So – it is obvious that I miss Michigan. Every time I say I miss it Gabe gets very angry and upset. He loves Florida (or so he claims) and doesn’t get why I miss that, “God forsake, hick, white trash state.” So, I decided to pick the top 10 reasons as to why I miss Michigan. Here they are, in order of least to the #1 reason as to why I miss Michigan (think of it David Letterman style!)
10. There are no fire ants. OK – this is a lot of northern states – but I hate fire ants. To make matters worse – I am deathly allergic to fire ants so I am scared to death that one sting one of these days will kill me!!!! I am scared to even go outdoors because these things stink!!
9. Mackinac Island. Oh how I love that island. Nothing like the ability to go back in time for a few days to make you feel relaxed and refreshed!
8. Hiking. I miss all the hiking trails and state land. I miss taking my family someplace and walking through the woods with them and seeing the beauty that the state has to off. Yes, you technically can hike here in Florida if you are OK with the humidity and bugs. Really – we went walking through a small wooded area to geo-cash once only to come out covered in cock roaches and spiders. Florida is hostile and not enjoyable to hike in!
7. Fresh produce. I thought when we moved to Florida that we would be in fresh produce heaven! Heck – you can grow all year down here! The produce down here is terrible and never tastes fresh. There is nothing like a fresh Michigan apple (or fresh cider during the right time of year), the sweet strawberries, the fresh cherries, the zucchini that people just give away because it grows so fast, fresh sweet corn. . . . oh how I miss the fresh produce and the fresh produce stands!!!
6. Festivals and parades. During the summer and fall I swear there is some type of festival or parade you can go to - and if you are OK not buying anything you can go to it for free! Here we have found that most festivals charge you to even enter. The Strawberry Festival (which I thought would be like the Cherry Festival in Traverse City) costs money to even get onto the grounds. As far as parades down here – most of the parades we have found really aren’t suitable for kids.
5. The lakes/rivers/fresh water. Oh how I love swimming at Duck Lake, or the Grand Traverse Bay. Lakes and rivers so clean you can see the floor of the lake and river! You may get swimmers itch, but I never had a ray nibble on my toe when swimming in Duck Lake, or stepped on a Ray while swimming in the bay. Florida has the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, but most of the time it is so murkey you can’t see what you are about to step on.
4. I miss seasons. I miss spring, with the fragrance of lilacs filling the air. I miss summer, with comfortable days where you can open the windows and hang your clothing on the line to dry. I miss fall – the beauty of fall (my favorite season) – the crisp air – the smell of wood smoke – the canvas of colors – my heart yearns for fall. I even miss winter to a certain point. I miss the fat snow flakes that stick to everything. The white blanket of snow making everything look like a fairy land. I am not going to lie – from mid-January until May I do get sick of winter (and yes – it sometimes snows in May!) – but I miss some winter.
3. The life-style. Michigan has a feel all to itself. Driving across the border from Ohio or Indiana you notice a difference right away. The state is empty compared to the rest of the country. It just has a different feel to it. The life-style is a little less cut throat – a little more laid back. Hard to explain if you haven’t lived anywhere else – but living in Michigan is nothing like living in Indiana, Georgia, or Florida (the three other places I have lived) – and I miss that lifestyle. It isn't all perfect - sometimes those small towns where everyone knows everything about everyone can be hard to live in (I lived a way more interesting life through gossip than in real life) - but I miss it just the same!
2. My Grandma’s house. I bet you thought this was going to be the number one reason I wish we could move back to Michigan – but it isn’t. I do love my Grandma’s house. It is the one place on Earth where I can feel myself at peace. There is something about that beautiful brick home that just makes me feel joy and love like no other place on this planet. I miss that house and wish we lived closer to it so I could visit it (and my Grandma’s grave – sad I didn’t get to put flowers on her grave this year)
And the number one reason I miss Michigan is . . . the people. Yup – I miss the people. Most of the people I love live in Michigan. There a few others scattered around the country – Texas – Georgia – New York – but most of the people I love live in Michigan. From family I grew up with, to those who might as well be family because I love them as much as if they were family. From the owners of the Karlin Store who have known me from birth and always ask how I am doing, to my adopted sisters Miss Tonio, Miss Nicole, and Miss Samantha – who I couldn’t love or miss more if they really were my blood sisters, to neighbors who became family and their children who I love like they are my own, to my aunts and uncles, cousins, parents and brother, to my former co-workers at the health department and all those people I got to work with at the health department who allowed me to visit them in their homes and who I also love and care for. I miss the people that were in my life there.
So – to those who think I want to leave Florida just because it sucks here – that isn’t the total reason (but it is part of it!) – and to my son who really doesn’t get why I could miss the mitten – here it is.