#1: Winter actually happens. My #BigSkyMove kicked things off right with a little snow and ice. Might as well get the first one out of the way so I can move on with things.

#2: Flights out of Helena aren’t that out-of-this-world expensive, except for when I’m trying to fly home. I could buy a flight to England cheaper. But I did manage to find an affordable flight home for Christmas by flying on the holidays (Christmas Eve and NYE) and switching from Little Rock¬†(Hill Billy National) to Memphis destinations.

montana wide open skies from the interstate#3: Distance to any town is measured in hours driving at 75 mph. And you are expected to maintain that speed by other drivers on the road. And yes mom, I do take it easier when there is white stuff on the road.

#4: 30% chance of snow showers means you just might wake up to everything covered in white. But it’s not really that bad because Montana actually has the equipment to move that stuff off the roads quickly.

#5: Not only is sweet tea not served here, I have to be careful to clarify that I want ‘iced’ tea, not hot. Learned that lesson the hard way.

#6: Be careful who you say ma’am or sir to. Not everyone responds to it as well up here. Apparently people don’t take to kindly to it if they assume you’re inferring their old. To me, it’s a sign of respect. Can’t help I was raised that way.

tarmac airplane gate sign#7: Get used to walking out on the tarmac to board planes with propellers on the side. But on a good note, Alaska Airlines allows me to book with Delta SkyMiles!

#8: I will survive. With a low so far of 3 and a wind chill as low as -8 at one point in the day, this was officially the coldest day I’ve ever seen in my life. And it wasn’t that bad. It could have been much worse with the snow and wind. A humid cold feels much colder. (Update: My phone said -6 when I woke up this morning.)

#9: Driving a little white Ford Taurus across the state in all sorts of weather (even ice and snow) makes you realize you’ve really made it in life. (My boss actually said something to that effect.) On the bright side, I made a few hours round trip to a meeting and only spent $20 in gas.

#10: Montanans are very hospitable. I have had more than a dozen requests from folks that I join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone wants to make sure I am fed. I should have started taking notes from the beginning on which one had the most beef at the table. But no, really. I am very thankful for that.

After only 3 weeks of living in Helena, I can honestly say driving home last night after a day of cold and ice, it really felt satisfying to be driving¬†home. I think this place might be growing on me rather quickly…