I remember when I moved to Michigan. It was a big adjustment from where I'd lived before. The weather is strange, the people use odd slang and terminology for things (I still refuse to call it "Pop"), and Michiganders had some strange habits that I'd never seen before.

But over time, I've learned to adjust and accept, even adopt some of these strange Michigander traits as my own. So to any future Michiganders, I think I'm in a place now where I can offer up the best advice to you before you moved to the Land of the Lakes.

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First off, there were a few things I thought I'd left behind me when I moved from a southern part of the United States. Things like "Y'all" and "Fixin'" in my vocabulary would probably be seen as strange and a sign that I'm "Not from 'round these parts."

Turns out, though... y'all use y'all quite often, and in its proper context: Y'all is singular, All Y'all is plural, and All Y'all's is plural possessive. AND, everyone in Michigan drowns their food in Ranch Dressing, too. (Turns out Michigan has more in common with Oklahoma and Texas than I thought).

But there are still some things that are a bit different, so here's a quick "Need to Know" for people who are moving here soon:


 

1. If you end up in a ditch during a snow storm, don't worry. Four guys in the cab of a four-wheel drive pickup will be along any minute, and can be convinced with a 12-pack of beer to help you out. (Turns out, these guys live for this moment, and will stockpile dozens of cases of beer during the winter months providing this roadside service.)

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2. Enjoy the warmth in the summer while you can, because come December and January, you'll wish it was 90 and humid every day again.

3. Think you're cool because you drive a Mercedes Benz, or a BMW? Nope. Status Symbols are determined by which Ford, Chevy, or Dodge vehicle you drive. Bonus points if you ALSO have a Jeep "for the summer months."

4. Lines on the road are merely a suggestion. During the spring and summer, when those lines are freshly painted, you familiarize yourself as best you can with where the lanes are, and how MANY lanes there are on any given road. Because come winter, the road will be covered in snow, and even after the snow plows get to them, that paint is comin' right up with the scraping.

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5. A BBQ in Michigan, doesn't mean brisket, pulled pork, or shredded chicken. It usually just means burgers and hot dogs. This was the biggest shock for me, coming from a southern family who does it up big. If you offered this kind of "BBQ" to a person from Texas, South Carolina, or Kansas city, they'd never speak to you again. But... it's perfectly acceptable in Michigan.

6. You must schedule weddings, funerals, divorces, your kids recitals and ball games around the UofM Football schedule. And if ANYONE tries to schedule something during a home game, especially, the it's time to replace them in their role.

7. "Soda" is called "Pop" here. I know, it's strange, and still foreign to me. But while I still refuse to say it myself, I have come to at least accept that it's normal when a grown adult tells me they're running down to the Speedway to snag a Red Pop and a Coney. OH, and speaking of Coneys...

8. Coney Dogs are from Michigan, NOT New York! Can confirm, when someone in Michigan offers you a Coney Dog, it's the real deal, and arguably better than what you'd get on some boardwalk in New York.

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9. If someone says they're "Going up North" for a trip, that means they want to be left alone. Most Michiganders seem to consider anything north of U.S. Highway 10 to be "Up North." And of course, anything across the Mackinac Bridge is part of the Upper Peninsula.

10. And finally, if you hear someone talking about "Yoopers" and "Trolls," that determines where in Michigan you're from. If you live in the U.P., you're a "Yooper." If you live in the Southern Peninsula (below the Mackinac Bridge), you're a troll. MOST Michiganders are Trolls, and some of them in the Detroit area actually look like it, too.

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