If you are on vacation in Maine right now, there is a chance you have at least once exclaimed: “Oh, I wish I could live here!” followed by a quick “In the summer, of course, definitely not the winter.”
When I first visited Maine (in July) I fell in love head over heels. When we moved here (in January) I noticed ‘a few things changed with the seasons’. But I realized that over the years I have learned to love those things. Things that before weren’t really ‘my thing’.
In no particular order, I was able to make a list of five things I didn’t like at first, but learned to love.
- Winter. Actually, I have always loved winter, snow and especially speed skating, but the duration of the Maine winter is a bit long for my liking. This resulted in an unhappy Edith and a yearning for tropical beaches near the end of February. It also resulted in a resentment of the months March and April and my sons, born in March and April, didn’t like that. Two years ago, I changed my attitude about winter and it has helped me a great deal. I am going out every day, even when it is cold and try to marvel about the beauty of Maine in the winter. I have learned to accept the ‘teaser springs’ and now look at them as a special treat or gift. It makes living in Maine a lot easier!
- Snow blowing. I wasn’t happy if it was snowing hard and my husband was at work. This meant I had to do the clean-up. A few years ago, we invested in a big snow blower and I have to say: I am loving it! It makes me feel super cool when I am working with this big, mighty machine and I wished my friends in the Netherlands could see me out there in my Bean boots and cap, almost looking like a real Mainah!
- Snow days. I am a bit a control freak (just a tad!) and love a specific, predictable routine. Snow days often suddenly interrupt that routine. I used to cringe at the prospect of having a possible snow day, but having three kids with many activities, our weekends are often booked solid. A snow day here and there can take care of that much needed breathing room. Sleeping in, doing board games during the day, sipping cocoa: it’s now something we all look forward to.
- Early evenings in the summer: it gets dark so early in Maine! I wasn’t used to that, especially during the summer months. I have to say though, I loved it when the kids were little: they would go to bed without a peep. Recently, on our vacation in the Netherlands, they had trouble sleeping, as it was still light outside at 10:30pm. The day starts early in Maine and I try to be outside as much as possible during the summer. I learned to like the approaching dark around 8ish pm. It kind of gives closure to the day, a chance to re-group, do some inside chorus or huddle up and watch a movie together without feeling guilty about being inside.
- The mountains. Of course this is the first thing to love about Maine and for me it was love at first sight. Until I started to bike. Coming from a country below sea level and as flat as a pancake, my legs didn’t agree with this. So I choose running instead. Even with running, there are hills and mountains. The so called ‘flat four’ at Eagle Lake is far from flat (okay, maybe in comparison with the road up Cadillac Mountain). Whenever I wanted to run or bike, I couldn’t find a route with limited elevation. It frustrated me. However, I have learned to love the mountains. There is nothing more satisfying than climbing up a steep hill on your bike, sweating and panting like a dog, reaching the top and zooming down. You feel like you’ve earned it, that freewheeling down the road. Same with running: my legs learned to appreciate the hills and mountains. In fact, when we went back to the Netherlands for a vacation I found it very boring to run on the flat lands. No challenge!
So, if you are out and about in Maine this summer and are very serious about moving to Maine to make the Vacation state your home state, bring a healthy dose of positive attitude. And if you do that, you will be able to say, even in March: Maine, the way life should be!