I grew up in WI. And like so many children, I didn’t pay that much attention to all the great things that WI— Milwaukee in particular– have to offer. Growing up, I knew that my sister hated it here. We had moved when she was 11, so sh knew other places. I knew that I did not want to go to Madison and that I wanted to escape as soon as I could go to college and if possible beforehand as an exchange student. I did escape both times: my Junior year of high school to Chile and then college in the DC area. The thing is, I wasn’t running away from WI per say, but rather fro my classmates and my high school.
I never really thought of coming back here outside of vacations and to see family and family friends. I loved the DC area and could name the positives of other places I had lived. Plus, I wanted to be abroad and see the world.
It wasn’t until S came to stay in WI with me the first time that I started to see my state and my city as a wonderful place to live and raise kids. The very first time we came to the US, S was very disappointed we would be going to Milwaukee– he wanted to be in the city. I tried to tell him that Milwaukee was a city; not New York, but city nonetheless. In Chile, Santiago is the only real city for him because it is the place he can find bookstores that stock things he is interested in (non-mainstream), culture, people at all hours and tons of choices. I tried to explain that in the US there are many cities and you can get most anything via the internet.
In the end, he fell in love with Milwaukee and if we were to return to the US, he would happily live here. People laugh when he talks about how much he loves Milwaukee. But here is why:
- Really good, locally made beer.
- Really good, locally made cheese.
- Lots of places to go out to eat including ethnic restaurants.
- Better prices than the east coast.
- Good farmer’s markets in the summer.
- Lots of parks and green spaces.
- Very clean.
- Trails to go running or ride a bike and well thought out, outdoor exercise spaces.
- Easy to get around with little traffic. (although it is missing a metro).
- Good book stores (and what he can’t find here, he can get through the internet).
- Cultural arts (ballet, orchestra, art museum, etc.)
- Progressive population.
- Super friendly Midwesterners. And, people are very civilized and well mannered.