Stuck in Grand Rapids, MI

I’m doing a summer internship in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While this seems to be a lovely place to raise a family and go to church a lot, it’s not my bag, at least so far. For example…

  1. While I consider myself Christian, this place is a little too Christian. The Reformed Christian Church (or Christian Reform Church, whatever) just permeates everything.

  2. My workplace has no one else in my age bracket. I’m 22, single and have no kids. No one else I work with is remotely close to fitting into this demographic.

  3. Hi Opal!

  4. I’ve lived in Detroit, a college town, and Washington D.C. Living in conservative (in more ways than one) West Michigan is a big culture shock for me.

  5. I live in a house that’s been converted into several apartments. While I’m a career-oriented college grad, the people who live here still behave like it’s a dorm. This means dropping by unannounced and then sticking around in my apartment, even though I didn’t ask them to and have no desire for them to do so.

The scary thing is, I may be here much longer than the summer. Of course, that would eliminate item #5 as a concern, since I’d be making a LOT more money, but the others would still remain.

My nearest friends are 2 hours away in several directions, so I find myself stuck here with nothing to do quite often.

Does anyone from around here have any ideas on what to do? I’ve never been in a situation where I didn’t already have friends or have friends thrust upon me (no jokes ;)). So here I sit, alone. If anyone knows how I can rescue myself from these social doldrums, please let me know!!

GR is big enough to have plenty of different subcultures; while the Christian Reformed Church is a visible local phenomenon, IIRC, less than 25% of the population belongs. You may just be suffering the new person in town all alone blues which you could get anywhere.

I’m too old now to help with your social life (but man I can still remember those houses in Heritage Hill subdivided for students–in my day, the parties I went to there all seemed to be hosted by Aquinas College students), but I do have two suggestions: 1. Get on Lake Michigan Drive (M45, I think) and head west. It deadends at Lake Michigan after about an hour’s drive–turn left and you’re at Kirk Park; turn right and you’re at Grand Haven State Park. The Lake is low this year and there’s not a big fish kill so you have wide, clean sand beaches. 2. Play golf? GR has something like the most courses per population in the US. I really miss those cheap public courses where you could walk on and play. It’s 5x as expensive in Chicago, you have to reserve weeks in advance and you still get inconvenient tee times.

Hope you find your niche there soon.:slight_smile:

There’s always Applebee’s!

I think humble servant just directed you to Holland, MI which is full of Dutchman, windmills and wooden shoes. My folks used to live there and so did my brother. He thinks Grand Rapids is heaven, but then you have to meet my brother.

Have you considered becoming an Amway rep ? :slight_smile:

There’s a really great record store, though. Damned if I can remember its name, though. Mind like a sieve…only 45 minutes away and do you think I’d remember more…? Noooo.

My Dad, who does the occasional bit of repair work on deicing equipment there, confidently informs me that the redlight district is rather impressive for a town of its size.

I’ve heard from reputable sources that the B.O.B (Big Old Building) downtown is a great nightclub/bar joint. Pick up one of the alternative happenings newspapers you should be able to get at any record store and check out what they have listed.

We get a West Michigan paper even here in Lansing and I was really impressed with all the cool stuff happening in GR. Traffic sucks, but I like the city.

Like baseball? They’ve got a AAA team their, the Whitecaps, I believe.

DeltaPlex Center hosts some good concerts (saw **3 Doors Down ** and Fuel there this spring).

Join us for a DopeFest!! You were in GR during June and you didn’t attend the Dopapalooza? Shame! :smiley: I’m sure we Michigan Dopers won’t be able to control ourselves for too long before we have another one.

Hi kniz–if you get to Lake Michigan per my directions and turn left, and keep going past Kirk Park for about 30 minutes, you hit Holland (I checked mapquest to be sure). Holland is the true epicenter of the Christian Reformed Church in the US. Nonetheless, SNenc can rest assured that there will be plenty of bikini-clad girls and boys with that sun-caused straw-blond hair at all of the public beaches on the Lake, even at Holland State Park.

I was nearly in the same shoes at 21, except I was in a real apartment complex in Wyoming (Wyoming, Michigan that is). I spent nearly two and a half years there. And I am the antithesis of the social butterfly. I met one girl using AOL IM’s and another through work, but both friendships sort of fizzled. (One moved to Alaska to follow her boyfriend, the other to Scotland to pursue a Masters degree.)

Beyond that, I maintained sanity through sheer force of will. I spent a fairly hefty amount of time watching movies at Studio 28 and renting them from Eye on Video. Read books. Played computer games. Tried to meet people at the little Euchre tournaments the apartment management held (didn’t really work). But then, I’m extremely introverted and don’t do very well in social situations anyway. Hopefully you’ll fair better…

You know if your neighbors are making an effort to meet you, you might start there… assuming you can tolerate them. I only had one neighbor that ever talked to me on rare occasion, but being in my early twenties, and him in his fourties or fifties, I found it a bit uncomfortable. It was like talking to your parent’s friends–I didn’t feel like there was much in the way of common ground. In retrospect, I should have taken advantage of it; I might have been able to learn a few things.

So ask those people who drop by unannounced where they go to meet people–maybe they’ll invite you. Or you could always hold a GR Dopefest…

When my brother lived in Grand Rapids, his next door neighbor owned the Red Barn. Go there and ask for {b]Herb** and tell him that you have a friend in Mississippi that says “hello”. If he gives you any trouble ask him about the flower man.