Dear Diary, I am…in Wisconsin.

I live in Wisconsin, but not for long as I am actually leaving the state. But before I leave Wisconsin, I had to write about it. People don’t think much about Wisconsin—we have our cheese curds, cows, beer, “bubblers,” weird accents (even after having lived in Florida for four years, I still say “bayg” instead of bag). But really, Wisconsin is so much more than that. Really, we are an underrated gem in the treasure box of America.

Where do I begin? We are the land of 15,000 lakes. We have forests, beaches, hiking, rock climbing…just about everything except desert (unless you count Mitchell Park Domes). I’m personally not too keen about the winters. They are a little too cold and a little too long. I remember one winter not too long ago when for a whole week the wind was blowing at -50 degrees (yes, negative). That’s the kind of weather where your eyes tear up and your nostrils freeze the moment you step outside. But this really is a beautiful state.

I’m sitting here picturing forests that I have hiked in. I remember one forest, I don’t even remember where, that was so beautiful. I remember the dark greens and browns of the forest were only lighted by the filtered sunlight that produced little sunbeam fairies. These fairies danced across the dark backdrop as the wind touched the treetops. There was a gradual hill that sloped down to the end of the woods. Beyond the trees, grew a field full of wild grain. The grain was golden that time of the year and swayed gently in the breeze. The tall pines that I stood under had branches near the top of the tree, making the forest easy to walk through. But the trees across the field were different.  They were blue spruce. The kind of tree that Christmas trees are made of. The trees grew on a hill, which sat below more hills that rolled over the landscape, stretching as far as the eye could see. The grain in the field was chest high, and the blades bent over each other like waves in the ocean. To reach the enchanted forest, one would have to swim through the field of grain. I used to hate hiking, but I cannot deny the beauty I saw.

The part of Wisconsin that has to be my favorite is though Lake Superior and the surrounding regions. While visiting Apostle Islands, the area so beautiful, you will think you were transported to another world. The islands, the sea caves, the trees, the water—it is an absolute must for your bucket list. A little west of the Apostle Islands there are state parks and forests with waterfalls that are must-see destinations, like you absolutely must go here. These are not just any waterfalls, but large and beautiful and peaceful. These are places you can just sit and absorb the peace surrounding you. I thought it was impossible, but I have actually met a person who had never seen a natural waterfall. It may just be some water falling over some rocks, but really, if you haven’t seen a waterfall, you are missing out. And the ones in Wisconsin are the ones to see.Spring near Ottawa Lake

The Wisconsin Dells area is another place to go. First off, we have America’s largest water park, so that ought to convince you. But really, my family couldn’t afford to go to the water parks, but we went somewhere better. We went to the state parks. Devil’s Lake, Parfrey’s Glen, Pewit’s Nest—these are the places to go. Devil’s Lake has rock climbing and unique rock formations formed by the Ice Age. The lake has a beach, and surrounding it is the forest. Pewit’s nest is a secret watering hole. And Parfrey’s Glen is a narrow valley between two large cliffs. And those aren’t the only cliffs in Wisconsin. We even have a park called “Ledge Park” because it is full of ledges. I remember running around and climbing the cliffs when I was young. I was much braver then than I am now!Parfreys Glen

Because of the Ice Age, Wisconsin is actually full of cliffs and rocks and hills and valleys and lakes. Wow, there is so much I haven’t even yet said about Wisconsin. You can never go wrong visiting Door County. You get quaint little shops to stop at and the beautiful scenery along the lake. Another lesser known park in Door County is Cave Point County Park. This park boasts of cliffs and underwater caves. If you want to see something new, this place is a must.

Out west, in there is a city called La Crosse, where you can visit Granddad’s Bluff and the Mississippi, or in the southwest there is Governor Dodge State Park with waterfalls, cliffs, hiking, and a beach.

Seeing everything Wisconsin has to offer cannot be done in just one trip, or even two or three. I can’t even fit everything in this blog. Even smaller, lesser-known areas like Eau Claire Park, Kohler-Andrae, Willow River State Park, Cave of the Mounds are must-see destinations….ugh, so much.

When I leave Wisconsin, I will truly miss it. Once, a girl who was even from Wisconsin asked me, “What’s there to do in Wisconsin?” All she has to do is look around. We are actually a pretty amazing place. If you get brought here by a job or family, then smile, because you just hit the jackpot.

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Dear Diary, I am…being fired.

Thank goodness, not from my full-time job. I couldn’t afford that. But I was fired from my nanny job. I am so angry. Let me tell you! The mom waited for the dad to return home from his business trip. Then without telling me anything, she took the kids out to a restaurant. The kids, MY kids, that I had so many memories with—my fuzzy socks that brought them so much excitement, the boyfriend that the little boy was going to find for me, the countless hours I spent teaching the little girl math. They were being taken away from me, and I didn’t even know it yet. She took them away, and I didn’t even get to say goodbye! Continue reading

Dear Diary, I am…at Ft. Pickens.

Well, not right at this moment, but I was back during my last semester at college. I went to school in Pensacola, Fl. Just a 20 minute drive from the beach—something I happily left Wisconsin and its subzero winters for. Pensacola Beach is nice. Often it is hard to remember things like taste and touch, but when I stepped into the water at Pensacola Beach for the first time, I distinctly remembered how much colder Lake Michigan was, and I called my family into the water saying that this was bath water. But Pensacola Beach, the glowing sand (just a little, not like in those pictures you sometimes see on Facebook), and jellyfish are not what I am here to reminisce. Continue reading

Dear Diary, I am…a writer.

And not just because I decided to start my own blog. I do make a living writing, both full-time and part-time freelancing (I know what you’re thinking, “Who’d she sucker to pay her to write for them?” But believe it or not, I live off my writing. That should give you not-so-confident writers something to have confidence about. If I can do it, anyone can.). The thing I love most about writing is that as a writer you are always (or should be) growing and learning. I know I am. Continue reading

Dear Diary, I am…exploring close to home.

I love traveling. I love visiting new places, exploring different states, and flying around the world. Although I have visited a couple foreign countries and a few states, I don’t often get the chance to go on big trips. My budget screams louder than my wanderlust. And sometimes my mode of transportation that brings me to my new adventure is my bike.

When I moved into my new city, I was excited. This would give me the chance to explore something new. However, what I had seen of the city of about 60,000 was not very impressive. Continue reading

Dear Diary, I am…a dreamer.

It happened all at once—the shooting. People were screaming, everyone was running away in different directions. It looked like there would be many casualties. I heard the shooter running in my direction. I grabbed my knife and crouched. Just as he ran past, I stabbed him and grabbed his gun, saving the remaining people in the area. Once the mess settled down, ambulances cleared out the wounded, and police started their investigation, it came out that I was the hero. I saved the day. Continue reading

Dear Diary, I am…in London.

I thought I would finally do it…write about my experience in London. Not that it was any more special than anyone else’s trip to London. In fact, it may be even less special as half my time was spent handing out Bible study invitations.

But what made this special for me is that I didn’t see all the sights, but I did get to stay in the home, not a hotel. I put my clothes in a wardrobe, not a closet. I got to comfort a lady about her deceased husband, not talk to a tour guide about some sight I would eventually forget. Continue reading

Dear Diary, I am…on an adventure.

My skin burned in the subzero January wind as I stood soaking wet on the snow-covered beach smiling for my parent’s camera. I had definitely picked a good year (2013) to do the annual polar plunge in Lake Michigan—the worst in fourteen years some said. I bundled up as other people ran out onto icy Lake Michigan to dunk into a hole of water that the firefighters had cut away. I ran to the car as fast as I could. Fortunately, God created the body with amazing survival skills, and I managed to warm up faster than even my parents. I looked at my legs, bleeding from running through the icy water. I would definitely have a story to tell my friends when I got back to Florida. Yes, it might have been extreme and maybe even a little crazy—stupid was the word Grandma used—to jump into Lake Michigan in the middle of winter, but after growing up thinking that my life was extremely boring, I realized it didn’t have to be boring; and in fact, maybe it wasn’t. Continue reading