Travels, trials and other random tidbits about my summer
Tips to Students
- Ok, so in an unfamiliar city with no car,
it is really hard to find stuff to do in the evenings (especially
if you are a poor college student!). So I decided I would
take the bus to the nearest mall and see if I could transfer to the
retail store that I have been working at for the past 3 1/2 years.
I was in luck! So, now I have something to do in the evenings
besides sitting around and reading 3 books a week! (plus a little
extra cash never hurt anyone!)
- Our professor talked to the student rec center
here and was able to get us free memberships for the summer. This
is really convenient for us because the rec center is a two minute
walk from our dorm. I would highly recommend finding out about
memberships to the student rec center, if only for something extra
- Travel, travel, travel!!! If you are in a new state,
take some weekend trips to new cities and states. Greyhound is
a good cheap way to get where you are going and most major cities have
a decent public transportation system. There is usually at least
one hostel in major cities which is the cheapest way to sleep if you are
traveling by yourself (usually around $18/night for a dorm style bed).
If you have a travel buddy, it really doesn't cost that much more
to get a hotel for 2, especially if you use an online hotel booking service
that looks for cheap fares (Allison and I were able to get one in Minneapolis,
MN for $50/night).
- Buy a guide book for your state that you will be in for
the summer. They usually give really good information about what
you can do in your town, and if you take my above advice, what to do
in new cities.
- Bring projects to work on in your free time. I didn't
realize how much free time I would have in the evenings. I am
used to being a full-time student, part-time worker and hanging out
with my friends. That took up about 95% of my time, so I never had
down time. So bring lots of books, a good computer game, a scrapbook
you have been meaning to finish or something of that sort.
All About My Travels and Fun-ness
Milwaukee is also a town of festivals. There are
two large parks here: the State Fair park and the Henry Maier
SummerFest Park and in the summer, there is at least one festival
going on a week. This weekend I went to the CajunFest at the
State Fair park. There was a lot of music and a lot of food.
Not as much fun as I had hoped as there was not much to do besides
listening to the bands (though there were some pretty good ones). It
was really nice going to a new part of town, though.
This weekend, my sister and my friend, both from
Denver, Colorado, came to visit me. They flew into Chicago,
so we met at a hostel there. We spent the weekend there, siteseeing
and everything. There is not a lot in Chicago except for really
big buildings! On Saturday night, though, we randomly decided
to go to the top of the John Hancock building and ended up watching
two fireworks shows on the lake from there. It was wierd looking
down on fireworks! It was fun getting to see someplace new though.
I took the train there and back so that was interesting becuase
I had never taken a train in the States before.
The skyline of Chicago from the Sears Tower; ME! next to
a pic of the Sears Tower in the Sears Tower!
My sister and my friend stayed through this week, so on Thursday
we went and took the Miller Brewing Company Tour. That place
is huge! The tour was very nice, though. First of all,
it was free!! And at the end, they give you 3 free glasses of different
beers! Not just little samples, but actual glasses! So that
was fun. There really wasn't much else to do in Milwaukee, so
they mainly hung around campus during the day while I worked. Since
they had occupied most of my time during the week, I decided that I would
just spend a nice relaxing weekend in my dorm room catching up on some
reading and correspondence and everything like that. It was nice
having a laid back weekend! I also worked at the mall on friday night,
so that was fun, too.
Also, on Wednesday night, there was a band in Chicago that
my sister wanted to see, so we took a bus out there and back. Its
good being that close to a really big city that you can go out there
for just an evening!
I didn't do anything too exciting during the week this week. In
fact, it was pretty boring. I am not used to not having a car and
that severly limits what I can do around town. So I read a lot
this week! Luckily, I was able to work my retail job Friday night,
and again, that was fun and it got me out of the dorm room for a while.
This weekend there was a live radio show that Allison wanted to
see in Madison on Saturday, so we went and saw that. It was called
"Whad'ya Know?" and is played on NPR. After that show, we walked
around the farmers market they have by the state capitol. It is
supposed to be one of the larger farmer markets in the state, if not the
nation. After that, since we were right at the state capitol anyway,
we decided to take a free tour of it. It is a very big capitol, rivaling
our nations. In fact, during the design, they had to decide to lower
the dome by three feet so it wouldn't be taller than our nations capitol!
We drove around Madison after that and saw UW-Madison and both the
lakes that surround Madison. My favorite part was going to a restaurant
called Old Chicago. It is where I hang out all the time in Fort Collins,
so it was fun going here. I am addicted to their food so I was starting
to miss it!
Earlier this week, Allison won some tickets on the local
classical station that we listen to here at work. It was to
the Waukesha Symphony Orchestra's patriotic concert. It was
outdoors and the weather was beautiful! They played really nice
music and there was a world-renowned harmonica player who played Gershwin's
Rhapsody in Blue. It turns out that Gershwin actually wrote that
arrangement for him!! And there was a nice fireworks display at the
I went to the one of the largest music festivals on Monday night.
It is called SummerFest and that is where everybody goes! It
lasts for about a week and a half or so and they just have tons of bands
come and play on about 10 or more different stages. It was very
crowded and there was lots of food and vendors and stuff also. I
went to go see Lewis Black, a comedian who is on the Daily Show which
airs on Comedy Central. He was very funny and at the end, I was
able to get his autograph!! I took the sky ride back to the other
end of the park before I left and got a very nice view of the lake and
the city at sunset.
This weekend was the 4th of July weekend, so it was a long weekend.
Allison and I decided to go visit the twin cities in Minnesota
(Minneapolis and St. Paul). It was a 6 hour drive up there, which
I did all of since I haven't driven in 5 weeks. The scenery was really
nice--very green with rolling hills and cute farms every where. We
stayed in a nice hotel near the Mall of America. It was nice to
get away from the dorms for awhile!! And there was a TV there (neither
Allison or I brought a TV) so it was fun to rot my brains for a while again.
On Friday night (the 4th) we got take out Chinese and watched TV
(I got to see the Simpsons!!). We were staying on the 16th floor,
so at dusk we went on the balcony and watched all the firework shows in
the distance. We were facing away from the city, but we could see
at least 10 shows in the distance, though it was probably more like 20.
I never realized how many places put on firework shows in each city!
The next day we went to the Mall of America. It took us 5 hours
to walk through all the wings, plus a few stores! We also rode the
rollercoaster that is inside the mall! That night we went to Minneapolis
and had dinner at my favorite restaurant, Old Chicago and then walked down
to the Mississippi River. On Sunday we drove through St. Paul and
headed back. On the way back, we stopped at the Spam musuem. Yes,
that's right, they have a musuem for the food product Spam. It is
in Austin, MN where the Hormel plant is. It was interesting in a
freaky sort of way! Traffic was horrible on the way back, so we took
some smaller highways and saw some really cute towns and such. It was a
really nice weekend.
Allison and I at the Spam Museum with "Spammy"
There was a random used book sale at a library in southern Milwaukee,
so Allison and I decided to check it out. When we got to that area,
there happened to be a random parade going through town, so we sat and
watched that. It was interesting to see a parade in a different state.
They have a lot more baton twirlers than we do in Colorado, and it
looked like they had less marching bands, too. After that, we decided
to drive down to Pleasant Prairie, WI (near the border of Wisconsin and
Illinois) where the Jelly Belly warehouse is. They have a free tour,
so we decided to take that. It wasn't really a tour, but it was interesting
nonetheless. They had a motorized "train" that you sat on and it did
a circle of the warehouse (the warehouse being one big room) stopping periodically
to show videos of how the beans are made. The videos were really interesting.
I would like to see the actual factory now sometime (which is in CA).
At least we got some free samples at the end!! On Sunday, Allison
and I went up to Kohler Village, a town about an hour north of Milwaukee,
and went to the Kohler Design Center. Downstairs was a small museum
showing old toilets and tubs that Kohler first designed and upstairs were
their new products. They had a lot of new fangled tubs and showers
with jets and everything. They were pretty interesting to look at.
So that was pretty much my weekend. Nothing too exciting, but
at least I got out.
My boyfriend was able to come visit me this weekend. We didn't
really do much this weekend. We walked downtown a little, so that
was nice. But mainly we have been playing cards and watching some
movies and just hanging out, which is nice. I got to see the hardships
of flying standby this weekend, though. He was supposed to fly out
here on Friday, but all the flights that he was supposed to fly on were full,
so we bought a cheap ticket for him for Saturday so I had to spend all day
Saturday waiting for him instead of being with him (his father is a pilot
so he is able to get free standby tickets). But he is here, so that
is good . . .
. . . but, since it's summer and everybody is traveling, even though
it looked very feasible to get standby on the way home, he is not having
a lot of luck (though I am certainly not complaining!). He actually
ended up staying until Sat. morning (4 more days than we expected) and flew
from here to Cleveland, stayed the night there, then flew to Denver on Sunday
morning. The price of flying cheap. So I didn't really do much
this weekend except for drop him off at the airport. On Sunday I worked
6 hours at my retail job so that was fun.
I decided to go to the Milwaukee Public Museum on Sunday this weekend.
It was interesting. Nothing too spectacular there, just a normal
museum, but it was fun. The displays were nice. It turns out
that the current way of doing the dioramas originally came from the Milwaukee
Public Museum and bare the name Milwaukee Diorama, or something similar to
that. I thought that was interesting. I also saw the IMAX film
"Coral Reef" which was interesting. That was the excitement of my weekend.
My parents are flying out to see me this weekend, so I am looking forward
to that. I am writing in advance, since my program is now over. My
parents and I are going to Chicago for a couple of days and then coming back
to Milwaukee to pick up the rental car and driving up to Door County, the
little penisula by Green Bay. It is supposed to be really pretty and
quiant up there with lots of light houses and cute towns and such. My
parents have never been to Wisconsin before, so it will be fun to show them
where I spent my summer.