forget bug spray when we venture off the paved path.

3. The Borden Park 4th of July Fireworks

There is just something irresistible about the magic of fireworks, and even more so when we're celebrating America. It makes it worth it to brave the long wait in our cars, the long walk to the park, the insanely busy Festival (I mean come on, it's packed like sardines, and please don't sit in the walkways!), the bugs, the screaming (but absolutely adorable) little kids, the guilt of air and noise pollution, the endless snapchats on EVERYONE'S story...

4. Costco

We may not own our Costco in Rochester Hills, but you can be damn sure we have a membership to one, if not all three, in the area. Where else are we gonna get our lunch of free samples and berry smoothies?

5. Construction

The Oakland Press

Psh, who needs GPS when you learned how to drive in the construction-riddled streets of Rochester Hills? We are the masters of finding alternate routes, all thanks to the constant road closures of construction season. Oh, did I mention construction season lasts year-round and that it's a never-ending project? Seriously, between nearly all the roads being temporarily rerouted to only one-way traffic and the unpredictability of which roads are going to be closed next, you can forget about getting anywhere on time for the rest of the summer. Ahh, but we'll never be rid of our beloved potholes either way.

6. Shopping

A little slice of Europe in our own backyard. The Village is your ultimate high-end outdoor shopping spot. With it's fountains and beautiful store fronts, you feel like a super-classy shopper even if you'd rather be hitting up Coldstone across the street in your sweatpants. Even if shopping isn't your thing, The Village is a picture-perfect spot. We've all had our fair share of photo shoots with the statues of the bears; don't pretend otherwise.

7. Rochester Hills Public Library

RHPL

It didn't matter who you were as a kid; if you lived in Rochester Hills, you visited the library. The big stuffed animals in the kids section and the giant fish tank are unforgettable memories that every kid has of the library. Not to mention the ice cream socials. And of course, finally getting to walk up the stairs to the big kid's section, that was a rite of passage for us all. Once you'd get up there, though, you'd realize that it was just full of students studying at the tables and adults perusing actual books with titles too difficult to pronounce let alone understand, and then we couldn't wait to get back downstairs. Huh, that's still true.

8. The Municipal Park

The City of Rochester Hills

Follow the trail from the library and you'll end up in one of the most beautiful municipal parks in Michigan. The park has THREE play structures, each more fun than the last, a walking path that follows a beautiful river, and a pond complete with the cutest ducks. It must be an unwritten rule that all the schools in the area come to this pond for their prom pictures when the weather's nice. The ducks just love it.

9. Madonna

Madonna's Childhood Home in Rochester Hills

Yes, that's right, Rochester Hills was home to Madonna. Madonna came from these very roots, went to our own Adams High, and for this reason, we love her. She didn't mean it when she said she hated growing up here. Right, Madonna? Well, I guess you just have to get into the groove to appreciate this city. (Bad pun.)

10. Yates Cider Mill

We love our Cider Mill. And yes, it actually is water powered. Yates is the place to be in the fall, with delicious cider and donuts, a petting zoo, and the river walk. The line can be long, but it's so worth it. Especially when the weather is just right, just chilly enough to pull on jeans and a favorite sweatshirt, grab a jug of cider and walk down the river walk next to beautifully colored fall trees.

11. Deer and Bunnies Galore!

Last, but not least, we love our wild animal friends! Deer and bunnies are a natural sighting here, as are these deer crossing signs. We've all experienced the magic of seeing a majestic family of deer or an adorable bundle of bunnies in our backyards. It's not as bad as you would think, the little buggers are just too darn cute. Until you get on the road. We've been up close and personal with the "deer in headlights" saying. Just remember, don't veer for deer!

Cover Image Credit: Julianna Blankenship

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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.
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Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

SEE ALSO: A Quick PSA To My Fellow New Jerseyians

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

SEE ALSO: What Being A New Jersey Driver Has Taught Me About Bad Drivers

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

SEE ALSO: College As Told By 'Jersey Shore'

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

SEE ALSO: The Garden State Guide To Essential Jersey Slang

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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Acceptance Of Mixed Races Shouldn't Be An Issue

For those multiracial kids who grew up, never understanding their identity. Never fully acknowledge the gray area of acceptance.
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"Okay so, You're just another white girl. You're not a real [Other Ethnic Group]"

I'm a mutt. In other more appropriate words, I'm multiracial, two races came together and produced me. So, how about more context? I grew up in Southern California, not even 5 miles away from the border. My father is half-German and half-Japanese born on an American army base in Japan, then my grandfather and grandmother moved to the U.S. My mother is full Mexican born in the U.S. For serious reasons, my parents separated and placed a restraining order on each other.

Uh, they looked past that a couple of times and my little sister and I were born (I have 3 other siblings, but they're not important right now). I am the product of a couple of incredible happenings across countries, against all odds, and I face difficulties in our "progressive" society.


" Wow. That's cool. So, can you speak Spanish? You can't? Well, that doesn't count!"

My childhood was a game of hot potato with my siblings and I being thrown around. On weekends, we spend our time with my grandparents (Father's Side). Grandpa told stories about the war while grandma cheered on Sumo wrestlers on TV. She explains "The Baby in the Peach" tale while we ate homemade rice balls with ripe persimmons. I always admired her collection of pretty geisha dolls stored in gleaming glass cases.

My mother didn't celebrate most Mexican traditions (Dia de Los Muertos, Cinco de Mayo, Quinceañeras etc.). However, we ate pozole, tamales, chile renos, horchata, menudo, carne asada, albondigas and my grandparents (Mother's Side) were ecstatic to teach us Spanish whenever we came over, which was not often so I can understand a bit, but not speak it conversationally. We went across the border to visit my mother's relatives every few years.


"Ma'am, it appears you accidentally checked Caucasian, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian Descent. Can you correct that?"




To this day, there's this wall between us, I and others. I never could fit in with kids in my school because I wasn't "Mexican enough". I have blonde ends in my hair, lightly tan skin that gets darker during the summer and hazel eyes. And that's all they saw. Some lighter skin and blonde hair, what a white girl. They'd dropped chisme on me right to face thinking I couldn't tell they were bad mouthing me. Whenever I mentioned I was also Japanese, I was drilled into questioning? Yes, my grandma is from Japan. No, I never got the chance to go. Why is that important? How am I lying? No, I don't speak Japanese. It never stops.


"Pinche Gringa no es uno de nosotros."


I came up to Maine for college and to my surprise, it's more than just "white people". There's so much more and I'm not recognized as just a white girl. Apparently here, I look different.

People ask what ethnicity I am and I'm glad to answer, because for once in my life I'm not accused of pulling some kind of Dolezal scenario. For once, I'm being recognized as a human being, more than just the melanin.

"Go back to Starbucks, Abuelita is a latino drink."

The part that strikes me the most is that I'm not alone. There are thousands, millions of people out there who struggle with cultural identity because others refuse to accept them. The way they look displaces whatever circumstances they grew up with. It's this shallowness, a lazy eye only looking skin deep that pierces the hearts that only want to be accepted, involved, and loved within communities.

The stereotype labels break when interracial couples come together and bring life into the world. This physical proof that we can love beyond bodies, races, religions, cultural expectations, yet spend their whole lives as outsiders looking into themselves saying "I am the same as you, why aren't I enough?" Well, enough is enough. How are we ever going to get over racial barriers until we accept culture as well?




Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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