In the four years I attended Ripon College as an undergraduate, I had classes each and every Labor Day. Yes, while the rest of the country was busy relaxing and taking in one last gulp of summertime, I was in stuffy classrooms getting used to the new fall schedule and academia.
Now, as an “adult” I had off this Labor Day and took in as much relaxation and fun I could this weekend and thought it was worth it, considering I did spend four years of my Labor Days in the classroom.
I had a bit of luck on my side Friday afternoon. The Willy Street Co-Op was giving away free Badger tickets to the UMass game, and I was one of the lucky three selected to get a pair of tickets!
I absolutely love the atmosphere around Madison prior to any football game. The city’s energy skyrockets. Students are antsy to get out of classes, friends are coming in for the weekends, adults with season tickets are following their bi-weekly routines, and thousands of away-team visitors are welcomed to Madison with suggestions of beer and the best cheese curds in the city.
I also love the way the city itself must prepare for game days. Including signs like the one below.
Even before the football game began on Saturday, I headed to the Dane County Farmer’s Market with my friend, Megan, who had never been there before. I had no list of items to grab, so it was primarily to get a snack in before the game and snatch up any great deals.
One of our first stops was to the famous Stella’s stand. Although I thought of getting an entire roll of Hot & Spicy Cheese Bread, but it was a better idea to walk around the square with one of the spicy cheese empanadas.
How do you turn down this flaky, cheesy, delicious pastry? You don’t. Guys, you don’t turn this down.
While at the market, I saw the most beautiful sunflowers I have ever seen. I made the decision to pass on them because my schedule has been busy — I want to be home to appreciate my flowers instead of tossing them away after two weeks of running around Wisconsin. Therefore, I passed on purchasing — but I did snap a photo to remember them by.
I was able to share in my football experience with my friend Angie. We ended up meeting to briefly tailgate at Jordan’s Big Ten, which is around two blocks away from the stadium. My favorite part of Jordan’s Big Ten is the huge billboard that is updated each season to show the progression of the game’s score as the game is happening live.
Up until last weekend’s game, I had never actually seen anyone change the score. The Badgers were able to get an extra point as we were walking to the stadium, and I saw the numbers change. It’s a huge life goal that has been actualized.
Angie and I headed into the stadium and had to get some classic shots. One, of the tower of football statues, and the other of the view of the field as we walked into Camp Randall. Each and every time I watch a game, my heart stops a beat. Not much is as magical as college football.
Although Angie and I are two older Wisconsin graduates, we still had a hankering to sit in the student section. Off we were to Section J, the first student section in the Northwest side of the stadium. It was a bit nerve-wracking to be so close to the non-student fans due to the tendency for UW students to have some pretty vulgar chants screamed each weekend. However, the students in our area were very well behaved and no one was out of control.
I even got a little bit of sun before the game. Bonus!
After the game, I headed back to my apartment to recoup and to take time for myself. Having a go-go-go job and spending my weekend trying to take in the last moments of summertime meant that I had to crash at some point. Saturday night and Sunday morning were the perfect opportunities to watch some DVRed television, clean every inch of my apartment, cook dinner, and sleep in.
Sunday morning, I made some french press coffee from Colectivo, sat outside on the patio, stared off at the capitol, and started reading The Interestings. At this point, I’m only a small way through the beginning, but I’m hooked. Told of a group of friends from summer camp, the novel charts the tribulations of their friendships and how they have come to be close thirty years after they met. I am sure there is more excitement and drama to come.
Sunday night, I headed out to dinner at the Weary Traveler with friends and ended back up at the porch to have a big bottle of beer, split between us. I also had the chance to light a candle I have been holding onto for almost a year now. After my first paycheck from the coffee shop last fall, I purchased this amazing candle when it was on sale from Target. I kept it next to my bed as a reminder that one day, I’ll be living in a city in my own apartment. It felt so dang good to light that candle and reward my hard work!
On Labor Day, I met my sister in Milwaukee to take on my first Brewers game of the season. It is the last month of regular season baseball and it’s the first time I’ve seen a game. Honestly, I’ve been so busy that this fact is sadly true! While the Brewers lost to the Pirates, it was still a fun game and a great time to catch up with family.
I did have one important stop to make before I left Milwaukee to venture back to Madison. I went to one of the Wauwatosa Colectivo’s to have coffee with Julia, my little sister from my sorority experience at Ripon. We hadn’t see each other in over two years due to graduate school and her jet setting off to San Antonio, Texas to complete a term with City Year. It was amazing to catch up with her and to pick up where we had left, and it felt like no time had passed between us. It is great to have friends with integrity that you can be open and honest with, even if it comes with a hint of learning and understanding. We’ve both grown so much — and our hair has as well — so it’s great to see our progress on our own and within our friendships. Of course, the good coffee helped our date as well.
It’s been a rough transition back into the work week, and I’m actually home to get my car fixed today. I will treasure the fun I had this long weekend and will be counting down the hours until the next weekend is here.
How did you celebrate Labor Day?