Moving to Tiffin: Finally settling in and enjoying it

When we made the decision to move to the Tiffin area, we were excited about my job opportunity. We were excited about the community and its vibrancy and proximity to other places. We were excited about Betsy getting a job at a new school, about the weather, about our new house.

But despite my penchant for reading back issues of The Advertiser-Tribune, city-data.com and Wikipedia, we didn’t truly know what to expect.

I’d say we didn’t quite know after a couple of trips down, where we focused on our potential new jobs and real estate. I’d also say I didn’t quite know after a month and a half where, living out of my hotel, I lived and breathed the A-T during the morning, afternoon and early evening, exploring my new surroundings only here and there.

But when a family moves to a new town and home together, as mine has now for the past two weeks, that’s when things really start to settle into a place.

Here are some things that I’ve noticed since getting the keys to our new home and having my girls join me in Tiffin.

• Summer nights here are what dreams are made of — The stifling heat of Ohio summer days make many activities hard, unless water is involved. But the evening, when the sun starts to set, that’s when the fun begins. I’ll never forget the image of my girls running outside our new place squealing in delight as lightning bugs (or fireflies, as my 5-year-old insists calling them) put on a show as if they were all holding up phone flashlights at an outdoor concert. The climate Up North where I came from isn’t conducive to these insects, and we are sure enjoying them.

• With that said, I’ve noticed the warmer climate has brought an uptick in creepy crawlies — larger spiders, more things that crawl. Maybe it’s just in my head, but it sure does seem like there are a lot of bugs here.

• I’ve become a much bigger Michigan fan — More to come on this in a later column (although I don’t blame you if you stop reading me forever for writing the aforementioned words). I’ve always been a Maize and Blue guy — my friends and I started a “Michigan Club” when I was in elementary school, but having never attended the university, I’ve always been a fan, I’ve been to a few games, have a couple of pieces of clothing, but I’m certainly not a fan whom others would characterize as “rabid.”

But with all the people here trying to “convert” me to a Scarlet and Gray supporter, partly for humor purposes, I’ve developed a little more of a “Go Blue” persona. I came here in May, and it’s now July. College football season is on the horizon next month, with the big game in November looming. I only anticipate more ribbing, especially when I break out a shirt with the Big Block M.

• This town has a lot of nice restaurants — During my six weeks of the bachelor life, I pretty much got in a routine with my meals. Some places aren’t as fun to venture out to without others. And while I’m enjoying having a stove and home-cooking back in my life, we’ve been able to get out to some of Tiffin’s favorite places. There are many good culinary options here, and we still have a handful more to check out.

• Neighbors are neighbors here — I expected this one, but have been pleased with the friendliness of those in our neighborhood and those I’ve met while out and about. People are quick to lend a hand or give a suggestion, which falls in line with Midwestern sensibilities. It’s the kind of place we feel very comfortable raising our children in.

• People are passionate about their local paper — Sure, some have a “vocal” way of showing it, but people really rely on their news and enjoy their habit of reading the A-T each morning. I’ve observed this first hand through fielding phone calls from subscribers and from delivering a couple of routes last week. Our readers are astute and pick up on the nuances of what we do, for better or worse. We’re always trying to improve our product, its efficiency and our customer service. The variety of suggestions or comments has been fascinating and appreciated.

• Speaking about delivering those newspapers — It was a great way to feel more confident getting around this town, which can present a challenging layout at times.

• And last but not least, this is a community with a lot of go-getters. As I wrote last week, I’m impressed with the connectivity of this community, where many different entities seem to work well with one another. As I’ve made a tour of meeting with leaders around town and attending different community activities and meetings, the passion that people share for this area is contagious. Yes, there are differences of opinion, but I am energized by so many good people working on so many worthy causes.

It’s official — I have my Ohio license, Ohio plates and an Ohio address. I’m home now, and my family and I are settling in and loving our new life. While we have much more to still observe, we’re feeling more and more like locals each day.

Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com.