It’s officially Spring and the weather is showing some signs that it agrees. On Saturday, the sun came out after being on vacation for days and it was, get this, FIFTY degrees. I walked to my new favorite Saturday activity, an African Dance (with LIVE drumming) class at Danceworks. Afterward, I walked to Pleasant Kafe and enjoyed a lovely phone conversation at an outdoor table. And then I devoured an entire bowl of lobster mac and cheese. A lovely spring day indeed.
I’ve always like the season of Spring, at least when I’ve lived in cities where winter always seems to linger a little too long. For one, we’re always more grateful for sunny, warm days. Like Saturday, so many people were out and about and it really wasn’t that warm. By the time April rolls around, people are ready to come out of their houses. There’s a new energy and I think I feel it here more than I ever did on the east coast. This winter was actually pretty mild for Milwaukee but still things slowed way, way down in a way I just don't think Boston or NYC can. When I first got here in the summer, it was a non-stop whirlwind of fun activities and then all of a sudden winter hit and at times it felt like things had completely stopped. Luckily, like I stated in my last love note, I started working a lot more so my days were busy and the weeks went by pretty fast. Yet social activities seemed few and far between. Which, to be honest, was actually pretty hard for me. The friends I’ve made in Milwaukee are fantastic but I just don’t have multiple groups of friends yet. So when people retreated inward this winter, it seemed I had no option but to follow suit. For a lot of reasons, it was nice to slow down and have more time for myself but I also thrive being social so I found myself a bit more homesick not just for my friends back home but all friends who live all over.
With all this extra time alone and the extra income from all my new jobs, I spent time scheming on how to see all the people I love and buying plane tickets. In March, I went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with one of my NYC besties, AJ. It was originally supposed to be a group trip but due to too many factors - it was just us two. We joked it was our honeymoon. And I mean, honestly, if I never get married and hence never have a honeymoon, I think I can just count this trip. When we were out in public everyone thought we were an adorable married couple. Which is only hilarious because the staple of our friendship is bickering nonsensically. Plus, it’s not like we’re holding hands and kissing each other. Not sure how we gave the married vibe off. Granted, we were in the “gay-borhood” of Puerto Vallarta so I guess the gay community thinks straight couples only fight and don’t touch each other…? Thoughts to ponder.
Knowing that Mexico would be a blast and that I’d immediately come home and have the post-vacation blues, I made sure my next trip was lined up soon after. And while I’ve only been back from Mexico for three weeks, at the end of this week, I head out to Santa Fe for four days and then straight to LA for five! I’ve only been to Santa Fe once and it was a quick stop made the first time I drove cross country. I’m excited to go this time around and visit one of my favorite people, Jenn, and see the life she’s made for herself in New Mexico. Jenn moved to Santa Fe literally the same time I moved to Milwaukee. I remember having a long conversation while I was in Detroit and she was on the road driving a huge ass truck. Even though we weren’t moving to the same place, it was nice to have somebody completely understand the excitement and anxiousness of another move. Now we’ve both been in our respective cities for 10 months and it will be really cool to see how she’s settled into hers.
Trips to Los Angeles have become a yearly trip since I moved away nearly three years ago. It’s crazy that I’ve been away from this place as long as I lived there. I don’t really miss my life there all that much but I do miss the people, particularly my favorite partner in crime, art and friendship, Tracee. It’s also just exciting to go back to LA and do things that I used to do when I lived there. It validates that LA was home and in a sense, always will be.
In May, I’ll be staying put but I’m hoping I might be able to convince some guests to come for my birthday (less than a month away now!). If that doesn’t work out it’s okay because I already convinced two awesome guests to come visit in May! My mom is coming for the first time for Mother’s Day weekend and then my former house-wife/roomie, Amanda, from Boston comes to town at the end of the month! In June, I head back to Boston for ten days for a family wedding. I was also invited to be a part of a group art show in western Massachusetts, so I’ll get to check that out as well. This Boston trip is coming up in only a couple of months but I can’t believe the last time I was home was in December. Somehow it felt like I got to go home more when I lived in LA - a 6 hour plane ride than I do here - only a 2.5 hour plane ride. There’s something about Milwaukee that makes me feel a little more rooted than I ever felt anywhere else. Maybe this makes my need to go home a little less strong...
Plotting escapes and looking forward to warmer times took up a lot of my time this winter. But that's not to say I didn’t do anything fun in Milwaukee this winter. There were a lot of cool things still happening! In January, there was FemFest, an amazing festival of music and art celebrating women/femmes. It was incredible to see so many talented people perform and share their work over 4 days. I was lucky to co-host a femTALK with my roommate Monica called What’s so Bad About the F word? to talk about the issues with the word feminism itself but also the movement. We had a great conversation and a pretty wonderful turnout.
In February, I had a couple friends visit and I got to see the Milwaukee through tourist eyes plus indulge at my favorite local joints: Cafe Corazon, Wolf Peach, Comet Cafe, Lakefront Brewery, Blu Bar and Lounge, Pleasant Kafe. I took advantage of being able to see plays for free at The Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Watched a lot of Netflix. And did yoga at a fairly new brewery called Third Space.
And finally, like I said at the start of this note, I found a new way to move and sweat that makes me feel really good. After the whole Cylebar debacle, I decided I needed to shake up my fitness routine. One of the reasons why I stay so active as an adult is that I danced my entire childhood. And with a dance studio that offers adult dance classes only a 15 minute walk/5 minute drive away, I thought it made the most sense to go back to my roots. I opted to try out classes I'd never taken before. I took a couple amazing hip hop classes and then African dance. I had no idea what to expect but it was super fun and when the instructor told me to keep coming, which I’m sure he says to everyone, I decided I would - I had to! The best thing about it is the group of people who show up are at all different skill levels, ages, genders and races but most importantly, everyone is nonjudgmental. It’s all about having fun and connecting with our bodies through movement. And live drumming to boot!
I guess it’s not fair to say that it’s completely dead here in Milwaukee in the winter but rather it takes on a different, slower energy. I do feel rested and I’m ready for whatever Spring has in store!