Crisp Fall Weather

After finishing my preliminary examinations, passing my oral defense and finally acquiring dissertator status (YAY!), I can finally enjoy some time to reflect on what is to come. As a child, I was always fascinated by Fall. However, growing up on a tropical island really did not allow me to experience the majestic beauty of Autumn.  I used to watch scenes of movies set in New York and envy the characters’ outfits, warm beverages and point de vue. All of that changed until I moved to the Midwest in 2013 (can’t believe it’s been that long!).

Red, orange, yellow leaves falling on a cool Autumn Day…

I absolutely adore Fall in Madison. I love strolling down the Farmers’ Market and all the produce—cranberries, apples, pumpkins, squash…every single item makes me so happy!

Here are a few of my favorite Fall Things To Do in Wisconsin:

  1. Farmers’ Market: We have the best Farmers’ Market in the Midwest (maybe even the country…ok, ok…maybe not). Our FM is right on Capitol Square, which is already a beautifully constructed building. There are so many options in terms of produce, pastries, and local, organic items. I definitely recommend the Dane County’s Farmers’ Market to anyone.                                              
  2. Arboretum:love the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Arboretum during the Fall. It is so breezy, calm and relaxed. Visiting this part of campus is definitely one of my favorite Fall activities and I wouldn’t change it for anything. If you have an arboretum nearby, you should definitely visit it before the leaves fall off.
  3. Corn Mazes, Hay Rides, and Pumpkin Patches:love going to Treinen Farm or Mayr Farm every year. There’s nothing quite like getting lost in a corn maze with friends, riding in a horse drawn carriage through the beautiful scenery and reaching the best pumpkin patches in the land. I still cannot believe I get to do this every year surrounded by great friends who have turned into my own little family.
  4. Pumpkin Carving: I always have a blast carving pumpkins with my friends. Everyone tends to get really creative and we just have a great time lighting our pumpkins and taking great pics while we have hot beverages.
  5. Halloween: While I have never been great at choosing a Halloween costume, I have always loved the idea of creative costumes and spending time with friends.

Enfin, I love Autumn and all of its little details. What is your favorite Fall activity?

PS. I have a couple more blog posts lined up for you! Hope you enjoy my Fall recs.

A Challenging Journey

As I’ve mentioned before, my biggest, and only resolution for 2015 was to challenge myself on a daily basis. Yes. It is so hard to keep my resolution at times, but I merely wish to do things I have always wanted to do, but have never had “the time” or “the push” to do them. The main reason of this challenge was to try new things as often as I could even if I didn’t really enjoy them at all.

So far, I have done the following:11228899_10156059277120261_8139175438790882153_n

  1. SnowboardingWhat a challenge! It was one of the most difficult things I have done in my life, but thankfully I had a fantastic time. If it wasn’t for my close friend, Stephanie and her fiancé, I would not have learned how to do it. I still have a long way to go before I master it, but I am on my way!
  2. Square Dancing: I love Jane Austen and the tradition of square/country dancing, so it was one of the first things I wanted to try out during the year. 10984469_10153225197070730_2908800593409056206_nNeedless to say, it was full of older people (as in as old as my grandmother), but it was really fun! I would love to go again!
  3. Be Active! I have always wanted to be consistently active in my daily life, but I’ve never really pursued it. During Winter, I started going to hot yoga as well as running, consistently. Heck, I even joined a Summer Sports League where we played soccer, ultimate frisbee, and flag football every week!
  4. Cooking Challenge: During the summer, I started making more homemade meals. It started out as if you pin it on pinterest, you’re making it, and I did! I made delicious recipes such as coconut curry butternut squash soup, polenta, homemade pizza, brownies, and traditional Puerto Rican dishes such as mofongo, mantecaditos, arroz con habichuelas, and pastelón.
  5. Travel…by myself: Last June, I was a bridesmaid for one of my closest girlfriends and her wedding was in New Jersey…where I didn’t know anyone but my friend and her husband. Nonetheless, I made up the excuse to go to Atlantic City with family, and explore New York City all by myself. It was INCREDIBLE.12038170_10156059279945261_7522223787642765251_n.jpg
  6. The Dating Game: Okay, so I have never dated… ever. Sure, I have had a series of relationships, but I had never purposely gone out on dates. Last year, I accepted to go on dates with a few gentlemen. Some dates were nice, others were horror stories, but they were all a great learning process. After a while, I learned to relax, chill out, and have a nice time. Not every man you meet will be a winner, but you’ll (eventually) learn how to have a normal conversation without putting your foot on your mouth.
  7. Wisconsin Culture: Even though I have lived in Wisconsin for over two years, I had never really done a lot of Wisconsin-y things–specially if they were sports-related. Before moving here, every single time I told someone that I was going to live everyone kept asking me: Why? I simply knew that there had to be a reason for being here and, as it turns out, Madison is the perfect livable city. There are so many fun things to do! From college football to sports leagues, I gave “sports” a try. It definitely was not my cup of tea, but it was worth it! It was very interesting to try and understand the culture behind it.1977160_10156164345215261_2603305936314359808_n
  8. Musical Challenge: I had been playing the ukelele for over a year, but I had never successfully mastered it. I made it my mission to learn more songs and more chords. It is such an accessible instrument that it would have been a complete waste to not explore it. On another note, I wanted to muster up the courage to sing solo a little bit more so I sang the Psalm by myself during mass or started to confidently pursue solos. Again, not my cup of tea, but it definitely did wonders for my confidence.
  9. Graduated: I have a Master’s Degree!! Sometimes I think it’s crazy, but I have worked so hard for it. I still have a PhD to acquire as my goal, but in the meantime I will still enjoy the fact that I graduated (and will possibly remain in school for a whiiiile).
  10. Read More…for FUN: After earning a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature, I was exhausted from “assigned reading”. Therefore, I compiled a fun Summer Reading List that allowed me to explore things outside of my own research. It was fantastic!
  11. Pursue Deeper, Meaningful Friendships: At the beginning of the year, I spent a fun weekend in Chicago with a few close friends and it was wonderful! My goal was to keep nourishing those friendships as much and as often as I could. So far it has been an amazing pursuit and I hope to keep flourishing at this.
  12. Make New Grad Student Friends: After this past Summer, I realized that I didn’t really have a lot of graduate student friends so I made it my goal to meet new people and befriend them. I met wonderful people, befriended people I should have befriended in the first place, and decided to just put myself out there. It has been a blast to have friends with common postgrad struggles.
  13. Apply myself: I decided to just try to apply for more things in graduate school whether it’s language programs, trying out a different language, or being more outspoken. I have tried to make learning, not grad school, one of the most important things in my life.
  14. Languages: My program requires me to know an Ancient language so I decided to try Latin as well as to keep studying the languages I do know like Portuguese and German.
  15. Tea/Coffee Connoisseur:I love tea and coffee! Thus, I acquired a tea pot and an espresso maker. In regards to coffee, I have learned a lot more about coffee roasters around the area and the types of coffee beans and roasts that I prefer. When it came down to tea, I just learned to differentiate the different types, steeps, and benefits. I seriously do not regret doing this. It has been so much fun!
  16. Blogging: I have had blogs since I was thirteen years old. Needless to say, they ranged from inconsistent erratic posts about liking Harry Potter to complaining about silly, petty things. I never really kept up any of the blogs, not even the ones I had in college. I wanted to write about life in the Midwest, travel, funny thoughts, and dating. Lost in the Midwest has been an incredible outlet for expunging my thoughts in a healthy demeanor. I have used it to laugh at myself, personal situations, and explore wordpress as a whole.

I still have no idea what next year’s resolution will be, but I hope that this list will help someone who has no idea what to try next.

Happy Holidays!

Running, Bird Attacks, and Catcalling

For the past month, I have been going on runs.

I know… I know. Patricia and running? Those two things do not go together. However, I started running with a friend near the lake and it’s been exhausting, fun, and insane. It was only two weeks ago that I decided to run by myself…and I nearly died, but I didn’t.

Then, on one of my runs, I started thinking about all the circumstances you’re in while you’re running. In fact, life is very similar to running.

The following lessons from my runs definitely apply to life:

1. Pace yourself

This seems pretty obvious, but it’s true. You rush your run, specially when you’re a first-timer, and you will feel like death itself. That was not a hyperbole. The same applies to life. You need to pace yourself in whatever situation you’re in…whether you want certain things to happen and they don’t, or you can’t find a job, a boyfriend/girlfriend…just calm down, breathe in slowly, pace yourself and push forward. You’ll get there.

2. Keep good company

To be honest, running with a friend is always much more fun than running by myself. My friend, Bridget, keeps me simultaneously entertained and focused on this arduous activity. In life, you need to surround yourself with good people that will do the same for you. Friends should support you and be good influences in your life. It’s not that hard to find a good support system. Seek these people out! They’re worth it!

3. Sometimes you just have to be alone

Yes, running by yourself is such a liberating experience. You will find a way to focus on yourself, enjoy your surroundings, and pursue self-improvement through running. You should expect the same out of life. You can’t always be surrounded by friends. Sometimes you need to cool off, stay home, and treat yourself…just you, no one else.

4. Hydrate

Just….really? Just drink plenty of fluids in life, when you exercise, whenever. Just do it.

5. Stay away from attacks

FUN anecdote: I went on a run to a park nearby. Wings flapping, bawking, and BAM! A bird attacked me. It pecked my head consistently and it was angry at me. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a “real attack”, but it was a little too “Hitchcock” for my taste and it was really scary in the moment.

On another fun note, every single time I go for a run, there are creepy men available for catcalling. Yes, the infamous disgusting tale of random creeps “complimenting” a young woman from afar instead of minding their own business. As scary as the bird attack was, I am NOT a fan of catcalling. It is really terrifying to feel like no matter what, there will always be a creep yelling “compliments” at you.

My point is that, in life as well as in running, you need to stay away from these kinds of attack. However, sometimes they are completely inevitable. My advice is to keep your cool, calm down, and ignore the attacks from birds, catcallers or anyone, really.

Running, like life, doesn’t always have to be a pain. In short, you may feel like giving up or dying, but you can do it! Keep your focus, pace yourself, and enjoy life!