Home Sweet Home
To know Milwaukee is to love it. It seems that a lot of people have the perception that Milwaukee is only about beer, cheese, and the Brewer's. I get it - we have a reputation, but Milwaukeeans are SO much more than what we appear at first glance.
Growing up just outside of the city, my early experiences of Milwaukee were pretty limited to the zoo and County Stadium. The 20 miles from Grafton to downtown felt like the longest trip ever. As a teenager, I'd spend my life savings to ensure I’d make it to every single night of Summerfest. And yet, Milwaukee still felt like the "big city" full of strangers, crime, and the unknown. My views were limited, and I have to laugh a bit at how naive I was.
It wasn't until college that I really started to see what this little city was all about. The once popular RiverSplash! became a summer tradition. Dining in the Third Ward was the trendiest thing you could do on a Friday night. The bar scene on North Ave and Water Street was so cool. Neighborhoods were growing, the food scene was improving, and the city was becoming a comfortable place that I was starting to enjoy.
Just as Milwaukee was starting to feel like my forever home, a difficult break up pushed me to feel like I needed to escape the midwest. At that point, Milwaukee was associated with so many memories, both good and bad, that my boyfriend and I had shared and I just needed to take a breather and get away from it all. I moved to Denver, Colorado with the intention of starting over with a clean slate. Being away gave me time to reflect on myself and my life. It also struck something in me that I wasn’t expecting. I really missed home. I found myself booking flights back to Wisconsin far too often, and the longing I had to watch a sunrise over Lake Michigan became almost obsessive. It wasn’t just missing my family, but it was the city itself. The food, the people, the “Midwest Nice” that I wasn’t finding in the Rocky Mountains. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder, and I can absolutely attest to that. Milwaukee was home, and my heart had known it all along. So I packed up after less than a year away, and joyously made the 17 hour drive home.
That brings me to the here and now. I've lived in the Third Ward for the past 6 years. I've been blessed with a job just a few blocks from my apartment and I've soaked in all the changes Milwaukee has made in the past few years. We have an amazing community that is pushing to see this city reach its full potential. Milwaukee is changing in the best ways possible, and I am so proud to call this place home.