I had the great privilege of being born and raised in East Lansing, Michigan, where I lived for 14 years. I, like everyone who was born in Michigan, am so proud to be a Michigander. I love my state, its people, its scenery, and its traditions. I know you're all probably intrigued as to why I love this state so much, so here are 25 things you know if you're from Michigan.
1. You're either a Spartans fan or a Wolverines fan. You cannot be both.
I was born and raised in East Lansing, home of Michigan State University. My mom was a professor there and graduated from there, and my next-door-neighbor growing up was the assistant football coach. I'm a Spartan baby and a proud one at that. Sorry, University of Michigan fans!
2. UP is not a direction, but a place.
The UP (Upper Peninsula) is the home to several breathtaking natural sites, my favorite being Pictured Rocks in Munising. Its beauty is totally underrated, and summer weekends spent at cottages in the UP were what every Michigan kid longed for during the snowy months.
3. If you live near the woods, deer will run into your yard.
It was always such a fun sight to watch deer prance through our yard while running in and out of the woods. I'm not going to endorse hunting season, because it makes me super sad, but November 15th is the official start of hunting season in Michigan and it is huge. I don't want to think about the consequences faced by the poor little deer, though. Happy thoughts. No thinking about Bambi.
4. You get mad when people pronounce it how it's spelled, "Mackinac," rather than "Mackinaw."
"Mack-In-Awh," people! If you say "Mack-In-Ack," we're gonna have to ask you to leave.
5. You tell people where you're from on your right hand.
*points at middle of hand* "I'm from East Lansing."
6. Michigan lefts are actually terrifying.
I don't even understand them, and I don't want to.
7. You don't get cold very easily because you're used to there being feet of snow on your lawn in the winter.
When I was pretty young, my mom couldn't let me play outside in the winter because often the snow was taller than me. This was basically November to mid-March.
8. When people from warmer climates tell you that the Great Lakes are cold, you respond with "this is the temperature of my bath water."
My family is from Spain, so they are used to the water temperatures of the Mediterranean Sea. When they'd come to visit in Michigan, they would all flip out at the water temperature, even in the summer. I adopted the line, "this is the temperature of my bath water," because I am definitely comfortable in colder water. Just Michigan things, I guess.
9. As a kid, you would always go to the grocery store with your parents just to get the few dollars you would collect from the can and bottle return.
This is actually such a smart concept, collecting used cans to return to the store to receive a small monetary return. It reduces littering, aids recycling efforts, and gives people a little bit of extra pocket money. The day after my parents had a party, cha-ching for my piggy bank! Also, can we just take a minute to love Meijer's.That place is fantastic.
10. No cherry pie can ever compare to those in Traverse City.
Traverse City has a Cherry Festival for a reason! Those cherries are one of the many prides and joys of the state of Michigan.
11. Even if you don't like fish, any fish fry that you get on the lake will be super tasty.
I don't like fish, but my family always seemed to convince me to have fish fry on the lake, and I enjoyed it! It must be something in the water.
12. Mackinac. Island. Fudge.
If you haven't tried it, what are you doing with your life?!
13. Bronner's makes you never be able to be satisfied Christmas shopping anywhere else.
This year-round Christmas wonderland is basically jolliness in a store form.
14. You always scream at the snake on the dune ride in Saugatuck.
You knew it was coming, but every single time the buggy passed under that tree on the dune with the plastic snake hanging from it, you couldn't help but scream.
15. When you tell people you're from Michigan, in your lifetime you're bound to get asked at least a few times if you know Eminem or grew up on 8 Mile Road.
Yes, I've driven on 8 Mile Road. No, I don't know Eminem. No, 8 Mile isn't any different from the other numbered "mile" roads. You knew it was coming, but every single time the buggy passed under that tree on the dune with the plastic snake hanging from it, you couldn't help but scream.
16. You love Motown music.
Detroit is the roots and the home of Motown music. My favorites Motown singers, both from Detroit, are Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours.
17. It broke your heart a little when they shut the museum portion of the Kellogg's factory.
That place was so fun to play in and you totally felt like a celebrity when they put your picture on that Frosted Flakes box with Tony the Tiger.
18. You don't really know what's in superman ice cream, but you like it anyway.
Before I became lactose-intolerant, I was ice cream obsessed. A cone of superman could never be turned down.
19. Every season is so distinctly beautiful.
The snow, the leaves, the blooming tulips and flowers - it's all so breathtaking and exquisite.
20. Street fairs were an awesome part of the warmer seasons.
I remember always begging my mom to get me a new tie-dye item at the East Lansing or Ann Arbor Art Festival, and dancing in the summer heat during the Detroit Jazz Festival. Good times.
21. Yep, we all talk through our noses and are crazy nasal.
22. You can pronounce the unpronounceable solely because of some of the city names around you.
Mack-In-Awh, Shar-la-voy, Ip-suh-lan-tee, Soo-saint-muhree. Boom. Done.
23. Even if you move somewhere else, when someone asks you where you're from, you always answer Michigan.
To this day, after having lived in the suburbs of Chicago for almost 5 years, I still automatically respond to the question of where I'm from with, "Michigan," and a smile on my face.
24. You immediately bond with people over the fact that you're from Michigan.
Me when I hear someone say that they're from Michigan:
*OMG YOU'RE FROM MICHIGAN? WHICH PART? OMG HAVE YOU EATEN AT THIS PLACE THERE? DO YOU GO UP NORTH AT ALL IN THE SUMMER? LET'S BOND AND BE MICHIGAN FRIENDS FOREVER!!!!!!*
25. You wouldn't have wanted to grow up anywhere else.
Michigan will always be my home, and I am endlessly thankful to be from such a lovely and loving corner of the world.