It’s official! I have lived away from “home” since 2003. I packed up my life in Phoenix AZ, stuffed it into a 1997 Ford Taurus and drove it over 2,000 miles to NE MI May 30, 2003.
I wish that I could say it was for a singular significant reason but it was for a million little reasons. I once told an inquiring mind, who asked, “What brings you all the way to MI?” I replied “Sex.” Only to find out later that the inquiring mind was the local Priest. Oh boy. When I saw him later that day, I apologized profusely for being such an ass. (Turns out he knew I was kidding, thank goodness).
Seriously though, why did I move here? Was it because…
1. My mom and her husband spend six out of twelve months here?
2. My favorite dog had moved here to be safe from the Animal Control in AZ?
3. I met a new friend who had adopted my dog?
4. The change of scenery?
5. The four seasons?
6. My inner spirit screaming for independence?
7. A fresh start?
10. Getting away from the cross hairs of an ex-fiancé?
11. Simple living?
12. Mayberry vs. The Jetsons?
13. Combination of the above?
14. The wildlife?
15. The Northern Lights?
16. The fresh air and room to move?
As it turns out, without whining or complaining about AZ and it’s inhabitants, the answer is 13 multiplied by a million.
Arizona was a whole other lifestyle. Everyone had a pool of some sort (above or below ground). We all walked around with chlorine treated hair and sun tans (burns). You only wore pants if you worked somewhere with those being a part of the dress code. The highest temperature it reached when I was there was 122°.
Outdoor Christmas decor consisted of ornaments and fire retardant lights on the palm tree in your front yard -assuming that you had one in your Lunar Landscaping. Running out of water was always a concern, so few folks had lush, grass and trees for landscaping. One could smell citrus blossoms every Winter in the downtown area. There are malls everywhere and a Walmart on every corner. You could get food delivered to your door. You could also get burns on your hands from driving if you were parked in the sun. Arizona took a special kind of person to find it beautiful and enjoy the one season. I was/am not that person.
I can think back as far as Third Grade for wanting to move to a different state -Maine, to be exact. Why Maine? My Third Grade Teacher (Mrs. Bazell), had us do a report on our favorite state for a Geography/ Social Studies project. I did some minor research and decided that Maine seemed ideal. It had a beach, four seasons and was as far away from AZ as one could be. I made that poster board with any and everything that I was sent form the Chamber of Congress. I was in love. No one in my family was interested in moving there, so I was stuck in The Valley of the Sun and Grand Canyon state until I turned 18.
As you know Michigan is the furthest North East that I have ever visited or set up stakes (so-to-speak). But I love it here! I don’t regret moving here; even though it’s not Maine.
The booklets from Maine’s Chamber of Commerce are reminiscent to what I have now…
• Four Seasons.
•Leaf color change.
•Strong history in the Country’s foundation.
•Small Towns with Rustic Charm.
•Norman Rockwell and Mayberry mentality.
•Unique museums and venues.
If asked in the future as to why I moved to Michigan from Arizona, I can safely say, “For love”. My dog (Number 2 & 3) led me to my best friend who later became my husband. We are indeed, living happily-ever-after on our seven acre wooded property, in a beautiful home only seven miles away from fresh water and beaches. Besides Maine May have an abundance of lobster, but Michigan has Vernors, the best ginger ale.
I still go back to AZ for family celebrations, holidays and surprise visits. That’s it though. I don’t know that I could live there 24/7/365 again. Maybe when I’m older and fall out of love with cold weather. Ha! Like that will ever happen!
Side note, I always took French as a second language. My father used to insist how impractical that was because AZ is so close to Mexico, and they speak Spanish. Well Dad I now live super close to Canada where they speak FRENCH. So there. Not so impractical now is it? 😊