I have countless reasons to be thankful for being back home, but I am especially thankful for the following:
8. The People
After a few days in our new home, my wife commented that so many people have been kind to her and welcomed her back to Michigan. Whether it was the checkout lady at the supermarket or a clerk at a paint store, people have been happy to suggest things for us to do in our new town. My daughter was only in school for two days before she received her first invitation to a classmate's birthday party. The little things matter, so thank you to every kind soul who has welcomed us home.
7. Beautiful Lakes Everywhere!
My wife and I had a list of cities and neighborhoods where we wanted to live when we moved back, but we ended up living in a city we were not really considering because we found a house that fit us far better than anything else we looked at. The house is as warm and inviting as the comfy old sweater that you pull out of your closet on the coldest winter nights. Plus, we are surrounded by beautiful lakes, and I get to see views like this no matter which direction I drive:
|Orchard Lake at Sunset|
I have posted a lot about food lately and am planning more food posts because going out to dinner is all I have had time to do while unpacking boxes and starting a new job. I have had so many good meals at places like Vinsetta Garage, One-Eyed Betty's, Stage Deli, Jolly Pumpkin, Griffin Claw Brewing Company, Loya Organic, V&M Polish Kitchen, the Detroit Institute of Bagels, Bread Basket Deli, Shield's Pizza, and more.
|A delicious burger from Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor.|
My job placed me in a Detroit school for a month and I still head into the city frequently for work. I have seen the skyline from the East Side, driving up Woodward, off the Lodge, from Corktown, and other angles during the last two months. It has not gotten old. I have also spent time in neighborhoods that I have not seen before, and I have worked with Detroit school kids who give me hope for the future of the city and the state.
|Detroit's Woodbridge neighborhood welcomes you|
I love the four seasons. I love an early snowfall that catches us off guard. Palm trees, sun, and sand year-round just seems boring. Give me changing leaves, a canopy of tree branches covered in freshly fallen snow, 70 degrees in the morning followed by 30 degrees in the afternoon, water that cannot decide whether it is rain, sleet, or snow as it falls from the sky, summer nights on a quiet lakefront, and the laughter of children as they race down an icy hill on a sled, jump into a pile of fallen leaves, or jump into their local river or lake. I have all of this again, and I am thankful for it.
|Michigan lake after a November snow|
Some Michigan craft beers are available in Virginia, but most are not. Every time I go to the supermarket or a restaurant now, I have so many Michigan brews to choose from. Do I want a Greenbush Anger, a Short's Huma Lupa Licious IPA, a Right Brain CEO Stout, a Bell's Two Hearted Ale, a Founders Breakfast Stout, a Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, or something from one of the many other Michigan brewers?
|A couple of brews from Griffin Claw|
I love being around Detroit sports fans and college football fans again. College football is not very big on the east coast, and it was not always easy to follow Detroit sports from 550 miles away. Michigan offers amazing college hockey, multiple college football teams, two of the best college basketball programs in the country, and of course the Lions, Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings.
I was able to spend a lot of time with my dad during the last month of his life. I miss him every day and would do anything to have him back, but I am eternally thankful for that month with him. Now, I am happy to be near my mom and my brother and his family and to have my kids grow up in Michigan, my state.