The last time I stepped foot in the state of Michigan was 2012, it was summer time and I was here with my husband and kids. This visit has been far different I flew to Escanaba by myself, in the middle of winter for my grandmother’s birthday. I am older and one may even argue wiser than the last time I last I visited by myself, some 15 years ago. My perspective has changed, I am an outsider in my hometown. I run, exercise, eat healthy, am gluten-free and don’t drink a lot anyone of those things makes me an outsider. I love the U.P. it is a beautiful place and it is home, however I find many things have changed. The number of bars and car parts stores has increased greatly and some of my favorite places no longer exist or are shells of their former self.
The biggest change for me was seeing my family, my mom, dad, grandmothers, uncle and aunts. In my mind they are how they were almost 4 years ago, however it has been almost 4 years and I see how age has taken its toll. The slower movement, the twinkle isn’t as bright, and the aches an pains are far more prominent. I tried to get my parents to try some yoga stretches to help with their pain, it didn’t work my dad laughed at me. I bought a new yoga mat for $6.00, yes $6.00 the same one I have been eyeing in Savannah for $40. I also bought Yak Trax to run in, yes I ran in the snow and had to redirect my run due to a snow plow.
The other thing that I noticed up there was people are grumpy, yes the sun doesn’t shine that much however I don’t remember people walking around with scowls growing up. I smiled and said hi to everyone, I am pretty sure they thought I needed to be committed. I am a hotel lifer the 5-10 rule is ingrained into me. I admit in Savannah I am a homebody, I like my house which is a good thing consider how much we spend on it. Here everyone spends their times in bars, I would rather embrace my homeless yoga instructor look and paint, draw or watch a movie than go out to the bar and drink. I guess since I work with the public I don’t want to see people when I get off of work. I was shocked on how cheap beer is at the bars there $3.50 for a Craft Beer, mixed drink or a mini pitcher. The same drink in Savannah would be at least $7.00. I got a Whiskey Sour (more whiskey than sour just how I like it) it was $3.50 and he said a double would only be $5.50. Seriously, $5.50?!?! I couldn’t believe it. There were so many things that I witnessed, such as smoking. The local casino is on an Indian Reservation meaning that smoking is allowed inside the building. I can say the next day my lungs hurt and my clothes smelled of stale cigarette smoke. The bright side about withstanding the smoke filled casino was I got to see Bo Bice in concert and I won $53.
The reason for my visit was to visit my grandmothers, my one grandmother is in her 90’s and the other was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 Stomach Cancer. The trip for me was a necessity I needed to go home and see my grandmothers because of the situation. I also needed a break from Savannah. I love my city however, Savannah can be overwhelming at times. It was time for me to go home, even Jeff agreed I needed to head north for a week.
I also worked opening day at the Dari. I consumed more ice cream in 2 days than I had in six years. I also saw far more people than I had the last time I was home, I think Bob the Minion has something to do with that. The fact that I worked opening day at the ice cream shop I’m sure helped my cause. It also reminded me why I hate putting machines together, I did get a manicure out of the deal.
I did enjoy my trip to Michigan. I ate so much food, dear God I ate so much food every time I turned around I was eating. From the cheese curds to the pasties to the ice cream, I ate constantly. We ate out every night I was home, I did laugh at their attempt to do a Carolina dog (store bought mustard and not spicy, sigh). The lack of hot sauce, everywhere, I had to ask and at one place the hot sauce was bad. Seriously, how long has that hot sauce gone untouched, they gave us a bad bottle of hot sauce. I laughed, my dad was less than thrilled. I forgot how cheap everything is and how little people tip. An example was my haircut, I paid $43 for a cut and dye job. It has been a very long time since I paid under $50 for a haircut, well alone a cut and dye job. Drinks were crazy cheap $3.50 for a craft beer or a well drink, the night before I left to go to Michigan I went to a going away party 2 drink cost me $30 (with tip). I of course left 20% on my tickets, I made many waitresses days because of how I was tipping.
My trip made me realize several things, I would have never been happy if I had stayed in Escanaba. I loved working for my grandma opening day, but if I had stayed something would have been missing. I can say I made the right choice staying in Savannah. It also made appreciate Savannah far more than I did before I left. It made me realize how much I truly love Savannah and if I ever moved something would be missing. It made me realize how much, I love my kids and my husband. A week was a long time without a Booga hug or brushing the Princess’s hair, or chatting with Jeff. Escanaba is not home any more, Savannah is my home. Savannah is where I met my husband, my children were born and where I chose to stay. I love Michigan, a part of me will always consider it home, however Savannah has given me so much and I continue to grow with her.
Images from grandma’s house: