On our last day with the Paunans before we headed further north, we spend the day in Milwaukee reminiscing about the two years we spent there.
Bill and I both did graduate degrees at Marquette University, moving up there when we’d only been married a few months. I don’t think either of us were prepared for the cold, or the loneliness, or how hard it would be. We also weren’t prepared for how incredibly beautiful it was, what amazing friends we would make, or how it would strengthen our marriage.
After two years in Milwaukee, we were very ready to move to the warmer climes of College Station. I wouldn’t miss the bitterly cold 8-block walk from our apartment to campus or the awful grey snow that lingers into April, but we would miss our long hikes at one of the many Wisconsin state parks, our strolls along the lakefront on long summer nights, our sweet little church that nurtured and fed us, and the new adventure that we had braved.
I hadn’t been back to Milwaukee since Bill defended his dissertation in 2005, and we were excited to show parts of the city and campus to the girls.
We started outside our apartment on Wisconsin Avenue; it had cleaned up a bit — no bars on the windows!
We walked down to campus after that, noticing how many things were the same and how much had changed. The flower shop that reminded me I was almost home was just a grassy lot, but when we cut through the Engineering Building (for a bathroom break this time. I used to cut through to have a few moments out of the cold) it looked very much as it did when I taught my very first college classes there.
Campus was stunning as always. We visited St. Joan of Arc Chapel (the pic at the top of this post), which had always been our favorite place on campus, the new library, and the student union, where JA scored a new sweatshirt.
After lunch we headed to the lakefront, and the girls played in the (cold!) water and collected rocks. It was fun to start our Great Lakes part of our trip at a place that holds so many fond memories for us. I loved getting to share this day with the Paunans, too, because this is where our dear, dear friendship began.
After a few other really fun new places (The Urban Ecology Center to see Susie’s sister and The Waxwing for some local artist shopping), we headed to get some frozen custard and — the worst part — to say goodbye. I hate this part. So thankful for good memories and good friends. (And that Susie and I have our next adventure planned…)