One story is, so we have like these weird weekly Spanish vocab tests and I'll just say, I never studied which I'm not really proud about. But, yeah. Anyway, so we'd pick our own vocab words. I would pick the easiest words to ever – to, like, to be possible, like the easiest words possible each week and I would just get a guaranteed good score. Like it was just broken. So all I had to do was look at the list, pick the easiest words and then I’d write the vocab words for the test and then I’d get an easy grade. So anyway. I mean, I haven't been studying for tests up until this year because it's high school and I guess it's starting to get important, but I don't enjoy studying so I don't do it very often. I mean, usually, I just remember the content of tests without having to, you know, study for it or anything like that. But I am – my greatest fear is that one day I will not be able to just not study and I’d be required to study, which absolutely sucks. Like, that day would be like – that is my biggest fear.
I thoroughly believe that if we had a Christmas tree with it, like, embodied, Michigan, it would be, like, some way, shape, or form made out of water. It's ridiculous. But I mean, we are the Great Lakes State, right? So, like, maybe like a pole or something could be, like, there, and then there's, like, just water shooting up of it and it, like, goes down in, like, these cascades and makes like a waterfall, you know. I don't think it's actually, like, possible, like scientifically, but it's still cool. And I'm pretty sure – I feel like that's what would embody Michigan the best. Maybe, like, we could add a bunch of apples to it. Like just, like, throw some apples onto the water. And, like, then it would be great. Um, maybe – I don't know, like, maybe some deer, too. Not like real deer, you know, like just, like, ornaments of deer and we could, like, put them all around the tree and that – I feel like that would help embody, because, like, Michigan has a lot of wildlife. And I mean, we could also, like, represent the huge different amount of seasons because like, I've lived in other places and I know that there's places where it's, like, cold all year round or, like, warm all year round. However, we experience all four seasons. So maybe like each corner can be, like – first, it's super hot in the summer, which it can be, like, yellow and then the other side's, like, blue to represent winter and then we just have, like, cherry blossoms to represent the spring and, like, a bunch of dead leaves to represent the fall. I think that would be cool. So pretty much I think a tree would look like a giant pole sticking out of the earth. It's making, like, water. So like to shape the tree, with a bunch of apples on it and deer ornaments with each side of it being a different season.
We did make it to the capital of Vermont, which I'm blanking – it’s not Burlington. Is it Burlington? Um, and that was pretty great. We got like a touch of what I imagined New England felt like. I remember, the architecture on the houses – once we, once we got closer to a degree of civilization, there is that, like, New England feel to the houses, which I'm totally blanking on what they’re called, what you’d described it as. But definitely ended up getting, like, “Man, yeah, this does kind of feel like I'm out here in New England.” It was – I loved it. I loved the aesthetic. I made sure, of course, to be a full tourist and I bought some Vermont maple syrup. I know we have maple syrup in Michigan, but I don't know. It was kind of cool to buy the Vermont style and the tin that it came in was so – I loved it. I loved it. I loved the design of it all and even after I finished all that maple syrup, I remember I washed that tin out and I used it as a water bottle on my next road trip out west.
Anyway, we come around this bend in the road, and there's this magnificent stag elk. Um, it’s coming up the side of the road, up onto the road. He's got the whole, uh, the whole family with him. He's got the little ones and then the mom, and all of ‘em, all the, all the elk, the whole – his whole elk family. And so he's like the crossing guard, he comes out into the middle of the road and just stands magnificently, mind you, until the whole family gets across and then he kind of takes his magnificent head and kinda shakes it a little bit and continues his walk like, “Yeah, you mere humans,” you know. Anyway, a couple of times we saw elk on this route. Some real similar experience – magnificent animal, my gosh. They just, they’re just amazing. But the one guy – was driving, we used to carpool, and he, uh, starts beeping his horn at this elk and the elk kinda snort and looks at him, like, you know, “Really?” And I said, “What the h***’s the matter with you, stop beeping your horn, you want him to charge the car? You know, you got this Ford Astrovan,” or whatever it was. And, uh, so he stopped beeping the horn, anyway, and we gave the elk and his family time to cross, but that was probably the most magnificent animal I've ever seen in person. Or I guess that would be the coolest.
Oh, I know. You gotta go across the Mackinac Bridge. I mean, there's nothing like the Mackinac Bridge and the fact that our state is separated by that distance, and spend time in the UP. UP is the better half of Michigan. So, definitely need to go and do the bridge and see Mackinac Island. I mean, there's, you know, iconic, historic treasure that we have with Mackinac Island. Has to be on a list of things to do that are unique to Michigan. And I'd add to that and say, you know, up by Petoskey, just hunting for Petoskey stones. Whether you find one yourself on the beach or not, you gotta go look for them and then all the rock shops up there, you have to buy a Petoskey stone if you don't actually find your own. And you know, with them polished and varnished, whatever they do to them, to make them so shiny and beautiful and bring out the pattern is really cool and unique. So, that's another item unique to Michigan.
So the concept of a stranger definitely changes over time and as you get older, and that is why I've had -- I have had discussions with strangers. Again, staying safe, obviously. Nothing too crazy. But one of the more interesting ones I can remember is I remember waiting in line at Cedar Point, and it was a long line, and it was a hot day. People were tired. People just wanted to, you know, get on those rides. And me and my friends were discussing I think, like, a Marvel movie that we had watched that we really really liked, and then the person in front of us turned around and they were like, "Oh, are you fans of Marvel?" And we're like, "Yeah, we're huge fans." And then suddenly there's this whole conversation that just stemmed for that -- from that. And we went into like the whole Cinematic Universe, kind of geeked out in a way, but Marvel is such a popular part of, like, society, I guess, that -- that I don't think that's the right term. But Marvel is such a popular part of pop culture and it's a reference that is loved by, or it's -- it's, you know, a genre of movies loved by people of all ages. So it was interesting to see how three of us were just having a conversation on our own and suddenly these people in front of us turned around, and they start talking getting so excited about the upcoming movies, what happened in the past ones. We made sure that we're not spoiling anything for each other, and it was just a really fun conversation. And who would have thought that someone we randomly met in a line for a roller coaster, we would have had something in common with them.
"Me and my sister and several of our cousins were making cookies one day from scratch, and my grandma got so mad at us because several of us apparently were like tasting the batter and licking our fingers and she was just like could not handle that we were doing that, and she was so mad and gave us all like a stern little, this is my other Grandma so two separate Grandma's. She gave us quite the little talk about how we should not be putting our fingers in our mouths when we're cooking and how we shouldn't be eating the raw cookie dough and that's a very clear memory of that Grandma."
Yeah, so I guess, like, purposeful road trips. And then the last few years we've been kind of making a point to do canoe tours down a river. And I think that's probably my optimal way just because you really get to feel, like, the pace of fall. Whereas, when you're driving like it is pretty, it is cool, but when you're on the river, you can kind of appreciate the quietness of it. It's weird, you know, like most of the bugs have died down. Yeah, and it's just -- it's like, you know things are still active in the woods when you look into it, but it's this sense of like determined preparation. You know, even -- even on nice days. And really the only thing that you can hear are squirrels and chipmunks kind of scurrying around and the occasional nut falling onto the ground or into the water. Which, I feel like I've talked about this before so I apologize. But yeah, I just -- I just love it out there. I love hearing the water and it's speed at which it's going across and through the woods. And yeah, even the birds are like quieter for the most part. You tend to really only hear, like, the occasional blue jay, the occasional crow.
You know, I lived in California for a long time. And when I first moved out there and then when I first came back and then I went back out there, that people always say, I have an accent. I don't hear it. I've never heard it. But like when I first moved there, and I went to the vet. I remember, I took the dog to the vet, and I was only, I hadn't been there very long. And I remember the lady looked at me and kind of chuckling and she says, "you're not from around here. Are ya?" And I said, "no". "It's just that you have an accent" and I'm like, "no, I don't." It's - but my friends say that all the time. They all say that I have any accent and I don't ever see. I don't hear at all and I know my daughter, they always used to laugh at her. The kids are always be like, "say dollar, say dollar" and she say it and they just think it was so funny.
I have always thought that we are not a part of the Midwest. We're in the Eastern Time Zone and I feel like we're more of a Great Lakes Region than the Midwest. Midwest to me seems more like the Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and I feel like in Michigan we're so far removed from that. I mean, we do have farms in agriculture and stuff, but I think the Great Lakes are very defining characteristic for Michigan. And the whole idea about going up north, that doesn't really happen anywhere else in the Midwest. And we share so much with our Canadian friends, I think, you know, Windsor is even a little bit south of Detroit. So I've always thought that that was kind of a fun fact when telling people about where we live, and it's right of passage to go to Windsor when you turn nineteen because you could enter clubs and go drinking once you turn nineteen, you didn't have to wait until you were twenty-one. So then when I went to college in Indiana, it was not a thing to go to the bars cuz you definitely needed to be twenty-one and there was absolutely no place you could go, that would let you in as a nineteen-year-old. So I feel like my friends from Indiana and Ohio in Illinois were just - found it to be a very novel idea that we just went across, the border every weekend, and hung out in Windsor.