You’re what? You’re MOVING to Michigan?
Are you SURE?
I’m gonna level with you.
It’s freezing cold here in winter and unbearably humid in the summer.
Don’t Go Moving to Michigan on a Whim
People say we are one of the most beautiful states in the U.S.
And that we have majestic, sandy shorelines, endless outdoor exploration, world class performance arts, friendly people, and really good food. Oh, and a decent cost of living.
But seriously. We are totally fine keeping this gem to ourselves.
I hear Ohio has some pretty great…. something. Okay, so that was a stretch. How about Indiana! You’ll love it there. Pretend you never heard about our secret Michigan wonderland.
As a lifelong Michigander who dreamed of life around the world though, I must warn you: once you move here you won’t leave. You won’t be able to find another place that can hold a candle to Michigan.
So if You’re Still Thinking About Moving to Michigan…
We think there are a few things you might want to know before you take the leap.
1 – Our state is shaped like a Mitten
It’s one of our claims to fame.
3 – We call the Upper Peninsula “the U.P.”
The U.P. is the part of our state north of the Mackinac Bridge. It’s a fairytale wilderness dotted with waterfalls and wildlife.
4 – “Ope” means “I’m sorry.”
You say it after bumping into someone or committing some other minor infraction.
5 – Know who the Yoopers and Trolls are.
Upper Peninsula residents are called Yoopers and people in the Lower Peninsula are called Trolls. (Get it? Because we live under the bridge!) Visitors are fudgies because they flock to the fudge shops on Mackinac Island.
6 – The Bridge is the Mackinac Bridge.
It’s 5 miles of engineering greatness that straddles two Great Lakes and connects our peninsulas.
(We also have a couple of bridges to Canada. To make your international trip feel more exotic.)
7 – It’s pronounced MACK-in-aw
Two spellings, one pronunciation. Mackinac Island, Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac county. Mackinaw City, Mackinaw township. MackinAW.
8 – Learn to recognize the Midwest Goodbye.
When we say we’re gonna leave someone’s house, and when we actually leave are two different things. Sometimes happening hours apart. This applies to most Midwest states.
9 – Myth: the Mackinac Bridge swings closed at night
We love to tell tourists that our mighty suspension bridge swings closed at night, but don’t worry – it’s actually open 24/7. Well, except during high winds…
10 – It’s “Go Green” or “Go Blue.” Never “Go Red.”
Big Game Days are when Michigan State University (State) or the University of Michigan (Michigan) is playing. And no, you cannot root for either. You must pick one. You can never root for Ohio State.
11 – Wearing red on Big Game days can make us see red.
If you wear red on big game days prepare to defend yourself. (See above.)
12 – The Great Lakes are unsalted.
But it’s fun to play along with any jokes implying that sharks, whales, or other saltwater creatures live in them.
13 – We vacation “Up North.”
But no one agrees where Up North starts. Usually, it’s anywhere south of the bridge, and north of where you live.
14 – We don’t cry over winter.
Sure, we don’t have anything on Minnesota’s chills, but eight months of winter, and several feet of lake effect snow have given us enough street cred. So when 40 degrees hits, the coats come off and the sandals come out!
15 – Summer lasts two months.
Normally 4th of July – Labor Day.
16 – Euchre is our state card game.
Pronounced “You-KER,” this is how many of us survive winter. Any of your neighbors should be able to teach it to you how to play.
17 – Our nickname for summer is “construction season.”
And while summer is a solid two months long, road construction can span year round.
18 – Road construction happens year round for a reason.
Michigan breeds the largest potholes in the nation, so we never stop fixing them. (If you haven’t lost an axle to a pothole yet, you are #blessed.)
19 – We never drink soda. We drink POP.
Soda is what you bake with. Sprite, Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew – all pop.
20 – We invented Superman ice cream, coney dogs and Vernors.
Don’t question it. Don’t google it. Just accept these invention claims.
21 – Learn how to say Ypsilanti, Charlotte, Bois Blanc Island, & Dowagiac
And no, they’re not phonetic. These are too hard to explain here so just Google it. Or try the pronunciation on a coworker and watch them cringe. THEY can pronounce it for ya.
22 – You must own at least one ice scraper per car.
One that’s at least 18″ long and includes a brush at one end. In a pinch, a long-handled broom and a credit card will work.
23 – “Fleece” means “coat.” And you’ll want to own a couple.
You’ll need them to help you dress in layers. Especially in the spring, we could be 58 and sunny in the afternoon and 30 with snow a couple hours later. So always keep a few bits of clothing handy that are out of season, just in case.
24 – Buy waterproof, sub-zero winter gear.
Michigan is like Canada’s little sister. So imagine what winter gear you’d need to live in Canada. You will also need that here.
25 – Old school Michiganders add “s” to the end of store names.
No, old school friends, it’s not actually “Meijers” or “JC Penneys.”
26 – We don’t wait in line at the DMV. We wait in line at the SOS.
We don’t go to the DMV to get a driver’s license in Michigan. For that, you need to go to the Secretary of State, otherwise pronounced “Secretariah State.”
27 – If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait 15 minutes; it will change.
But not always for the better.
28 – Cars are illegal on Mackinac Island
Golf carts and snowmobiles are allowed on Mackinac Island but no other motorized vehicles, by law, are allowed there. Take a horse or ride your bike.
29 – The first day of deer hunting season is a holiday in rural Michigan.
Some schools even have the day off.
And by “first day” we mean first day of rifle hunting season. Bow hunting season starts earlier, but I guess it’s like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sure, you notice Thanksgiving, but Christmas is the headliner.
30 – Kids’ Halloween costumes should fit over coats.
For when it’s 30 and snowing on October 31.
31 – No, the Detroit Lions never win.
Cheer for them anyway. Michiganders are nothing if not loyal.
32 – Be wary of Wisconsin. It’s not the same as Michigan.
It feels like Wisconsin is trying to look like a mitten. And we are forever suspicious that they’ll try to steal the U.P. from us.
33 – Take vitamin D year round.
The sun is an elusive dame and can’t be relied upon for vitamin D. Get a light therapy lamp and take vitamin D when you get here.
34 – Don’t tell us you’re from California.
Or else we’ll constantly ask you why you left. I mean, you left sunshine. And it perplexes us.
Living in Michigan is something special made better by the people you know. Say hey to the people you meet, introduce yourself to your neighbors, and get involved. We’re glad you’re here!
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