Since my second year in the States is coming to an end, I’ve started to think about how much I’ve changed my mind on several things since January 2016 (see the post on how I’ve become a morning person). Winter and snow are one of those. When I decided to move here I didn’t choose the place, I chose the family which casualty wants living in one of the coldest places in the United States. Basically, Madison, capital of Wisconsin, chose me and I’ve started to love this city since day 1.
I’ve arrived in Madison January 8th, 2016. I flew from New York to Chicago and then I had to take a 3-hour bus to Madison because my flight got canceled because of fog. While the bus slowly made its way into the city, I swear, I’ve never felt in the wrong place. I didn’t care about the snow and the ice on the ground, I didn’t care about the fog and I absolutely didn’t care that my flight got canceled and I had to take the bus. It was all whort it because I was in Madison, finally, and my heart felt at home.
I’ve never been a fan of winter. I’d rather spent my days in the summer sun than in the cold winter weather, but in Madison every season has its charm and in the coldest months it becomes a Winter Wonderland. Everything sparkles, houses are all full of lights and Christmas decorations, the snow whitens the ground and the lakes freeze. Everything becomes cozy. You turn on the fireplace, you grab your favorite blanket, enjoy a hot chocolate while a Christmas movie is on tv. I think I have to thank my host kids because of this warmth in my heart for this period of the year. I’ve always loved Christmas and I always spent it surrounded by my loved family but my three host kids helped me see this period of the year with eyes wide open, they helped me understand what it is really important and I can’t thank them enough.
I’ve spent two Christmas away from home and I’ve never felt lonely. I have to thank my host family, the many friends that I’ve met here and Madison because this magic place knows how to make my heart warm in every situation.
Last year it started to snow in November. This year, it is December, and it has snow once and not even profusely. Madison with the snow has its amazing charm. Walking down State Street with all the Christmas lights up, stopping at the Capitol and admire it surrounded in that white calm, playing with the snow in the parks. Snow here it’s not an issue, it doesn’t stop people from going to work, it doesn’t close school, life goes on with the snow and it is wonderful because it allows you to love this magic without being too worried. The streets are always clean, cars drive normally and nothing stops.
Have you ever walked on a frozen lake? It is an outstanding experience, frightening at the same time because what if the ice is thin and it can’t hold your weight? What if it breaks and you fall into the cold water? Well, it’s a lot of scary what if for someone that had never walked on a frozen lake before but, I have to admit, it was a really cool experience. When I arrived in Madison, one of the first things I did was to walk on a frozen Lake Mendota (biggest lake in Madison). It was scary but there were people taking it pretty chill. They were walking in the middle of the lake, from shore to shore, or even playing hockey. The ice is so thick because it is really cold outside, around -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) when it gets really cold. There are people ice fishing, which here is a thing that I’ve never fully understand.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS & DECORATIONS
I love how people in the States decorate their houses for Christmas. They take it to the next level. When I say lights everywhere, I mean everywhere. Trees, bushes, garage doors, lamps, everywhere and I basically love it because it is a dream come true. There are people who go and buy Christmas trees, those real ones, my host family has a fake one which I personally love. I love driving thru the neighboorhood during this period of the year and see all the Christmas lights all over the places. At Olin Park, there’s a Christmas lights display offered by the Electric Group. It’s free and you drive thru with the car.
The best Christmas tree, no matter what, is the one at the Capitol.
And here are all the reasons why I love Madison in the winter and how Madison made me love winter and snow again and again.