December 6, 2016

Still not adjusted to Michigan life

By Lauren Begley
Staff Writer | reporter@arenacindependent.com
Posted 1/27/10

I never imagined that a small city north of Midland would be the place I’d end up after graduating from college. As a non-native Michigander, I don’t particularly fit into the “Michigan culture” stereotype that I’ve created in my mind.

I’ve never shot a gun. I’ve never ridden a snowmobile. I’m a horrible ice skater. I’ve never been ice fishing. I get cold easily. I didn’t grow up near a lake. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been camping in my life.

I do like hockey, though, so I hope that makes up for something.

I might not be bred for Michigan, but I’m here to stay for as long as this state will allow me.

Unlike nearly all the people from my high school graduating class, I chose to stay in Michigan instead of go outside its borders to search for my next move in life. A few very persuasive native Michiganders have come into my life over the past several years, and they quickly showed me that Michigan has more to offer than I ever thought. I’m now convinced that Michigan is better than every other state, hands down.

And if you disagree, I am not afraid to fight you. (That would be a figurative fight, of course, and not any sort of literal hand-to-hand combat.)

But beyond all the ways in which I don’t quite “fit in” with Michigan (other than loving it), I’m not really sure where to start on describing myself.

An important piece of information might be where I’m from, but that answer depends on if you mean where I’m from in Michigan or where I’m from originally.

My Michigan answer is Midland. I’ve lived there for a little over eight years, but I spent a few years in Mount Pleasant where I received a B.A. in English from Central Michigan University.

My original birthplace answer is West Virginia. I was born and raised in Charleston up until I was 12 years old. (Yes, even among all those hillbillies, I still never learned to shoot a gun.)

Between West Virginia and Michigan, I spent two years in Houston, Texas. I moved down there over a summer that hit a record high of about 110 degrees. I never want to experience something like that again.

As for my interests, I like romantic candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach and chestnuts roasting over an open fire.

I also swear that I can be a very serious person. (Although, a nice dinner with some Michigan wine would be awesome.)

Between graduation and starting up at the Independent, I spent a little bit of time writing for the Midland Daily News. I was surprised about how much I never knew about the city, and the stories I wrote let me experience another side of Midland.

In the same way, I’m excited to learn about Arenac County and its communities. The people I’ve met so far have been very open and welcoming, and I hope to continue experiencing the same kind of hospitality as I settle into the area.

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You'll fit in just fine. When you finely do shoot a shot gun for the first time, go with bird shot not buck shot! As for getting cold easy, we have some really nice librarians in Arenac County who will help you find a good book to go with that bottle of Michigan wine and a nice warm fire.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | Report this

You sound like me, and I've lived in Michigan all my life. I swear they made Snuggies just for us Michiganders who don't like the cold, but need our arms free for grabbing that glass of wine, or holding the book we're reading by the roasting chestnuts... :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | Report this

The things all new-comers need to remember:

Don't go spelunking after dark at the ol' abandoned mineshaft.

Yes, it is an abandoned water park, and yes, it was cool once.

No, you can't buy anything from a store after 8 o'clock unless one of the owners is feeling froggy.

But, one of the most beautiful things you can do is watch the sunset, enjoy the beach during the night hours, and watch the sun come up over the water.

Monday, February 1, 2010 | Report this

I am sure you will be more than welcomed into this area. As a retired county resident who spends the winters "down south" (that "getting cold" thing gets worse as you get older I think) I occasionally check in on the online edition of the Arenac to get a little news from home. After reading the first article I saw written by you, I immediately went and read every other one I could find and enjoyed every one. I found your articles to be intelligent, heartfelt, and honest. Add in your sense of humor and I think your writing is as fresh as an April breeze off the lake...and anyone who appreciates hockey and understands that Sydney Crosby has his share of "shortcomings" is A-OK in my book.

Monday, March 1, 2010 | Report this

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