Oh Michigan, My Michigan!

Dear Michigan,

Oh Michigan, you great and wonderful state of wonderfulness. I have not known what it is like to truly live in any other state in this country, though I have visited a good handful on the east side, and I am not sad about this whatsoever. It dawned on me today while I was driving on Woodward that firstly, what a wonderful privilege I have to drive on this amazing, historical road, and secondly, that even though I feel like my life is meant to be bigger than Michigan, I love living here.

I love the fact that we’re the only place on this earth that can point to our hand when we want to show someone where somewhere is. I love the fact that we have U-turns all over the damn place and 4 lane roads (or shall I say 8 lane roads, you know, WITH U-turns) and double-left turn lanes. I love the fact that Detroit is a ghost city with like 14 people walking around and all the destruction and empty buildings. It’s depressing, yet beautiful, and I call that home.

I remember the drive to the airport in April on I-75, seeing all the burned houses lining the freeway, and feeling simultaneously sad and acknowledging to myself that yes, this place is broken down and sometimes kinda hopeless, but I feel a sense of belonging. And on the way back from the airport after my trip, I remember looking at the desolation and mentally greeting it: Hello uglyass burned house where crackbabies are made, you are part of me. I kinda missed you, actually. I’m glad to be home.

Home, Michigan. That’s what you are to me. You have been home for 14 years. I have grown to speak your language, to know your culture, to love (and hate) your people. I have grown deep roots in you, Michigan. I have become one of those people who, despite knowing how shitty our economy is or how shitty some of our sports teams are (those damn Lions…perfect losing record in 08/09) I still feel immense pride to be a part of you. I love telling people I’m from the D. Well not really, more like Metro Detroit Area, but CLOSE ENOUGH. That I used to live down the street from Eminem’s old house (true story!) and went to the same school he did. I used to be part of 8 Mile Road, homie!

Oh look, it’s me and Maria last summer at the Riverwalk.

What I’m trying to say is that I love you, oh great state surrounded by massive lakes that can be seen from outer space and aliens probably think are pretty legit. I love your humid as fuck summers, your painfully long winters, and your 4 season days. I love your Motown history, music and cars, and I love your slight Canadian influence (hellooooo Hockeytown). I enjoy living here in the land of U-turn-o-topia, losing sports teams, and Vernor’s & Faygo. It’s wonderful, actually.

Here’s to many more years to come, Michigan.
Cheers,
Viviana.

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