Please enjoy a fantastic blog by this month's guest blogger, Rachel Wasson!
3½ years ago I made the most exciting decision of my life… moving to Traverse City!
After growing up on the East side of the state and attending GVSU in Western Michigan, I quickly realized the East side was not where I wanted to be! As I entered the final semester of my Senior year I decided to pursue a career in Banking (by the way it was April of 2009 – BAD time to realize that you wanted to go into Banking…). Walking through the Grand Valley Career Fair I stumbled upon our sister Bank, The Bank of Holland, who was hiring. So like any college soon-to-be grad I jumped on the opportunity and handed over my resume. It was shortly after I received a call from HR stating the Holland position had been fulfilled, but there was an opening in our Traverse City office with The Bank of Northern Michigan. I had only been to Traverse City once before – for a gymnastics competition – and that was during the yucky March/April time frame when the snow has turned brown and people are ready to be done with the snow. However, I had spent many early winters snowboarding at Crystal Mountain with friends from college. So needless to say… I was thrilled for the opportunity to head North!
Yay! I got the job and am moving to Traverse City! It wasn’t until my family and friends left after helping me move into my 1 bedroom Arbors of Traverse apartment did I realize I was all alone, in (what seemed to be a LARGE) new town, with no friends. Not to mention trying to figure out the one-way’s getting to work Monday morning was more than taxing on me the first couple of weeks. However, once I got settled I decided to join the Traverse City Young Professionals in order to meet new people. TCYP offered everything from fun Under Cover Nights out, to professional networking events, to philanthropic community volunteer events.
A few days later I decided to sign up with the volunteer committee, which was painting the Senior Center on West Bay. I was so nervous to go all by myself, but I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Once we all got started chipping away the old paint I was impressed with how many people took their time to introduce themselves to me as I was a new face they hadn’t seen before! As we started the daunting painting task ahead of us, I really started to connect with these new people! And despite my sore muscles and totally painted up clothing (apparently I painted myself more than the building) I walked away with a couple new friends!
However, the BEST part of TCYP for me was meeting my fiancé, David J The networking event was at the Elmwood Township Marina and we toured an old schooner provided by the Inland Seas Education Association in Suttons Bay. Having both taken Sailing classes in college – we hit it off immediately! We had our first date at Northpeak – enjoying local craft beers. Next was Apache – enjoying the beautiful scenery (and fantastic food!) West Bay had to offer.
For a young couple, TC has plenty to offer us. Microbrew Festivals, Film Festivals, 5k races, and Winter Festivals keep us quite busy! From Summers spent sailing & kayaking, Autumns & Springs spent hiking and wine-tasting, to Winters spent snow-shoeing and snowboarding (skiing for David) we absolutely love with Northern Michigan. Hikes to the Sand Dunes or Pyramid Point really make us step back, take a deep breath, and stop to think about all the natural beauty that surrounds the Traverse City area. Never once do we find ourselves wishing to go downstate to do anything. Even David who is a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) Red Wings Fan, because TC has the Red Wings too! Okay, maybe he would like to be at an actual Detroit game every now and then, but still! Holding the door open for Chris Osgood and Brett Lebda at a local bar one night was definitely the icing on the cake for David!
That’s why we can’t wait to be married in Northport of next Fall to show all our friends and family what a beautiful place we’ve chosen to call Home, Traverse City J