Exploring Michigan: Ann Arbour

I have 3 friends in the entire state.  One is Kenneth.  We both did a Materials Science Engineering undergraduate degree together at University of Toronto.  He decided to continue MSE to a PhD at UMichigan, Ann Arbor.  I decided to switch to Systems Engineering.

It’s about a 40-60 minute drive from where I am to Ann Arbor.  60 minutes from Troy, 45 minutes from Royal Oak.  You literally drive EVERYWHERE in Detroit, and the closer you live to a highway, the better.  Most places are not walkable, but there are a few places that are.

So I met up with Kenneth, and went to Ashley’s bar.  It has an excellent beer selection, and was quite lively.  The demographics in this bar is moreso what I am used to in Toronto.  Perhaps I’ll spend a little more time here.

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Ashley’s pub. Great beer selection.

Finding (safe) downtown walkable areas can be difficult in Detroit.  I was pleasantly surprised with the atmosphere and diversity of shops in the area.  There were two bubbletea (they call it Boba here) shops on the same street.  That’s how you can tell they are a lot of asians here.

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Nice area. Clean, brightly lit, lots of shops.
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Apparently there is only 1 club in town. Friday night is gay night. Kids here have to be 21 to drink, so most of the drinking is restricted to underage drinking in dorms.

I got a short tour of UMichigan.  It’s a really nice campus, although a bit more sparse than I’m used to.  Most students take the free on-campus shuttle to get to class.

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I think this was the Chemistry building. I like it when they have outside building facades on the inside. Somewhat reminds me of the Bahen Center at UToronto
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Banner for the Confucius Institute. Lots of people warned me about Michigan being quite ‘white’. Here it’s a little different. Apparently you can actually take the HSK (Chinese proficiency test) here.  Wayne State also has a Confucius Institute
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Wouldn’t be an American university without a big ol’ American flag.


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Near the Northern Campus is an Asian supermarket. It was closed when I went there, but it’s nice to know that I have the option.

Some people actually live in Ann Arbor, then commute downtown to work.  I also considered living in Novi , which is about halfway (30 mins) between Ann Arbor and Troy.  Most people advise against having such a long commute.

Sometimes you need to move away to discover who you are.  Moving away gives you the chance to start anew, but typically you are naturally attracted to things that are familiar.  I think I’ve learned more about myself in the last 4 days than I have in the last 6 months, and I haven’t even started work yet!

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