Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

An ode to Wisconsin from a pathetically homesick person in Singapore who’s being a bit of a whiner



(On Wisconsin! and props to Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee)

Best title ever, right?

So my husband’s gone back to Wisconsin for a week, leaving me alone in Singapore feeling all homesick. Really, I’m just being pathetic and whiny so don’t mind me πŸ˜› But anyway, it got me looking through my old Facebook photos and they have a new meaning now that I’m far from home.

So below you’ll find a few completely random pictures of things I’ve decided I miss today, besides the obvious friends and family.


Good old Mad-town, Madison, Wisconsin, taken from Lake Monona. The Overture Center, the state Capitol poking up out over it.


Madison on Halloween with the State Capitol. There used to be the occasional drunken riot as 100,000+ people descended onto State Street. It’s a bit calmer now. One of the fun parts… Trying to stay warm while walking around outside for hours when it’s maybe 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe. But we’re from Wisconsin. We don’t care about no cold. We’ve got liquid blankets for that.


Go, Pack, Go! I’ve only been to one game and it was amazing! Went in October so it was actually warm. November-January, not so much. Subzero Fahrenheit temperatures? We don’t give a care, we’ll fill the stadium anyway! It’s called the “Frozen Tundra” for a reason, people! That’s what ski masks and 18 layers of clothes and four pairs of socks are for. Oh, and the previously-mentioned liquid blanket. Did you get a shit ton of snow the night before a game? Just ask the fine people of Green Bay (population 100,000-ish) to shovel out the seats and they’ll do it for free. Need to add to the stadium? Just ask the great people of Wisconsin to buy “shares” that have absolutely no value other than a framed document and they’ll pay for it. Want a season ticket? Get on the wait list; there’s only 81,000 people on it, plus nobody gives up their season tickets. You’re name will come up in about 30 years if you’re lucky. So just put your imaginary grandchild’s name on it. The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States. That’s right, the fans own them πŸ™‚

*Sigh* nobody cares about American football over here. It is a ridiculously confusing sport though.

So in Wisconsin, we love our beer and cheese. We make a lot of both. Milwaukee alone historically has: Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s Best, and Blatz. Did I miss one?Β  And now we have tons of amazing microbreweries popping up. We have more bars than grocery stores, fancy bars, corner bars, bars converted from houses and barns. And our bars know how to do taps. Psh one or two beers on tap? That’s baby stuff.


Here’s a sample of 30 taps at the Old Fashioned in Madison. I think they have even more on the other side of the bar. Mostly microbrews from around Wisconsin. Last time I was home, we stopped at a bar with over 50 beers on tap!

Like I said, we make cheese. A lot of cheese. We may not make fancy people cheese, but we have cheese curds. Yeah, take that world. They are delicious beer battered and deep fried or fresh and squeaky. In my U.S. and world travels, I’ve encountered deep-fried pizza and Mars Bars and burgers and God knows what else, but we’re the only ones I’ve found that deep fry our cheese.


We’re also the only place in the U.S. that makes Limburger cheese. Monroe, Wisconsin. Smells like stinky feet and that’s exactly what it tastes like.

Oh, and also the people of Wisconsin are pretty amazing, too πŸ™‚ Now I know we have our own Wisconsin culture.

Have you ever lived abroad or in place far from home? What did you miss the most? What did you do when you felt homesick?

18 thoughts on “An ode to Wisconsin from a pathetically homesick person in Singapore who’s being a bit of a whiner

      1. Donald Miller

        Sometimes they’re like that. I mean titles and writing. Sometimes they come to you in a flash, while at other times they are slooow going. I remember reading about one of my favorite authors, Joseph Conrad, and discovering that there were days when he’d sit for eight hours at his desk and only have three sentences. Then he’d erase them and call it a day.

        Speaking of calling it a day. I see it’s just about 9 pm in Singapore. How are things there?


      2. sjoycarlson Post author

        Still hot lol. 84 degrees with a heat index of 91. About to go for a run because it’s less bad to run now than earlier in the day haha. Oh, and we’re apparently in giant moth season until July. They’re almost as big as my hand!


  1. Michelle Mueller

    Sometimes I get this incredible desire to get in my (now no longer existent) car and drive for miles and miles on the American interstate. The way the trees spread, the way the road goes on and on: I often think this is the closest I come to homesickness. Missing the ease of mobility, that freedom. Occasionally, too, I get a craving for proper Southern sweet tea or to swim in the warm Gulf of Mexico (I can’t even get in a lake in July here without shivering out of my skin, much less the sea).

    I think it’s interesting the way we can see the lines of our “old lives” when we’re distanced from them: how we see the customs and culture that are so engrained in the region we hail from, etc. Things we may have never noticed before. Though I was always biased against the South (and though I always made sure to never acquire the accent, to never identify myself with it), I have grown to accept it as a part of who I am. I have started to see some of the beauty of where I’m from, too.

    Sorry to read that you’re feeling homesick. Hopefully, in the meantime, your ode has helped. πŸ™‚ Oh, football. Don’t I know you. Football is a religion in Alabama, I’m pretty sure. Boy, does that bring back memories. Thanks for sharing!


    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Yeah I miss A) having a car and B) being able to drive around in the country. I spend a part of my life growing up in a relatively rural redneck part that I hated at the time bu now do look back at with some fondness so I know a bit of what you mean. πŸ™‚ Yeah, I’ll be all right lol thanks for encouragement πŸ™‚


  2. Sierra

    I’m not exactly in the same boat, I know of the homesickness you speak of. I moved to Germany when I was 17, and lived there for about 2 and a half years (as well as Poland, intermittently), so looking back on old Facebook pictures engendered a particular kind of wrench in the gut.

    When do you get to go home, Sarah?


  3. jlheuer

    Great post. But did you know they now pay the shovelers of Lambeau $8 an hour and they provide the shovels? They have to turn people away. And guess what? We are starting to make some pretty artisan cheeses. We went to the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest held, where else?, in the Lambeau Atrium, and some of those cheeses were amazing. Squeeky curds are the best though!


    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Oh I didn’t know that about snow shoveling I’ll change it in the post! And I’m glad to know we’re getting into artisan cheeses as well in addition to our glorious cheddar! And squeaky cheese curds will forever be the best. I’m partial to the orange ones as opposed to the white tho I think they’re the same? But the dill flavored ones at Dane county farmers market are also amazing! Yeah wisconsin you’re awesome!


  4. Marcus Case

    You wrote 34,000 words in four days and expected your husband *not* to go home?!! (Sorry, just trying to help – homesickness is really awful for any of us). You write a terrific blog, by the way. Thanks!


    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      Haha thank God he’s gone because now I can write another 34,000 words! Joke’s on him! No I’m just kidding. I’m sad he’s gone, but on a positive note, I can make him bring me back good beer:P Thanks for the complement about my blog, I really am just making it all up as I go along haha πŸ™‚


  5. FindingStrengthToStandAgain

    I am an Iowa Hawkeye fan, so I am not too sure about the first picture of your glass. πŸ™‚ Madison is a very, very vibrant and beautiful city. I can only imagine the homesickness you must experience. I hope you find markets as nice there as the Farmers’ Market you are lucky enough to have in Madison.


    1. sjoycarlson Post author

      I know it’s been rated one of the best in the world!!! Crazy. Love that city. And if it makes you feel any better, I didn’t graduate from UW and I don’t particularly support the Badgers persay. More of a Packer’s fan… Can we still be friends? πŸ˜›


      1. sjoycarlson Post author

        Right and the fact that you most likely could guess there was one going on anyway because it was a Sunday afternoon and no one was IN the grocery store haha.


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