Living in Michigan, Week One


Guess what, everyone? I’ve made it to the other side. And I’ve unpacked enough boxes to rationalize that I’ve earned some time to write you my very first blog post as a Michigander!

The long months of goodbyes are over.

And the hellos to new neighbors and friends are beginning.

Most of the uncertainty is also gone. I’m sitting in my new house. The kids are registered for school. And after my first week of being a freshly minted Michigander, it’s not so bad. In fact, it’s great.

Off the bat, Michiganders are living-out-loud, go out-of-your way NICE. And they are proud to be from Michigan.

Take our first morning in town. With no pots and pans, and not even a table to eat upon, we had to dine out for every meal, including breakfast (oh well.).

It was a Sunday and I wanted to buy a copy of the Detroit Free Press from the vending machine outside this local diner. A woman seated in a booth next to us saw me fishing for some change. Without me asking, she offered me some quarters in exchange for some single bills. How nice was that?

The second (and third) instances I caught on to the kindness of the people of Michigan was at the grocery store.

Now, as I have written in some of my “Good Bye to Rochester” posts, and I knew this would come, but leaving Rochester has put me in a bit of a mourning period for Superior Mother of all grocery stores.

So, on one of my first trips to a supermarket here (and that’s all it is, just a supermarket), I   must have been mumbling to myself on how much I missed Wegmans or how I couldn’t find anything in this dingy Michigan grocery store when another customer, a woman my age approached me, looked me in the eye, and actually inferred: “Are you alright?”

This brought me to some clear distinctions between Michiganders and New Yorkers: Most New Yorkers try to avoid looking one another in the eye at all costs. Ever look someone in the eye in a crowded subway car? Unless you want to start a fight, I bet you wouldn’t.

And, if you are in New York, and you happen upon someone mumbling to themselves, you walk the other way.

But here this woman was, actually caring  about my well-being because of my grocery store aisle mumbling. I simply explained I was new in town, well, in STATE, and I was having a hard time finding my way around. Even in a grocery store.

When I found the stuff I was looking for, I got on a check-out  line behind a tall African-American man. After putting all his items on the belt,  he realized he had forgotten a few items he wished to purchase. He turned to me and said:

“Ma’am, why don’t you go ahead of me. I might be a while.”

Again, I was astounded by the kindness.

Another unexpected find at the supermarket: fireworks.

Two years ago, Michigan recently passed a bill allowing for the public and legal sale of fireworks. So, along with picking up your milk and eggs at the supermarket, in the days leading up to July 4, you could also stock up on Bone Breakers, Power Surges and Detonators

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This new development is receiving mixed reviews from Michigander retailers and consumers.  But, if increased availability of fireworks is making you edgy, you can also pick up a nice bottle of Chardonnay or Merlot. Sale of wine and liquor is also legal in Michigan supermarkets. You can even purchase some Mondavi “Private Label” at Target.

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Moving In:

With the arrival of the moving van and the hard work of our movers (a shout out to professional movers everywhere: thank you for your back and arm breaking work. Our head mover in Michigan was working with four torn ligaments in his rotator cuff. Didn’t stop him from hauling in box after box and participating in bringing up some heavy dressers up to the bedrooms. I believe he is scheduled for surgery this week and I hope the moving company is picking up his medical bills.), it is starting to feel like home.

We couldn’t find our  placemats right away. Instead, we are dining on the plethora of paper used to wrap all our possessions. Add some crayons, and it’s like we are eating out at Macaroni Grill!

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Next time, I’ll write about walking and bike riding in the Motor City.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

6 responses to “Living in Michigan, Week One”

  1. campfirememories says :

    I’m living in Virginia but my heart is in Michigan. Congratulations on your move. You will love it. Be sure to get Up North, early fall, after the tourists have fled, specifically to the Sleeping Bear Dune area along the pinkie.

    Best of luck!!

    • stacylynngittleman says :

      we are going this summer (fall is school again and we can’t get away as easily). and if you ever want to guest blog about your transplant story from Michigan to Virginia, I’d love to consider it!

  2. Rivki Silver says :

    Oh, the midwest! It’s such a nice place. And I do miss being able to purchase liquor with my groceries. Enjoy!

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