I have spent the last seven years living across the Midwest in states like Nebraska and Missouri. Never did I imagine I would be living in the Heartland, but I enjoyed my time exploring different parts of our country and seeing how the other half lives. I learned a lot about my fellow Americans and what drives them; I also learned a lot about what they didn't know, especially when it came to my home state of Michigan.

Some of these facts I thought were pretty obvious, but apparently I was wrong! I'm definitely a little better with my U.S. geography now that I've lived in different parts of the country, but it seems like most residents are only aware of what's going on in their neck of the woods. Here are the most common misconceptions about Michigan that I repeatedly had to correct during my time living in the Midwest:

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You Can See Across the Lake

While I'm glad most everyone in the Heartland knows the Great Lakes exist, I was surprised at how many people think they're small enough to see across. Have they never seen a map? The Great Lakes are so big they could each be a state of their own! This was the biggest myth I had to dispel during my travels in the Midwest. True, sometimes if atmospheric conditions are right you can see the lights or the silhouette of Chicago from our side of Lake Michigan, but you definitely can't see across it! I tell non-Michiganders it looks like the ocean, but it's better.

via Google Maps
via Google Maps
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Michigan Isn't Shaped Like a Hand

Again, have these people never seen a map before? Everyone makes fun of Florida for its anatomical shape, but are you kidding me? Michigan is literally shaped like a hand- that's why we're called the Mitten! So often I would point to my hand to use as a map and the person would just stare at me in utter confusion. Eventually I learned to preface my hand-map usage with, "Ok so you know Michigan is shaped like a hand, right?" Michigan's shape is such a geographical wonder, why doesn't it get more credit?

The Upper Peninsula is Wisconsin

Most Americans, and quite a few major corporations, just assume the Upper Peninsula belongs to Wisconsin. Remember Jeep's infamous Super Bowl ad that left out the U.P. altogether? Brands like Mountain Dew, Poo-purri, and even Saturday Night Live have also overlooked yet another fact that makes Michigan unique!

spirit-of-Detroit
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Detroit is a Ghost Town

Sure, Detroit has had some rough times but it's not the desolate ghost town the majority of the U.S. thinks it is. In fact, I'd say there are some cities across the U.S. that are worse but Detroit seems to bear the brunt of it. For example, Omaha has serious Detroit vibes. True there are some parts of town in worse shape than others, but there's a lot that Detroit has going for it and the city brings in lots of tourism dollars. The 2nd most common question I'd get after telling someone I'm from Michigan was a concerned, "Oh my gosh, have you been to Detroit?" It's not as bad as everyone says it is!

We Are Minnesota

Though we are not the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we do have some Great ones. In addition, we are not: Montana, Missouri, Maine, Maryland, or any other state that starts with 'M'.

Don't Call Yourself A Yooper Unless You've Been To These Michigan Upper Peninsula Places

It can almost be looked at as a different state entirely, while encompassing everything beautiful about Michigan. There are some spots that are truly breathtaking, and if you've never planned a trip to the upper peninsula, make sure you're comfortable with long drives.