As much as I love Georgia, there are a TON of things I miss about Michigan. I’m going to write about five of those today. (Obviously I also miss my family and friends…but that would make this post waaaaaay too long and emotional.)
- Good coffee. I get that it’s hotter here for a lot more of the year and people probably don’t want hot drinks all the time, so coffee shops are not really a thing here. I’m certainly not averse to Starbucks (goodness knows they’ve gotten plenty of my money over the past few years), but it seems like around here that people actually believe it’s the best coffee you can buy. I am desperately homesick for the likes of Kaya Coffee House, Roast & Toast, and Brothers Coffee and Tea (though that closed almost a year ago). Maybe that makes me a hipster, but I’ve never really had a great cup of coffee/latte/cappuccino, hot or iced, from Starbucks (though I do enjoy an occasional Frappuccino when I haven’t had a lot of calories that day, and their Refreshers drinks are pretty good), and I’ve been to Starbucks locations in five different states. I miss the care and love that baristas at a local place put into every drink.
- Good beer. I’ve heard okay-to-good things about the couple of craft brewing operations here, but Georgia’s laws about breweries/brewpubs are suuuuuuper frustrating to me. Michigan has a huge and vibrant craft beer scene. I had my pick of over a dozen different beers from at least half a dozen different local breweries just at the small grocery store I worked at for two years. My favorite brewery doesn’t distribute outside Michigan at this point, but others (I’m specifically thinking of Bell’s and Founders, though the local growler place seems to occasionally get New Holland as well) do limited distribution around here. It’s just that I’m used to having more choices.
- The Great Lakes. I know there’s an ocean down here, but the Great Lakes are so much a part of my life and who I am. My grandparents live just a few miles from Lake Huron. I worked where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet, I’ve dipped my toes in the cold waters of Lake Superior. I’ve probably read about every shipwreck documented in Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. You can tell me until you’re blue in the face that the Atlantic Ocean is the best thing ever and I won’t believe you.
- Canada and Canadians. Southern friends, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. The Overly Polite Canadian stereotype is true. Canadians may actually be nicer than Southerners, though I’m still testing this theory. What’s more, if you actually go to Canada, Canadians are pretty nice to you even after they find out you’re an American, unless you decide to be the stereotypical American jerk that people in other countries can’t stand. We could all stand to be a little more like the Canadians I’ve met.
- Being able to use my hand to point out where I have lived. Georgia is a weird shape. The counties are weird shapes. It was easy to hold up my right hand with my palm facing towards the people I’m talking to, or my left hand if they’re by my side, and show them that home is the space between my pointer and middle finger tips, that I did the rest of my growing up on the middle finger and love the shoreline that runs all along my fingertips from Traverse City to Petoskey to Mackinaw City to Cheboygan (home) and down to Alpena. Your hand is the best map ever, but it takes some work to explain it to people here.
Next Friday I’ll write about five things I love about Georgia, just to balance this out.