Six Signs I May (or May Not) Have Moved to the Right Place

September 22, 2013

2013-09-16 13.07.02

I never did tell you the reason I moved to Michigan.

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:


Or this:


Or this:


Or this:


This may not look like a sign. It may just look like a replica of the world’s largest cherry pie. But pie is ALWAYS a sign.

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.

Come on. Tell me you wouldn't move because of THIS.

Come on. Tell me you wouldn’t move because of THIS.

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

Sign #1


I spotted this sign before I even got to Kalamazoo as it’s at a rest stop just outside of the city.

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.

Carrots? Maybe.

Broccoli? For sure.

But celery? Errm, not so much.

Sign #2

2013-08-30 14.36.53

This sign made me totally fall in love with Kalamazoo.

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.

Sign #3


Speaking of signs that totally made me do a U-turn in the middle of traffic. Of course, when I turned around because of this sign, it wasn’t because I needed to take a picture of the sign, but because FROZEN CUSTARD OMIGOD I NEED TO TURN THE CAR AROUND RIGHT NOW.

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.

Hello, heaven-on-a-cone.

Hello, heaven-on-a-cone.

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!)

Sign #4

2013-09-20 16.26.53

This sign definitely falls under the “Signs I probably shouldn’t have moved to Michigan.”

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.

Sign #5

2013-09-22 12.36.00

There’s one big huge thing I miss about Buffalo – besides, you know, my family and my friends and my coworkers and everyone-else-who-might-read-this-blog. And it’s Wegmans.

You guys, I can’t even think about Wegmans without getting a little weepy.

2012-11-18 11.42.40

It’s like Disneyland. But more magical.

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?


Oh, Wegmans cheese aisle, how I miss you so!

But there is one thing that Michigan grocery stores have got right: it’s alcohol.

And lots of it.

2013-09-22 12.24.04

In fact, most stores have three aisles devoted just to booze.

Some of them even have a special section devoted just to Michigan booze.

2013-09-01 14.57.54

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.

I'm going to need a lot more of this to go with my Kraft parmesan cheese.

I’m going to need a lot more of this to go with my Kraft parmesan cheese.

Sign #6
2013-09-16 16.35.48

This was the situation in my school’s staff room last week.

Okay, 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?

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On September 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm Lillie - @WorldLillie said:

    Cracking up so hard! Congrats on your move, and keep the humor (and pie photos) coming!
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..20 Funny Pregnancy Symptoms of the Third Trimester

  2. On September 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm Sally said:

    Even if you hadn’t seen all those other signs (and god help you if you had missed the frozen custard!!!), I think the whole “free pie at work” thing is a pretty big thumbs up from destiny.

    And now I really need a slice of pie. Thanks.
    Sally recently posted..Featured Photograph: Farm Ladder

  3. On September 22, 2013 at 10:02 pm cutebun said:

    Wow so signs that made you move to Michigan are literally signs XD
    cutebun recently posted..NINETOLOGY going onto the next upscale level

  4. On September 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm Colleen Brynn said:

    I dunno… my god speaks in pie.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..Mongolian Grub: The Good, The Bad & The VERY Bad

  5. On September 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm Ross said:

    Glad you are liking Kalamazoo. Too bad about the Kraft cheese. You’ve got to find a way to get some real cheese.
    Ross recently posted..Teapot Lake

  6. On September 22, 2013 at 10:46 pm Doshin said:

    Have you had the time yet to make a field trip (pilgrimage) to Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor? Beautiful autumn weather must be coming up and a nice drive might be just the thing. They have a thing called “tour de Cheese” in which a person can get a monthly ration of artisanal cheese. I’m just saying.
    Doshin recently posted..The Blue Lady Dreams of Home

  7. On September 22, 2013 at 11:13 pm Eric | Venture2Adventure said:

    In the winter the lake effect snow will remind you of Buffalo. Michigan is a beautiful state and now that your an official Michigander you can use the “Michigan hand map” to show people where you’re from on your travels (helps with the language barrier).
    Eric | Venture2Adventure recently posted..Through My Lens Thursday: Seattle Waterfront

  8. On September 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm Ashley of Ashley Abroad said:

    I’m glad you’re liking Michigan so far! I grew up there so it was fun to hear your perspective. If you get the chance I’d definitely head up to Saugatuck, it’s a really fun artsy community on Lake Michigan.
    Ashley of Ashley Abroad recently posted..Thoughts on My First Time in Asia

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm Sally said:

      Saugatuck is definitely on the list. I’ve seen such pretty photos from there & heard it’s a fun place to visit. And don’t they have a brewery there? I’m asking for a friend. 🙂

  9. On September 23, 2013 at 12:10 am Meesh said:

    Dude! There is a Whole Foods and Trader Joes down the street from each other in Ann Arbor (like 2mins between) a mere 1 hr & 37 min drive away, straight across I-94. That’s worth a monthly road trip me thinks. 😉
    Meesh recently posted..Happy New Year! (Birthday)

  10. On September 23, 2013 at 12:16 am Katherine Belarmino said:

    I think all those signs are pretty good indications you made the right choice. Except for Wegman’s. I visited my best friend exactly one time in Rochester, New York, which was enough time for me to fall in love. Pretty sure that is the only grocery store in which I have taken pictures.
    Katherine Belarmino recently posted..What I Hated About Phuket (And Why You Should Still Go)

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:37 pm Sally said:

      Wegmans is definitely picture-worthy. I think the next time I go there, I’ll take video, so I can watch the video when I’m feeling particularly Wegmans-sick and pretend like I’m back there.

  11. On September 23, 2013 at 1:33 am Christina said:

    Those are some phenomenal signs. “we wet our plants” = hilarious!

    I too miss Wegmans more than anything. I think it has ruined grocery stores for me…they’ll never ever ever compare 🙁

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm Sally said:

      Yeah, you really shouldn’t even be allowed to shop in Wegmans unless you plan on living next to one for the rest of your life. It just ruins you.

  12. On September 23, 2013 at 8:27 am Jenni @ Traveler for Good said:

    Yay for Ritter’s Frozen Custard. There used to be one right by my apartment when I lived in Indianapolis. If there is something Colorado is lacking (other than a giant lake), it’s frozen custard.
    Jenni @ Traveler for Good recently posted..Something New: Lodging via Air BnB

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm Sally said:

      How could you live next to something so amazing and move? Seriously. I mean, I’m sure Colorado is nice. But from living next door to the best custard EVER to moving to a city with NO custard? WHA???

  13. On September 23, 2013 at 8:33 am Susan @ Travel Junkette said:

    Omg, Ritters is my FAVORITE. I am super jealous. Have fun in Michigan — try to get to a Michigan football game if you can. It’ll blow your mind! And drink some Bells Oberon. Enjoy the mitten!

    PS. Weggies!!! There’s no grocery store like it. I feel like that’s I just had to come to terms with that fact. Haha.
    Susan @ Travel Junkette recently posted..PHOTO: VW Beetle Amidst the Aspens

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:34 pm Sally said:

      I live within walking distance from Bell’s, so, yep, I’ve been doing pretty good on the Oberon front. But I must get myself to a football game. I know nothing about the sport, but people seem so into it, I think it would be fun to go to a game.

  14. On September 23, 2013 at 9:35 am Montecristo Travels (Sonja) said:

    Get your cheese delivered!! For example:

    problem … solved! 🙂 Your welcome.

  15. On September 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm Diana said:

    You need to come visit your relatives in Wisconsin when you have some free time. We have LOTS of artisanal cheeses (and beers) here!

  16. On September 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm Priya said:

    I thought you moved so you could be closer to me! And all along it was for the signs!
    Priya recently posted..Traveler-Wannabe: Not Fitting In

  17. On September 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm Kelly @Try New Things said:

    I think that you should write a book about you and your adventures. You are a very funny writer.

  18. On September 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm Nicole said:

    OMFG, those signs were hilarious. I love that.
    Nicole recently posted..Wednesday’s Wonder: Before I Die

  19. On September 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    The pies would have sealed the deal for me!

  20. On September 23, 2013 at 8:05 pm AmandaH said:

    I love Michigan. My uncle lives in Kalamazoo, went out there years ago to visit him when I still lived in Chicago. They have a rockin’ St. Patty’s Day! And pull tabs. And I don’t remember what else.

    I’ve moved a few times in my day. The discovery phase is the best. Good luck to you and your adventures.

  21. On September 23, 2013 at 9:14 pm Sine said:

    Great stuff. And kudos for getting all those signs photographed. Not easy to keep pulling over in traffic!
    I would have thought that the word Kalamazoo was enough of a sign to move there. I’ve always loved that name, so exotic. In fact I used to think it must be somewhere close to Timbuktu. Not that I really knew where that was.
    If you can get a chance to live somewhere exotic like that, you gotta take it. Then you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren one day that you once practically lived in Africa.
    Sine recently posted..Only in America

  22. On September 24, 2013 at 3:32 am suzette said:

    Adorable post! I moved to the beach in LA because of something funny too; when I moved to the city as an adult, I got lost no matter where I was driving to or from. No matter how far away from the coast I was, I would end up at the beach. I realized that was my sign; its where I’m meant to be :). Happy as a clam. – Suzette
    suzette recently posted..Want to Meet a Baby Cheetah?

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha. That definitely sounds like a sign. Whereas for some reason every time I get in my car, my car heads directly towards frozen custard. Hmmm… probably also a sign. That I need to stop getting in my car.

  23. On September 24, 2013 at 5:50 am Michelle @ Mishfish13 said:

    Yay! Kalamazoo is just an hour away from where I used to go to school. It’s not a bad place to settle down—I have a few friends that came from that city 🙂
    Michelle @ Mishfish13 recently posted..Where deafness meets language barriers

  24. On September 24, 2013 at 10:06 am Beth said:

    I have never heard of Wegmans before, but all these comments about it make me really curious to visit one!

    I think those are some pretty good signs to reaffirm your decision to move though 🙂
    Beth recently posted..Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival: The Not-So Hallmark Holiday

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:22 pm Sally said:

      It’s probably best you never visit a Wegmans unless you’re going to be living near one. Because after you experience Wegmans, you will never want to shop anywhere else ever EVER again. Trust me. I know this.

  25. On September 24, 2013 at 10:31 am Corinne said:

    Love your signs. My favorite is the “seedy” one. Love it!
    Corinne recently posted..High Up, High on the Mountain – Ronda, Spain

  26. On September 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm Jacquie @ Must for Wanderlust said:

    Okay these signs are too cute! Never been to Michigan but looks like I need to go 😉 x

  27. On September 25, 2013 at 8:48 am Heather said:

    I love those first few signs, and I would have been right there with you, making an immediate U-turn to snap a pic. Enjoy the pie and ice cream and keep sharing awesome signs!

  28. On September 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm Matea Michelangeli said:

    Welcome to the Zoo!
    yep, there is no Wegmans, or WHole Foods or any good shopping whatsoever…but the town grows on you, I promise. I moved here 5 years ago and now I don’t want to leave (except to travel, of course).

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm Sally said:

      Thank you for the welcome! The town has definitely grown on me in the month that I’ve been here. And this weekend I discovered D&W Fresh Market — which was kind of like a mini-Wegmans. I mean, it’s still no Wegmans, but, at least, there was a sushi bar so there’s that!

  29. On September 29, 2013 at 4:07 am Carmel said:

    The “we wet our plants” sign made me crack up.

    When we moved up to Seattle from Portland I was almost in tears because I miss my New Seasons, which is a local grocery chain in the Portland area. It’s like Whole Foods, but local, cheaper (IMO), and a whole lot friendlier. I miss it so…

    But now I’m in the land of almost NO cheese (I’m sorry Mongolians, but what you call cheese is NOT cheese) and no wine. But plenty of cheap vodka, so you pick your battles.
    Carmel recently posted..GRATITUDE

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm Sally said:

      Good luck with that no cheese thing. I would think Mongolia would be a bit more cheese-loving than the rest of Asia. I mean what do they do with all that yak milk?

  30. On October 1, 2013 at 6:12 am Ceri said:

    I’m sorry, it’s great that you’ve been receiving (mostly) great signs about your choice to move but Kalamazoo … Like, I can’t help but smile when I see that name. Kalamazoo. It is still the best name I’ve ever heard for a town and every time you put it in a post, I giggle.
    Ceri recently posted..My Five Favourite Things in September

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:08 pm Sally said:

      Okay, I’m adding you giggling to my list of reasons it was a good thing I moved here. That and the frozen custard really makes it all worth it.

  31. On October 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm Heather said:

    I received a pretty big sign telling me I should move to NYC. I had flown to SF to visit a friend and to determine if I wanted to move to the West Coast. On the way home, there were huge delays at Newark and my plane was stuck on the runway for hours. Out my window I could see the twin towers. The more I stared at them, the more I knew I wanted to live there. I moved to NYC four months later. Best decision I ever made.

    Can you send me some of that pumpkin praline frozen custard? Pretty please?
    Heather recently posted..Afternoon Tea at the Puli Hotel, Shanghai

    • On October 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm Sally said:

      Now that you’re back in the States you can just come and visit and get some. Trust me. It would totally be worth the drive/flight/whatever-you-have-to-do-to-get-here.

  32. On October 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm Chelsea said:

    This was the literal sign that told me I had made the right choice in road tripping to Sweden:

    It means “speed bump”… and oh so much more…

    (image linked from
    Chelsea recently posted..Stockholm or BUST!

  33. On November 7, 2013 at 5:58 am Alli said:

    I love the signs! This kind of reminds me of one time when my sister and I drove from Tennessee to Missouri to visit our grandma. We stopped along the way and fixed typos in signs. … There were quite a few in the rural areas! Haha

    Also, I am from Michigan (though I currently live in Korea) so welcome!


  1. unbrave girl | Mitten List: Art Prize
  2. unbrave girl | The Go Solo Project (Or “How I Ended up at a Male Strip Show. By Myself. Because That’s Not Weird.”)
  3. unbrave girl | Mitten List: Survive a (Kind of) Tornado
  4. unbrave girl | My Life in Michigan Report Card
  5. unbrave girl | My Favorite Things (Or “Stuff I Would Totally Buy Someone If I Hadn’t Already Bought It For Myself.”)
  6. Giving up on temporary

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge