Over the summer, I was able to live in lands distant and exotic – ahem – in Wisconsin. Yeah, big deal, right? Well, actually, I had one of my most eye-opening experiences when I lived there.
It’s an amazing thing when you are no longer looking at the world around you through the lens of a traveler. Instead, you’re a resident, somewhat forced to live and think and act like the people there do. You’re trying not to be the obvious outsider. I don’t know how to describe it very well, but Wisconsin was a lot more lowbrow than I was envisioning it. Especially coming from the leanest state, Colorado, to one of the most obese states.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my country way of living. I love rolling up my sleeves and getting dirty. I earn my keep through hard work. I enjoy going to the shooting range and working in the horse stalls. None of those “country” things were an issue for me—I quite frankly loved it. Though I was surprised by how different the personality of Wisonsinites were.
Yes, I realize “lowbrow” isn’t very polite, but it was culture shock. I found myself thinking: “That’s funny?” “We’re eating that for dinner?” “That’s entertainment?” I found myself struggling to hangout with anyone. It was more frustrating because I was all for the new adventures like learning how to sail. However, to deal with the people during that journey was a whole different story. I didn’t quite understand what it was either, and still don’t. I think it might have been a slight bit of fear with the fact of Wisconsin begin a permanent home (moving in with my boyfriend). Since Wisconsin wasn’t in my plans of future places to live, it was an intimidating thought that this is how it could be.
Thankfully, halfway through the summer, words of wisdom came this guy working at a bicycle shop. After discussing the area and such, he said: “In the end, it doesn’t matter where you’re living or what you’re out doing. What matters is who you’re with to make the adventure worthwhile.”
It’s true. Sure, I may not have enjoyed the topics of discussion, or liked the area that much. However, I did thoroughly enjoy my company, and I should have been appreciating them all the while. They made me laugh, they were always up for doing new things and they were the friendliest and kindest people I think I have ever met. Simply put, Wisconsinites make excellent company.
It was a lesson in “going with the flow” and definitely appreciating the little things in life. Sure, perhaps certain things weren’t on my top list to do or talk about, but people were always making sure that you had a good time.
And now that I’ve been away, guess who’s looking to move to Wisconsin after graduation?