I mean the real reason.
Sure, I told you all that business about my new job and wanting to be part of a community and trying something new while not being too far from my family and blahdeblahblah.
But these are not the real reasons.
These are just the reasons I tell random strangers and new coworkers when they ask me why I moved to Michigan. These are the I-don’t-want-this-person-to-think-I’m-a-total-lunatic reasons.
And, for the most part, they’ve worked. I mean, no one’s backed away from me with that, “Oh, God, let’s hope she doesn’t have a knife” look on their face. So that’s good, right?
But there’s really no point in lying to you guys, is there? I mean, if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably already know I’m pretty much a lunatic. And if you don’t think I’m a lunatic, you just haven’t read my blog enough. (Still not convinced I’m crazy? I suggest you start here.)You see, the real reason I moved to Michigan is because I received a sign.
Several in fact.
But not the kind you think.
These were not lightning-from-the-heavens, voice-of-God-telling-me-what-to-do signs.
These were actual, literal signs.
As you may recall, I took a little road trip to Michigan back in May – way back before the idea of moving to Michigan or really anywhere — had even entered my head. On that road trip, I found myself on a stretch of two-lane highway on my way to St. Ignace. The drive was only supposed to take a few hours, but it took me probably twice the amount of time it was supposed to because I kept on having to pull over.
You see, every twenty minutes I’d come across some ridiculous sign like this:
And I’d be forced to turn my car around, go back to the sign and take a picture of it. FORCED, I SAY! Because, you guys, I can’t just drive past the world’s largest cherry pie and not take a picture. That would just be rude and disrespectful to pies.
By the time I finally reached St. Ignace, I was so completely smitten with Michigan and all its wacky signs, that I was convinced I needed to make Michigan my new home.
And then a few weeks later, I spotted a posting for a job in Michigan. I applied, got the job and moved here — all because of the world’s largest cherry pie and a few cheeky garden store signs. Honestly, I’ve moved to places for lesser reasons.Since I arrived in Kalamazoo a few weeks ago, I’ve received more than my fair share of signs.
Some of these signs have been positive – they’ve even reaffirmed my decision to move to Michigan.
Some of these signs have not been quite so reassuring.
You can decide which one is which.
(Again, you guys, I’m talking about actual, literal signs here. God has not been speaking to me from the heavens. Unless, God speaks in pie. In that case, God and I are totally on speaking terms.)
Signs I May (or May Not) Have Moved to the Right Place
I’m not really sure how to take this sign.
First, there’s that bit about Kalamazoo meaning “boiling water.” Is this a good thing? Or does that mean that by moving to Kalamazoo, I’m essentially in hot water? Like, really, really, hot water.
On the plus side, there’s the fact that Lincoln spoke here and J. Fenimore Cooper wrote about it here and the town was founded by some guy named Titus. I mean, those are all pretty cool, right?
But I don’t know if I can respect a city that was once famous for celery.
Broccoli? For sure.
But celery? Errm, not so much.
I mean, a cleverly-named cemetery?
This sign also made me totally do a u-turn in the middle of traffic, so I could pull over and get a picture of it.
If you are not familiar with frozen custard, it’s basically like ice cream. If ice cream was made out of angel dreams and unicorn thoughts and everything good in the world EVER.
As if frozen custard isn’t the best thing on the planet already, this place serves it up in all these fancy-pants flavors like spicy chocolate and three gingers and pumpkin praline. And every single flavor is pretty much life-changing. Which means, my life has changed about half a dozen times this past week – as that’s how many times I’ve been there since I discovered the place. (STOP JUDGING ME. THE SIGN MADE ME DO IT!)
Or, at least, “Signs I should probably read up on what to do in case of a tornado.”
Because, you guys, I don’t know anything about tornadoes!
I didn’t even know they had tornadoes here. I thought tornadoes were only something that happened in Kansas, and only if you happened to have a dog named Toto.
You guys, I can’t even think about Wegmans without getting a little weepy.
This isn’t to say the grocery stores in Kalamazoo are bad. They’re pretty much your typical grocery stores.
Which means they are not Wegmans. I mean, I can’t even compare Wegmans with the grocery stores here. It’s like comparing apples to something that’s really not an apple at all. Like, not even a little bit.
The grocery stores here don’t have gourmet olive bars or make-your-own-granola stands. And there is absolutely nothing artisanal about their cheese selection. Last week, instead of buying my usual Wegmans’ brand parmigiano-reggiano which is imported directly from Italy and probably grated by some Italian grandmother in the back of the store, I had to buy Kraft parmesan cheese. Can you imagine my horror?
But there is one thing that Michigan grocery stores have got right: it’s alcohol.
And lots of it.
In fact, most stores have three aisles devoted just to booze.
Some of them even have a special section devoted just to Michigan booze.
I suspect the reason why Michigan stores have so much booze is because you need a lot of alcohol to wash that non-artisanal cheese taste out of your mouth.
Luckily, it’s working.
Sign #6Okay, so this probably doesn’t look like a sign.
It probably just looks like a photo of a whole bunch of free pie.
But I promise you there were signs involved.
First, there was a sign explaining why there was so much free pie in the staff room. Which, frankly, I didn’t really read. Because FREE PIE, you guys! There’s really no explanation needed.
And, secondly, there were little itty bitty signs in each pie explaining what type of pie it was.
Which, again, I didn’t really read. Because FREE PIE, you guys! Who cares what’s inside? I’m sure it’s going to taste delicious because it’s FREE and it’s PIE.
And, sure enough, the slice I tried was delicious.
It tasted like sugar and reassurance wrapped in a flaky crust of you-made-the-right-decision.
Briefly I thought that maybe God was speaking to me in pie, after all.
And I think he was trying to say I should have another slice.Have you ever received a sign telling you that you’ve made the right decision?