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I can’t believe it’s been a MONTH since graduation! Man, time flies!

While I do have more free time than I did in graduate school, I haven’t felt like it’s been wasted :). I’m so grateful to have this time to settle into life here in Michigan. To even consider what it would be like to absorb all these life changes – AND not feel like I could catch my breath – is unimaginable. Yes, I do wish I had a full-time social work job (and I’m working on it!). But SO MUCH has happened in such a short period of time. Thankfully, I’ve had the freedom to take it all in.

To say that this move has been easy would be a lie. But this was more than just a move, it was a whole shift in my life. If I could have talked to my teenage self, this is what I would say:

Me: Just breath! I promise. As confused as you feel right now, things will work out. Your life will be good. Trust me.

Younger-hyperactive-uberoverachiever-me: Really?! What do you mean? Where will I wind up? Will I figure out my passions and purpose?

Me: Michigan.

Shocked – younger-hyperactive-uberoverachiver-me: What!? How does that happen!

Me: After you went to college (watch out for freshman year though – THAT was a doozy). Studied abroad in London. And lived in Washington, DC for 5 years. Had a job you truly loved! Met friends that feel more like family. Met a guy – in uniform. Decided (with said man as a cheering squad along with family and afore mentioned friends) to move to Boston for Graduate School. Realizing along the way just how strong you actually are despite your fears. And then you find yourself in Michigan. And trust me when I say, this will be the best part.

This past month has been one spent often – alone. Haha. Don’t feel bad for me – seriously! Part of that is my doing. You see, I’m an only child – an observer – an explorer – a go-getter – a person who actually doesn’t mind being alone (I HATE shopping in groups! Drives me nuts!)! Joe is there – providing support in unspoken and vocal ways. Guiding me around town and in adjusting to a new family. But he works (thankful for financial support too!) 6 days a week – almost 60 hours a week. I love him for that and how hard he works for US. However, that means that for 60 hours a week, I am often left to my own devices.

I know it may not make sense, but I’ve been GLAD to have this time! My life is going through changes now that are monumental to me – and I have the TIME and SPACE to adjust to them. I must admit that I think this has made it easier. Call me crazy, but this may be the last time in my life that I’ll actually have these two precious things. Marriage is exciting (5.5 months!), but it can also bring up emotions that one is not always expecting. I’m thankful that this past month has helped me slide into this new chapter of life.

So besides spending most of my time on the job hunt front, I’ve also done some exploring – and observing. And here is what I’ve discovered:

1. People really are friendly in the Mid-west! Thank GOD!

2. Sweet-peas (the flowers that cost TONS of money) are growing wildly in Joe’s parking lot.

3. Highs in the low-80s and lows in the high-40s mean I am one happy camper during the day – and sleep with the windows open at night!

4. Joe lied. The sun does actually shine here – all the time! (ask me again in December if I’ve bought a light box)

5. There are way more lakes here than the Great ones. And I plan on exploring them! Starting with the ones near our condo. Zukey Lake Tavern – you are on my list!

6. I’m officially moving to the country – and WE like it that way! AND we have a LAUNDRY ROOM/PANTRY! I’m kinda excited about this. I have a special project in mind for this room!

7. Thanks to the Tornado Siren test while I was on our condo tour – I know we will hear it LOUD and CLEAR.

8. They do get tornadoes here. Just ask anyone in Dexter, MI.

9. Bugs! Bugs! And more bugs! Ugh seriously!

10. LaBatt Blue is NOT a specialty beer at restaurants here (Sorry Brickskeller!). Oh Yah!

11. Hockey is kinda a big deal, yah! They even play hockey on bikes here – what?!

12. Go Blue! Seriously, EVERYONE AND THEIR GRANDMA wears U of M gear. Oh college town!

13. Joe’s nephews are my new BFFs. We make cool forts. They love pirates. And one can actually scale the curtains…um if you let him.

14. People have chicken coops here – and talk about them over organic coffee at Zingerman’s.

15. Joe and his roommate like to listen to music and sing out loud – and sometimes dance ridiculously. It makes me smile.

16. Flowers here are BEAUTIFUL! There is something so different about the landscape here – the tall Blue Spuce pines, mixed with thistles, lavender, and roses. I often stop to smell them (because of sweet, precious time!).

17. They do have fireflies! Though not as many.

18. On a windy day, the Cattail seeds float through the air like snow.

19. They don’t have pot-holes here. They have pot-canyons. Seriously, every road. They run sideways and long ways down the road leaving your car to shake and shimmy the whole way.

20. There is a LOT of road construction. Good!

21. Gravel roads and paved roads can exist in the same neighborhood.

22. They have a TON of festivals or fairs. Taste of Ann Arbor, yes ma’am! Especially since the meals here have been super good – and budget friendly!

22. Their left turn lights are flashing reds – which confused the heck out of me (hello new to town!).

23. They DON’T honk for no reason OR are aggressive drivers. THANKFULLY!

24. They have every store I could need (or want – hello Target!) but the nearest Crate & Barrel and Paper Source are closer to Detroit (about an hour away) :(.

25. Joe is what makes this place feel most like home 🙂

And now we have an actual home. A little condo just outside Ann Arbor City Limits – surrounded by farm fields with a little downtown (with a traffic light!). Next up is exploring our new neighborhood (they have a farmer’s market each week in the summer!) and picking out paint colors for our bedroom (more to come on this later). But it’s the little things like going to Meijers (grocery store) or church with Joe that make me the happiest. After all, it’s nice to know that you do have a person to keep you company – if you want it.

One happy camper!

Erin

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