Trip Start Apr 15, 1979
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Sunday, August 28, 2005

I'm here! I've finally arrived and settled in my new home town for the next two years, Madison , Wisconsin .
I drove here early on Sunday with my parents which turned out to be a
long, LONG 13 hour car ride. There were some tense moments but for the
most part the drive was tolerable, if not enjoyable.
Madison country-side is exactly like that of Southern Ontario so no
need to explain what it looks seriously, EXACTLY the same! The
only difference is the size of the campus. It's enormous! It takes me
15-20 minutes to walk from the east side of the campus where I live to
the centre of campus where the landscape architecture building is. And
as with Guelph , I am an Aggi, situated in the agricultural building.
found a place to live extremely quickly once I began looking. The place
I found was not my first choice but when your mother likes it and looks
as though she'll burst into tears if you don't get it, call me a sucker
but I had to sign the lease. It also didn't hurt that they agreed to
pay for $60 of the rent if I took it. The reasons for their choice of
apartment you ask? It smelled good! Of course I could make a pile of
dead squirrels covered in vomit and baby poo smell good with enough
Febreeze but they had their heart set on this place. As I have now
discovered, the trade-offs for a 'just-cleaned' apartment smell are no
water pressure; no cold water in the shower (which I find very weird);
a bathroom fan that may or may not work but sounds like a wood chipper
running at full tilt; useless phone jacks coming out of the walls a
foot below the ceiling and from directly under your bed, and; a closet
with a drain and pipes sticking out of the floor and walls because it
used to be a bathroom (that could get dangerous if I come home after
having too much to drink).
other day, as part of some of the universities international
orientation activities I participated in a free city tour with a number
of other international students. I could tell this was going to be
interesting when the volunteer drivers began selecting their passengers
according to such specifics as regions in China and specific cities in Japan .
I knew that the only reason for becoming a volunteer in the first place
was to learn about a certain place that they were planning on visiting.
My drivers were a little different however. The guy, Kleber was from Brazil and his girlfriend was born and raised in Madison
yet didn't seem to know the answers to any of the questions I had about
the city. Another indication of her intelligence was a question I heard
her ask a Chinese student while at her parents' house for snacks:
'Do you like birds? I like birds. We have nice birds here.'
parents had quite a spread set up and I was very pleased with her
mothers hospitality...that was until she started into her Evangelical
spiel. I learned that this so called 'free' tour had a cost. Not a
monetary one, but a handful of International Fellowship, evangelical,
church related propaganda, as well as an earful about how evangelicals
love to incorporate God into every part of their lives and they would
love to bring the power and joy of God to us. The trip had apparently
been paid for by the Bethesda Christian Fellowship and they encouraged
us to participate in a number of varied events where we would:
- Build friendships
            - Practice English
            - Better understand Americans and their customs
            - Learn from each other about our countries and cultures, and
            - Learn about Jesus from the Bible
may go to these events, but it would only be for the free food and the
chance to make satanic remarks and wince in pain when they mention
Jesus and/or God. I may even have to show up drunk to some of them and
see if they try to 'save' me.
On the topic of drinking, as I'm typing this it's currently 2:41 in the morning and I can't help but be taken back to my 19th birthday and the whole year in general when drinking suddenly became legal.
reason for the reminiscing is the whoops and hollers coming from the
fraternity next to me, The Badger House. They have been partying almost
non stop since I've been here. Now I don't mind the partying, that's
fine - I could probably show them a thing or two. What I don't
understand is what they are yelling at?! I watched
them for about 30 minutes last night just to find out for myself. What
I discovered was that though the whoops did increase in frequency and
volume when people walked by, they continued even when there was no
reason to. They weren't watching TV; they weren't listening to music
that could be considered particularly emotionally charged, and; they
weren't doing anything except drinking on their balcony. It just didn't
make any sense! To add to my confusion, I didn't see many girls up
there with them.
suppose the University of Wisconsin - Madison being the number one
party school in the entire United States could have something to do
with the crazed bellows coming from next door. It also doesn't hurt to
be situated smack-dab in the middle of the university fraternity
district - I am a hundred yard radius away from at least 10 different
frat houses. Another factor creating all these drunken howls at night
is the price of alcohol itself. I bought a one litre bottle of Canadian
Club, some coke for mixing and a case of MGD today for a grand total of
$27. If that's not enough incentive for you to get out there and attack
the crab grass so to speak then nothing is!
a final thought to this late night email I have to say this: that
although these frat boys are incoherent, arrogant and annoying, I can't
wait to get over there and show these yanks how a Canadian boy can
drink them under the table!
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