Goodbye, Michigan

Well, Michigan. It’s been a great 32 years, but it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve found someone else and am leaving you.

In case you didn’t hear the news, I am stepping away from my content director position at 834 and making a big move to Philadelphia, where I will be vice president, customer engagement at PiperWai Natural Deodorant. It was the most difficult “obvious” choice I’ve ever had to make, but I’m putting my big-girl pants on and making it happen.

When I was initially offered the position at PiperWai, a lot went through my head. Primarily, leaving my 834 family. This job has been a blast. I love managing content for diverse clients and the talented people I have had the pleasure of working with. The second thought was “But I love Grand Rapids!” That will always be true. Grand Rapids has given me 10 amazing years. I started my career here, bought my first house here, built wonderful relationships, voted for our city’s first female mayor, been a proud tour guide for visitors and been an overall cheerleader for an exciting city with so much more potential. I’m going to miss it.

But one of the things that tugged at me during this decision was going through life and only living in one state. It works for many people (if you have found happiness and joy where you live, power to you!), but as I saw more of my friends start new adventures, I got a little antsy. Hell, I’ve never even been out of North America! I had a great opportunity with a great team representing a product I love in one of my favorite cities. I couldn’t let comfort hold me back.

BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT I’M ALSO STRESSED AND TERRIFIED AND GOING TO MISS MICHIGAN SO MUCH.

I’m excited to be working for an awesome company in a city full of history and exciting things to do, but there are certain things about my mitten state that’s going to make me homesick.

The lakes 

Michigan’s got this category locked down. No lakes in the world can compare to our lakes. Not just the Great Lakes, but the hundreds of inland lakes throughout the state. Where I grew up, it was completely normal to live on a lake. Summers were spent swimming from morning until “I Love Lucy” came on Nick at Nite. Winters were filled with ice skating until we couldn’t feel our toes. I never understood how lucky I was until I became an adult. Michigan’s natural resources have spoiled me rotten.

Vernor’s and Faygo

There is no ginger ale in the history of ginger ale that is as good as Vernor’s. Canada Dry? What a joke. Schweppes? Repulsive. Vernor’s has comforted every Michigan kid on a sick day. It is one of Michigan’s greatest achievements. Second to Vernor’s is Faygo, creator of some of the most disgusting-sounding flavors in all of America. Moon Mist and Moon Mist Blue? Sounds weird. Candy Apple! Pineapple Watermelon! Cotton Candy! Who would drink that?? ME, THAT’S WHO.

Toll-free roads 

Wait. I have to pay to use a road now?

Michigan lefts

I doubt I’m going to miss these, but living without them will be a little weird.

Saying “pop” 

I am so conflicted about this. Soda is obviously the better-sounding word, but I’ve been saying “pop” for my entire life. Now that I think of it, the word doesn’t even make that much sense, but it sure is fun to say. I’ve already been given grief from east costers about my preferred soft drink term, but letting go of “pop” won’t be easy.

Pointing to my hand when people ask where I live 

We have a built-in map! How am I going to show people where I live? With WORDS??? 

Bottle returns

Bless you and your 10-cent returns, Michigan. Now I just have to recycle? And not get any money?? So if friends come over and leave all their beer bottles, I get nothing? NOTHING!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!??

Friends and family 

What has made Michigan home for me the past 32 years hasn’t been Faygo, lakes, toll-free roads or having a built-in map on my body. It’s been the people who have been with me the entire time. I’m leaving a community that has embraced me for the past 10 years and the state where all my family lives. It’s going to be hard, but at least I can rest easy knowing flights from Philly to Detroit are super cheap. So nobody has an excuse to lose touch.

As I close up my last week at 834, get my house ready to sell and pack away my whittled-down belongings, I can’t help but think of what a special place Michigan is to me. I’m going to miss it for sure, but I am excited to create new memories in a new place. (And be a short train ride away from all my favorite parts of the country.) So goodbye, Michigan. I love you and will be back to visit soon.

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