Friday, August 29, 2008

Homesick 2

Wisconsin is different from California in these ways:
  1. When you're the Californian, people tell you how rude most Californians are, but that you're different. I think these people all had some horrible vacation in L.A.
  2. People ask if you've lived through a real winter before and when you haven't (like us), they seem filled with a secret glee. Then they feel bad and tell you that it's not really that bad.
  3. There are more bugs.
  4. At every restaurant there's one black fly that buzzes around Aaron (I tell him it's because he's so sweet).
  5. You can't buy alcohol at a grocery store after 9 p.m.
  6. The "Happy Cows are from California" commercials are still shown, but they only mention California milk, not cheese -- don't mess with Wisconsonites and their cheese (justifiably -- it's awesome).
  7. You can find cheese curds just about everywhere (yum).
  8. Fruit grows everywhere! I can take a walk along the lake and find chokecherries and berry bushes! And I don't mean the citrus trees you often find in people's yards in California -- these grow wild! It reminds me of the wild blackberry bushes that grow anywhere and everywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
  9. There's no ocean, but Lake Michigan is really cool. But I keep getting my directions mixed up because the water is East of us instead of West.
  10. Tailgating is worse here -- and I don't mean the kind where you party in the parking lot before (or during) a sporting event. I mean the cars-acting-like-gravy-train horses kind of tailgating. Don't get me wrong, I know that Californians are aggressive drivers. I've done my share of the "You're going too slow" kind of tailgating. But in Wisconsin, it's like people take comfort from being 3 feet behind you. There are even signs on the freeways reminding people not to do it. You would think that drivers would be more cautious in a place with so much snow and ice, but no. Before we got our Wisconsin license plates I thought it might be that mild harassment that Californians sometimes get when traveling out of state -- a la Oregon's "Keep Moving, Stranger" program (see William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways for more information). But it has not changed since we got our WI plates.

We Are Officially Wisconsonites!

We went to the DMV today and got our new license plates and driver licenses! The whole thing cost us just over $200, which was a bit of a surprise. And we do have to take our car for an "emissions inspection," which is just like a smog check except that it's free.
Before we left San Diego, I made a list of things we had to do when we got here to make me feel at home. We've done them all now (new bank, library cards, dance classes, that sort of thing) except register to vote. Luckily, in Wisconsin you can register the day before the election (even the day of in some situations), but I like to do these things farther in advance.
Anyway, we'll get our new driver licenses in the mail in about a week or so. It'll be nice to not have to flash my CA id and to switch out our license plates. I can't say for certain whether people have been treating us differently on the road than if we had Wisconsin plates on our car, but I will certainly feel less conspicuous.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Homesick 1

We haven't been homesick since we got here because we've been so busy. There's just too much to do and learn about Milwaukee. However, right now I have the biggest craving for mahi-mahi tacos and the chips and salsa at En Fuego. Some friends introduced us to it years ago, and we started taking visitors there, then going for a walk on the beach after dinner, and then driving home along Torrey Pines beach. The service isn't always consistent, but the food is always good. If they're serving the tomatilla-broth posada as their soup of the day, have a cup for me!

UPDATE: As a surprise last night, Aaron came home and said he was taking me out for Mexican food. We found a delicious Oaxacan restauran named Cempazuchi. It was delicious. I was really craving some chips and salsa and they served us two kinds: one roasted tomato and the other was mole-based! Both were awesome, but the roasted tomato one really satiated my craving.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Life, New Blog

I once had a blog that I turned to in a time of great frustration. It is no more, lost somewhere in the transfer of blogspot to google. But I don't mind so much. That blog was modeled after a blog I no longer read because the source of that frustration is gone, gone! So here is my new blog, in which I will try to complain a little less (which would be a great accomplishment for me) and find a little more joy in life (another great accomplishment)!

The biggest news is that Aaron and I recently moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is a great city and we really love it here. We celebrated by adopting a kitten, Pickle to accompany our San Diego cat, Taco. They already get along really well:

I'll update more soon, I just wanted to have my inaugural post!