By Kay Howell – I moved to Milwaukee last summer from Washington State, sight unseen. The night before I flew out, my family had a heated debate about whether Wisconsin is to the east or the west of the Mississippi (hint: it’s to the east). My first few weeks in Milwaukee, I felt like I would never adjust to the Midwest. I missed the West coast, with its mountains and reasonable vowel pronunciations.
A year later, the culture shock has (mostly) worn off, and although I still miss the mountains, Milwaukee feels a lot like home. So here’s a handy guide for anyone who has recently come to Wisconsin, and is wondering how they’ll know when the dairy state has become home:
*The amount of wool clothing in your wardrobe triples during between November and May.
*Go Pack Go!
*You plan your road trip routes around which cheese castles you can stop at along the way.
*You have a bottle opener on your key chain, and you use it regularly.
*You’ve had close encounters with deer while camping.
*It no longer seems odd to you that people actually willingly go outside in January.
*You actually willingly go outside in January. For fun.
*You speed through all the yellow lights, and some of the red ones too.
*You’ve driven the wrong way on a one-way street, or highway, or parking lot.
*You’ve gone up north and been really impressed at the hilly terrain.
*You’ve learned to use your frizzy hair as a barometer in July and August.
*You no longer cower in the basement at the slightest mention of a tornado warning.
*French fries should be covered in cheese sauce. Obviously.
*And cheese must be deep-fried. Obviously.
*Frozen custard is necessary as soon as it gets to about 50 degrees outside. Obviously.
*Your pants don’t quite fit right any more, for some strange reason.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to practice my vowels and my disavowal of the Seahawks. Seattle, who?