So, how exactly is Michigan different from Texas?

Snow – Let’s get this one out of the way first. Yes, the weather in Michigan is much colder than Texas, and I’ve never seen so much snow in my life. Georgia would have a heavy snowfall every ten years or so, but after I moved to Texas such a thing was a distant memory.

I think falling snow is beautiful. I’ve always loved it. I’m sure I’ll get sick of it by March, but right now my enthusiasm is not dampened, and neither is my children’s.

The good thing is that I do much better with cold temperatures than I do with hot. (I think my brain is overclocked or something.) I can walk around outside in just a shirt and coat (no hat, gloves or scarf) until the temperature gets down to the 20’s or so. Then I have to zip up my coat.

It’s Like Living in the Shire – It takes me about twenty minutes to drive from my home in West Bloomfield to work. As I do so, I pass through five towns: Commerce Township, Farmington Hills, Novi, Livonia, and finally Plymouth. All of these towns abut and few of them are more than five miles across either way. The entire Greater Detroit Area is like that. It’s incredibly confusing to navigate even with a GPS.

Lane Ends – Dear god, does it ever. The surface roads around here tend to be close, narrow, poorly lit, and (unfortunately) poorly paved. Plus, streets will widen to create a right-hand lane as you approach a light. These lanes are not turn-only, and if you’re me, you tend to think, “Oh, good, the street is now two lanes wide.” No. That lane merges back into the left lane as soon as you get through the light. After a while I figured I could stay safe by just staying left all the time…until I got on the highway to go to work and had the left lane disappear on me several times.

Penalty For Injuring or Killing a Worker: $7500 and 15 Years in Prison – Okay…I understand that the roads are narrow, but is this such a big problem up here that they have to put the penalty on the traffic sign to get people to not run into construction workers?

Strong Spirit – There are lots and lots of churches up here. As we entered Michigan during our move we passed the biggest mosque I’d ever seen. People up here seem to take their faith very seriously.

Vice – On the other hand, a lot of things that people like to do that are needlessly curtailed in other states are legal here. Gambling? Yeppers; every night I pass a restaurant that has a sign that reads, “Poker Room Open”. Alcohol? You can buy liquor at your neighborhood grocery store, even on Sunday. Guns? Not only is private ownership of guns legal, but Michigan is a shall-issue state so citizens can get a concealed-carry license with a minimum of fuss. I approve of all of this.

The Michigan Left – In yet another bit of driving weirdness, making a left turn here in Michigan usually involves turning right, then making a u-turn at a nearby pass-through. This is called the Michigan Left. It’s designed to prevent accidents caused by people darting across two lanes of oncoming traffic to turn left. I would guess that it probably works, but it’s going to take some getting used to.

Overall I’m liking it, and not just because I could become gainfully employed by moving up here. I’ll probably post more observations later.