Whelp, Guys, It’s Official

October 18, 2013


Can you believe it?

I’m kind of having trouble believing it myself.

This is the first time I’ve never not been a New Yorker.

I mean, I’ve lived in other states before. But it’s always been on something of a temporary basis.

But, seeing as it’s looking like I might be in Michigan for a while, I decided to make things official.

As this was my first time applying for a license in a different state, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I made my way to the DMV.

But I was kind of expecting it to be called a DMV.

As it turns out the DMV is not called a DMV here at all.

It’s called Secretary of State.

I know, weird, right?

Although, I do have to admit the name elevates things just a bit. I mean, nobody envies you when you tell them you have to go stand in line at the DMV. But telling people that you need to go to the Secretary of the State? That sounds pretty highfalutin if you ask me.

Well, well, look who's fahhncy!

Well, well, look who’s fahhncy!

Also, just FYI, I found out that you’re not allowed to just call it “SOS” for short. Which I thought was cool and clever, but when I tried it out on my cousins who have lived in Michigan their entire lives, they just laughed at me.

Other than finding-out-the-DMV-is-not-actually-a-DMV-and-you-shouldn’t-call-it-SOS-no-matter-how-much-you-want-to, changing my official state of residence turned out to be pretty anticlimactic.

Nobody quizzed me on the state bird.

A group of local folk did not welcome me with pies.

There was no tossing of my New York State driver’s license into a raging bonfire kept on hand for the destruction of all out-of-state licenses.

They just flipped through the forms I had given them, took my photo for my new license and than handed over my temporary license.

Or my Michigan Temporary Operator License.


Which kind of sounds like the title of a low-budget adult movie. Made, of course, in Michigan. So it had that going for it.

And then this week I got my permanent license.

So I guess that means I have to call myself a Michigander now.

I can’t say I’m too happy about this.

Mind you, this is not because I don’t like Michigan. Michigan is just fine and dandy.

I mean, who doesn't love a state that's shaped like a high five?

I mean, who doesn’t love a state that’s shaped like a high five?

But, Michigander? Really? Must I?

Michigander just makes me think of the word “gander” which makes me think of geese which makes me think of the time I was attacked by a goose on Halloween which makes me want to cry.

I can’t be the only one who experiences Post Traumatic Waterfowl Disorder every time I hear the term, Michigander, can I?

Okay, don’t answer that.

Plus, you guys, Michiganders are really nice.

I mean, really, really, REALLY nice.

Strangers are always smiling and striking up conversations. And the cashiers will ask you about your day and then look at you like they expect you to respond.

This has been kind of hard for me because, you guys, I am just not that nice. I mean, sure, I have my moments. But smile and talk to strangers? Sometimes before noon? That’s not really a thing I do. And, seriously, every time a cashier does the whole “So how’s your day going?” thing I just stare at them and think, “Back off, buddy, I don’t even know you.”

Until now I could just rack up my rudeness to my New Yorkerness.

But, I’m a Michigander now.

I’m going to have to start being a lot nicer.

Or start wearing a t-shirt that says, “Don’t mind me. I’m not from around here. No matter what my license says.”

 Question time: have you ever officially changed your state of residence? Did you change along with it? Or did you stick to your old-state ways?

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

  1. On October 18, 2013 at 7:50 am Amanda Slavinsky said:

    I cried, legitimately cried, when I legally stopped being a Michigander so please enjoy it for me. You’ll get used to the word soon enough 🙂

    And every time I have to show someone my Kentucky license I make sure to preface it with “I’m actually from Michigan”. But I also haven’t lived in Kentucky for longer than 3 months total in the 3 years I’ve had the license so…
    Amanda Slavinsky recently posted..Playing Posh: Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s

    • On October 26, 2013 at 3:11 pm Sally said:

      I’ve found myself saying stuff like, “We don’t do that where I come from…” a lot. Which is funny because I’ve lived most of my adult life outside of Buffalo and had only been back in Buffalo a year before moving here, so how do I even know what we do where I come from? I haven’t lived there enough to be some kind of expert.

  2. On October 18, 2013 at 10:35 am Tom @ Waegook Tom said:

    Not enough people talk about PTWD. Those pesky geese, swans, ducks and assorted waterfowl are allowed to get away with their crimes without ever being brought to justice. Or the dinner table.

    And no pie welcoming party? I’d have fled the moment I realised that I wasn’t going to be presented with a batch of both sweet and savoury pie-y goodness. No amount of friendliness can make up for a lack of welcoming pies.
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Eating All The Delicious Things In Paris

    • On October 26, 2013 at 3:09 pm Sally said:

      Don’t be badmouthing ducks! My waterfowl ire is limited solely to geese at the moment (although I do have a healthy mistrust of swans… sure, they’re pretty, but they’re a little too similar to geese). But I LOVE ducks. Seriously, if I could have a pet duck in my apartment, I totally would.

      • On March 5, 2014 at 6:02 pm Felipe said:

        I’m not alone! My friends all think it’s ridiculous that I dislike geese and like ducks, but it’s not!…and by the way, in Michigan, our swans tend to be an invasive species known as the mute swan. They are evil beasts and not to be trusted. However, our ducks (especially the mallards) are sweet, kind, and lovable souls
        Felipe recently posted..Mah Na Mah Na

  3. On October 18, 2013 at 11:59 am Colleen Brynn said:

    I changed provinces! Yay Canada.
    I am from Manitoba (our license plates say “Friendly Manitoba” and now I live in Ontario with an Ontario driver’s license. Their plates say “Yours to discover” … so in a way, I’ve done the reverse of what you have done, and I have mostly stuck to my friendly Manitoban but definitely am more of an aggressive highway driver now. People from Ontario are pretty friendly but completely crazy (and inconsistent!) on the highway.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..A Weekend At Home

    • On October 26, 2013 at 3:07 pm Sally said:

      Interesting… see, they’re probably going to kick me out of the state for saying this, but I think Michigander drivers are INSANE. Sure, us New Yorkers have a reputation for being impatient jerks, but I drive like an old lady compared to everyone in Michigan. (Okay, so maybe I drive like an old lady in general, but still…) I think it’s because everyone’s so nice around here, they have to get their aggressions out somehow.

  4. On October 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm Fem said:

    Hey there Michigander, how (but seriously, HOW) did you manage to look so cheerful and normal on that photo? (asking because I always end up looking like a maniac on this kind of pics…)
    Fem recently posted..Touring Club Leyde ging een weekend naar Parijs

    • On October 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha. I save my maniac-ness for my all my visa and passport photos. (You should see my Chinese visa one. Whoa. I look like some kind of crazy serial killer.) 🙂

  5. On October 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm Priya said:

    I recently renewed my license and had to take a new picture and for the first time ever the picture came out OK. Because it usually comes out totally not OK. But I never had to change my state of residence ever because I’ve been the same resident of the same state forever and can’t seem to leave. Ever.
    Priya recently posted..Don’t Ask For Permission: Publish Boobs

  6. On October 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm Penguinlady said:

    We’ve moved so much, I forgot what it was like to be a New Yorker! I was a NY’r, then a Californian, then a Masshole (Massachutian? Maybe from NY I just always heard Masshole), then to Canada to be an Albertan, now a Marylander! I miss the mountains of NY, the beaches from CA, my friends from MA, and the Ethiopian food from Alberta. If we could roll up all the best stuff from all those places, it would be great.

  7. On October 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm Jenni @ Traveler For Good said:

    Currently proud to be a Coloradan (I even have the special “transplant” bumper sticker). However…I’m moving to Hawaii in two weeks and I’m pretty sure that even with an Aloha State license plate I won’t be able to call myself Hawaiian. Possibly ever.
    Jenni @ Traveler For Good recently posted..Moving 3300 Miles Away (and the ensuing panic)

  8. On October 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm Heather said:

    Congrats on your lovely license photo! You aren’t allowed to smile for the VA license photos so they end up looking like mug shots. I liked my NY license much better. If it hadn’t expired, I’d probably still be carrying it around even though I haven’t lived there in like eight years 🙂
    Heather recently posted..Visiting the NYC 9/11 Memorial

    • On October 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm Sally said:

      They actually had a sign in the Michigan DMV (err… Secretary of State) instructing everyone to smile. Gotta look happy and nice like a proper Michigander!

  9. On October 19, 2013 at 10:45 pm Rebecca said:

    After growing up and graduating from college in Louisiana, I began moving around the country. I came back to live in Louisiana 5 times in 37 years, and am now here again for the 6th. But mostly, I lived in Florida and Nevada. A couple of stints in California, one each in New York & New Jersey, but primarily FL & NV.

    I’ve never been good, though, about keeping my driving legalities as they should be. I got stopped one time in Nevada and the plates on the front of my car were from New Jersey while the back ones were from Florida. My driver’s license was from Louisiana. I still don’t know how I got out of that situation without a ticket. I think the cop may have been too flabbergasted to think clearly.

  10. On October 21, 2013 at 11:23 am Carmel said:

    Michigander sounds like a Ned Flanders kind of term. Nothing special about when I moved from Washington to Oregon, although you only have to renew your license every 8 years in Oregon, so that’s nice.
    Carmel recently posted..WELCOMING CHANGE

    • On October 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm Sally said:

      Omigod. It totally DOES sound like a Ned Flanders thing. I think every time I call myself a Michigander, I’m going to need to follow it up with a “Okily dokily.”

  11. On October 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm Brian Wallis said:

    Post Traumatic Waterfowl Disorder might be incorrect. After all,being on Halloween, probably the goose was possessed by some supernatural thing, so…

    • On October 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm Sally said:

      Having grown up on a farm and in very close proximity to geese, I can assure you that geese are jerks pretty much anytime of year. They are a truly foul fowl (ahem, sorry, I couldn’t help myself).

  12. On October 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm Ceri said:

    Whenever a stranger asks me “How’s it going today?” we end up having this panicked staring contest because I think to myself, ‘This person must know me because they wouldn’t be that nice if they didn’t. Crap! Who are they??!!?’
    Ceri recently posted..Beautiful Birthday Boys

  13. On October 24, 2013 at 10:58 am Jetara said:

    Welcome to Kalamazoo!!!!! The home of the Kalamazoo Promise which pays for college tution for all students that graduate from a Kalamazoo Public School. I love your posts. Enjoy your new home.

  14. On March 7, 2015 at 12:38 pm Steph said:

    I’m from Grand Rapids! Michigan high five!
    Steph recently posted..Studying Portuguese – Language Classes in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


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