February 10, 2016

Still not adjusted to Michigan life

By Lauren Begley
Staff Writer | reporter@arenacindependent.com
Posted 1/27/10

I never imagined that a small city north of Midland would be the place I’d end up after graduating from college. As a non-native Michigander, I don’t particularly fit into the “Michigan culture” stereotype that I’ve created in my mind.

I’ve never shot a gun. I’ve never ridden a snowmobile. I’m a horrible ice skater. I’ve never been ice fishing. I get cold easily. I didn’t grow up near a lake. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been camping in my life.

I do like hockey, though, so I hope that makes up for something.

I might not be bred for Michigan, but I’m here to stay for as long as this state will allow me.

Unlike nearly all the people from my high school graduating class, I chose to stay in Michigan instead of go outside its borders to search for my next move in life. A few very persuasive native Michiganders have come into my life over the past several years, and they quickly showed me that Michigan has more to offer than I ever thought. I’m now convinced that Michigan is better than every other state, hands down.

And if you disagree, I am not afraid to fight you. (That would be a figurative fight, of course, and not any sort of literal hand-to-hand combat.)

But beyond all the ways in which I don’t quite “fit in” with Michigan (other than loving it), I’m not really sure where to start on describing myself.

An important piece of information might be where I’m from, but that answer depends on if you mean where I’m from in Michigan or where I’m from originally.

My Michigan answer is Midland. I’ve lived there for a little over eight years, but I spent a few years in Mount Pleasant where I received a B.A. in English from Central Michigan University.

My original birthplace answer is West Virginia. I was born and raised in Charleston up until I was 12 years old. (Yes, even among all those hillbillies, I still never learned to shoot a gun.)

Between West Virginia and Michigan, I spent two years in Houston, Texas. I moved down there over a summer that hit a record high of about 110 degrees. I never want to experience something like that again.

As for my interests, I like romantic candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach and chestnuts roasting over an open fire.

I also swear that I can be a very serious person. (Although, a nice dinner with some Michigan wine would be awesome.)

Between graduation and starting up at the Independent, I spent a little bit of time writing for the Midland Daily News. I was surprised about how much I never knew about the city, and the stories I wrote let me experience another side of Midland.

In the same way, I’m excited to learn about Arenac County and its communities. The people I’ve met so far have been very open and welcoming, and I hope to continue experiencing the same kind of hospitality as I settle into the area.

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