We made it to MI and we’re in love. So far Mt. Pleasant has everything we want/need and MI has proven itself lovely. We’re living in our third time zone together and loving the long summer days on the border of EST. We’ve taken Ette on many walks along the Chippewa River (using the town’s extensive trail system,) but have yet to go on a float trip. It poses a bit of a problem for Clint because of his insulin pump, but we’re trying to invest in a canoe for a safer alternative. People float down the river through town with beers in hand, so I guess the rules for open containers are relaxed on water? That part is unclear. The water, however, is not. The river bottom is muddy, but the water looks quite clean.
I had expected much less enthusiasm about locally-sourced produce, but instead find myself surrounded by “MI-made!” banners and stickers on everything from leather handbags to potato chips.
When we finally made it to the Farmer’s Market, we picked up corn, blueberries, peaches, MI maple syrup, and MI sweet cherries. I thought I had left the land of cherries behind me when Rainiers were no longer sold streetside, but MI sweet cherries are more candy than fruit. I would dare say that I prefer them to Rainiers (shocking, I know.) We had a decadent breakfast this morning of blueberry pancakes drizzled in our local maple syrup. Too wonderful.
The fancy dinners we had in WA are a thing of the past. There aren’t too many nice restaurants around, and we’ve been sticking to eating at home or picking up fast food. We’re both broke at the moment (or in my case, forever) and can’t afford many luxuries.
Furnishing our house after moving across the country was not easy on our wallets. As of last week, we have everything we need, and the house looks wonderful. We now have seating, shelves, a washer/dryer, microwave, dressers, and every box unpacked. Now we get to sit in this furnished house and twiddle our thumbs until school starts.
I had imagined MI to be boring and somehow visibly economically depressed, but that’s primarily the Mitten’s thumb gusset. The rest of the state is happily getting by. People are Missouri levels of friendly, but with a remarkable pride for their state. Unlike WA or CA natives who are proud of their states because they have it all (mountains, forests, the ocean, farmlands,) Michiganders are proud to make due with what seems to outsiders like very little. They know their reputation is ordinarily attached to their abysmal winters, Detroit and Flint’s crime rates, and the failing American auto industry, but they’re eager to show you what else the state has to offer. They’ll point to their booming craft beer scene, the gorgeous coastal scenery, and the 10 cent bottle and can deposit. They might even bring up Hemingway’s affinity for the state, well into his expatriate days. As its motto suggests, “si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” or “if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”