Living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is equal parts familiar and strange.
Coming from Missouri, I’m pretty used to the “redneck” part of this place. People get super excited about deer season, with talk being of nothing else. You see quite a bit of repair work done with duct tape. And yep, there are even lots of old cars and tractors sitting around in people’s front yards here, albeit with a bit more rust.
I’m not used to the snow. Or the dialect…who but the Finnish would know that sauna isn’t pronounced “saw-na”, which was how I’d heard it my entire life, but “sow-na”? And as if “Ishpeming” wasn’t enough of a mouthful in and of itself, it apparently has an invisible R in there somewhere, turning it to “Ish-PER-ming”.
But here’s the one that always cracks me up–my friends all drink non-sweetened iced tea in the summer. I’ve come to not mind it myself, but there’s still a bit of the Southern girl in me that insists that iced tea needs to have a bit of sweet in it. So I usually add a little bit of sugar to my tea.
One night, during a girls’ night out, my friends were teasing me about this. “You’re such a Southern girl with your sweet tea!”
“Whoa, hold it,” I said. “I do not drink sweet tea. I drink sweetened tea.”
“Is there really a difference?”
“Oh yes! Sweetened tea is just tea with a little bit of sugar or honey. Sweet tea is like drinking tea-flavored syrup.”
Of course, they laughed about the fact that I had to get so precise. But I have to be. After all, if you were raised in a place where “bless your heart” meant something entirely different than it did where you were living, wouldn’t you be nitpicky precise too?
Gotta love all the different dialects and colloquialisms we Americans have come up with.