Sunday 1st September
Mark makes breakfast for everyone - a veggie mix with eggs which is pretty nice. We are heading to Destin to catch a boat to Crab Island. It’s such a nice day and I’m looking forward to being in the water. As we’re early to the pier we head to a bar where it’s two for one on bud lights - so two for $3! The girls are drinking some girly drink - Champaign with orange juice I reckon and they are only $3 each so it’s $9 a round - I don’t mind paying for a couple of rounds - these are Wisconsin like prices! Our bartender, Megan, tell us that her husband is a massive Packers fan after I tell her about my current move to Green Bay. It’s a fun day out at Crab Island - which isn’t an island - just an area where you can head to and drink in the water which is waist up for normal people and knee height for tall guys like myself. I’m pretty reserved when it comes to drinking these days, but today ends up being a heavy session. We’re in the water for a couple of hours before heading back to pier and then Jen only having a couple of drinks is designated driver, safely and sensibly taking us all back home. The Zinter’s local bar is called Stripes, so Mark and I get dropped there for a couple of drinks and combined with the consumption of alcohol in the water we arrive back at the house in a petty rough state. Mrs Zinter isn’t too impressed with her husband’s condition - probably mine too - which I think Jennifer blames on Mark lol. We have a coupe of more beers and after food I fall asleep (pass out) on the couch.
Monday 2nd September
I wake up around 5:30am and it’s time to head back to my bedroom for some more sleep. Last night seems a blur. Mark comes to my bedroom around 9 to see how I’m getting on and asks me to get ready to head to work with him - he works in the Army Careers Center in Crestview, not too far from Navarre. We try and get breakfast at the Waffle House but it’s too busy, so we end up going to Subway just next to Mark’s workplace. Three new recruits end up visiting and it’s interesting to both see and listen their enthusiasm. I’m asked questions about Australia from both the new recruits and one of Mark’s colleagues, who has also come into work on their public holiday. Whenever I meet/see someone in military uniform or I’m told they are serving, or have served in the military I tend to say “Well done for serving your country”. Americans usually say “Thank you for your service”. Critics would argue that this form of comment glamorises and supports the military, militarism and even warfare in general. Personally, military service is a pathway to financial security - my grandfather served for the (British) police in Malaysia before WW2, thus had to go into hiding against the Japanese during WW2 so subsequently helped the British against the Communist insurgency after WW2 on the Malaya peninsula. With the money paid from these roles, my grandfather was able to purchase land in the Punjab, which meant my father and his two brothers could move to England with financial security. Mark comes from a single parent family and the military has provided him with debt free university education, heavily subsidised health care, the opportunity to travel around the world as well as a highly paid job. It would be difficult for someone born into a background like his to make social progress like he has done without the assistance of the military. Yes a person could question some of America’s militaristic operations and spending, but if you’re going to take the moral high ground with respect to the military then it should also be taken with the “system” in general such as corporatism and governance too in this country - where does ethics start and where does it end? Thankfully Mark doesn’t spend too much time at work and we head back listening to both classic and current dance music on my IPhone. Lunch is a Indian wrap heated up in the microwave with cake after which I pass out (again) whilst watching TV on the sofa. I wake up and it’s dinner time then Mark, Jen and I watch a college football game before the Zinter’s retire to bed - they are having an early night as they are back at work tomorrow. I’m not up too much longer due to my tiredness from Sunday’s shenanigans and silliness.
Tuesday 3rd September
When I wake up I’m home alone - Jen and Make have gone to work and the dogs are in the garage - they sense someone is in the house so they start barking but once they see me they stop and try to jump towards me - awww. I’m gonna have a lazy day. I switch on the TV and start watching GMF - Good Morning Football. As I’m scrolling through the channels on the remote I can’t help but notice the number of channels dedicated to football. I’m watching a segment on the opening game between the Packers-Bears. Aaron Rodgers is being interviewed, mentioning that pre season isn’t important - he didn’t play in any of the games of course - most believed he would get some time in the third game in Winnipeg but as the pitch was so terrible the head coach probably didn’t want to risk him. Rodgers says the team which wins on the day will be the one executing both defense and offense the best - Bears have been through a pre season too so they also need to execute well for the first game. One of the commentators mentions how the Packers will be at a slight disadvantage due to the new coach-quarterback having issues relating to miscommunication. I actually feel this too but maybe behind the scenes LeFleur and Rodgers have been speaking a lot about how the plays will work and they didn’t want to give too much away to the Bears/Vikings in our opening games. For lunch I head to a Thai restaurant, only around a 15 minute walk from the house and order a mean green curry. It ends up being pretty spicy so that on the walk back to the house, combined with the heat, I end up sweating quite a bit. It’s more TV for the afternoon. Whilst I was a teenager growing up in England I used to watch “Sister Sister” and they have loads of re-runs on a channel which brings back a lot of memories and laughs. Jen arrives back home just before four to take the dogs to the vet. Whilst they are playing in the garden, she tells me that they were barking around 3am, chasing a possum with Mark yelling at them to calm down! Luckily I slept though all of this. Mark gets back around half 6 and we will be having dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, located a couple of doors down from the Thai place I ate at for lunch. Both Mark and I order the same dish - shrimps, rice, egg and salad. It’s a really nice, big portion which I clear with not too much difficulty. I offer to pay the bill (cheque) but Mark kindly and generously insists he will take care of it as it’s my last meal with him and Jen. Once we get back I ask if I can watch WWE Smackdown - the first time in America that I have watched it on TV. I used to see both Raw and Smackdown recordings but since I ended my cable subscription back home in Perth I only watch them sporadically these days. Jen isn’t too impressed so leaves us to head to watch TV in her and Mark’s bedroom. I finish the night by watching the watching Jonny English Strikes Back - it’s an ok film concept but I really like the actor Rowan Atkinson. I’m having an early night as my alarm is set for 6:30 in the morning.
Wednesday 4th September 1750KM 1100M
I say goodbye to Mark, then Jen and I head to Pensacola so that I can get dropped off for my flight at lunchtime. As I have a few hours to kill, Jen and Mark have recommended I have breakfast at a place they like called the Ruby Slipper. Traffic is pretty heavy along the coastal highway from Navarre to Pensacola and it’s close to 8 when I hug Jen goodbye and thank her, like I did to Mark earlier for being such amazing hosts - as per usual. I think the respect and love comes from the fact that I make an effort to always visit them during my annual visit to America and they made the trip to Australia a couple of years ago. Some of my friends from high school didn’t even make the effort to come and see me when they were single or didn’t have kids. Now we are all in our late 30s and most are now married and having or recently had children making a trip down under financially and practically difficult. Also when in the past I have made my annual trip to England/Europe during the two week July winter school holiday recess break my high school mates wouldn’t take out time in their schedules to see/visit me. However when I make my annual trip to America, friends I randomly met during my travels always ensure I have somewhere to stay, things to do and provide me with both generous and genuine hospitality as I have make the long trip to catch up with them. This is also one of the many reasons why I really like America and its people, contributing to the crazy decision to move to Green Bay - and it was hard to explain this to friends both in England and Australia, colleagues, family and even strangers because the first comment they would make after explaining my planned trip in 2019 would be along the lines of “you’re going to live in a country that voted Trump”. My student’s would mostly comment “Sir, you’re gonna get shot”. Yes politics and guns cause a lot of divisive attitudes but sport and music combined with an outgoing personality in America are highly unifying, personally resulting in strangers becoming really close mates, as compared to England and Australia. I could only articulate this clearly most recently so in the past when I explained this it was done in a way in which I was negative about England and Australia - completely unintended by myself. For breakfast, I’m offered the option of grits with my omelette - I have never had it before so it’s something I definitely have to try. It’s a kind of a porridge type dish but more savoury and it comes with cheese on the top. I’m surprised this dish hasn’t made it’s way north up to Wisconsin. It’s a hot day and the cricket is on so I stay put in the diner. The fourth Ashes test between England and Australia is in Manchester at Old Trafford - not the football stadium, not far from the famous theatre of dreams is a cricket ground. Hopefully England can do well this test, although a finish like the last test will be difficult to match - but with Ben Stokes you never know. Whilst watching cricket I get a message from the American Airlines app that my flight to Washington is delayed meaning that I have a high probability of missing my connection to Chicago. I go onto the Skyscanner app on my IPhone and search Pensacola to Chicago with American Airlines and find an earlier flight to Chicago if I fly via Charlotte. I catch an Uber to the airport immediately and the kind customer service representative, who really likes my accent, puts me on the flights that I found. I don’t have to wait long at the airport for my first flight to Charlotte but upon arrival when I switch on my phone and check my Facebook, I find that I’m being tagged in posts where my article by Rich Ryman from the Green Bay Press Gazette has just been published. All of my social media apps are going crazy - Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are on fire - I’m finding it a bit stressful and it’s so time consuming that I don’t even have time to grab something to eat. Once on the Chicago flight I turn on some chilled music and tell myself I shouldn’t get overwhelmed with social media, and if I am I should take a break. I end up sleeping for most of the flight and wake up not long before landing into O Hare airport Terminal 3. I have been to this airport so many times. I’m staying and meeting up with a guy I camped with at Electric Forest, Dennis. He’s really cool-nice and generous, helped me set up my tent and offered food and drinks too. He lives with his mother in an apartment in Oak Lawn, which is located in the south western suburbs of Chicago. The plan is to go a bar for food and drinks, then another bar to meet up with a mate of his who has a car, who will drop us off in Oak Lawn. We take the blue CTA train line from the airport down to California stopping at the Boiler Room, just outside the station. For $10 you can get a slice of pizza, a shot of Jameson and a full tinnie (can) of PBR. What a great deal!? I don’t usually drink liquor but this is too good to turn down. Dennis has been telling me about his current girlfriend, who I know as she was camping around us at Electric Forest. Three girls from New York - Danae, Shannon and Katherine were really cool to camp and hang out with, and Dennis ended up getting close with Danae. He went to visit her in New York a few weeks ago, telling me they had a good time. Dennis and I are sitting at the bar next to two local women, Amber and Margaret. Apparently if you use the bar’s atm you get a free shot with every (cash withdrawal) receipt which the ladies have managed to find so they are feeling the power of the liquor. I tell them about my story which they find really interesting and we swap social media details. Margaret is moving to Nashville soon and offers me to meet up with her when I plan to visit Tennessee later this year. To get to the next place, Archie’s, we need to take a bus, to meet up with Dennis’s mate, Phil. So I thought the last place was cheap but Archie’s has $2 Hams beer. I’m told it’s a rubbish beer but I actually don’t find it too bad - maybe that’s because of the price too though. The guys are splashing out on $3 mixers. We end up shooting some pool and despite not having played for ages I win a few games in a row. Phil is gonna meet up with some friends in the northern suburbs so we go on a bit of a Chicago road trip. I have not eaten much food so I order appetisers to share amongst our group. After an hour or so we head to Oak Lawn which takes around 45 minutes. I forgot how big Chicago is. As Phil has work tomorrow, it’s just Dennis and I to hit some local places in Oak Lawn. It’s around 2am when we get back and Dennis being the great guy that he is has offered me his bed and will be taking the couch himself. Legend.
Thursday 5th September
It’s game day! The 100th year of the NFL is being kicked off by two of the biggest rivals - my mighty Green Bay Packers at the historically less successful Chicago Bears. And I receive some amazing news - a war veteran is going to kindly donate me a free ticket for tonight’s game, probably worth around a few hundred dollars so several hundred Australian dollars. Due to my late finish last night I’m up around 10, with a message from a guy called Eric who wants to meet me at noon in a Packers/Wisconsin themed bar in the northern suburbs to start drinking. I tell him that it’s far too early, but two is a far better time. It’s allows Dennis and I to grab breakfast, get ready and then for me to be dropped at the Chicago Midway Airport CTA station. It’s gonna take an hour with a change at Roosevelt station to Belmont, then a short walk to the bar, which is called Will’s Northwood Inn. I arrive just before two, and find Eric drinking in the beer garden. He used to be in the military and live in Green Bay, but left respectively both his career and hometown due to a close friend, who also used to be in the military, committing suicide, which was really hard part of his life for Eric. At the bar we meet a guy called Mark, originally from Wisconsin too, but now living in Indiana. He really likes my story and then we meet two guys, Joe and Brett, with Joe recognising me from the article. Joe immediately buys me a jaeger bomb shot. I hope I don’t get offered too many of these kinda drinks whilst pre gaming - I want to remember my experiences plus I might be doing media work too. Funnily enough, not longer after my drink two guys, Tony and Doug, from Milwaukee’s WTMJ radio station arrive and start setting up for a live commentary broadcast of the game from the bar. I introduce myself to them both and Tony ends up interviewing me for several minutes. What’s even funnier and crazier is that before the interview I receive a phone call from the radio station WHBY in Appleton. A journalist called John Dukelow read my story and messaged me on twitter mentioning that he would be interested in speaking to me. I gave him my phone number and during our conversation he mentions how he would like me to have a live phone chat every Monday morning for around 8-10 minutes wherever I am in America to catch up on the previous week. I tell him that I’m really interested in doing this media work. It’s great to be getting exposure for my crazy, random adventure and if it inspires others to do something similar, or whatever their dreams are, then I think it’s a good thing. Also if I can get free or face value tickets, places to stay for road games, attend tailgate parties and make new mates in general then that’s a good thing too! Eric has booked a hotel in the city so I order an Uber to get us there - it turns out that our driver Barry is also a DJ and puts on a really good mix CD of his. After checking in, Eric and I head to the hotel bar for a drink and to mingle with fans, most of who are supporting the Bears. We decide to walk to the tailgate area in Soldier Field-someone on Twitter invited me to a tailgate party. On the walk over to the stadium we end up getting heckled for wearing Packers clothing. Eric has made a bit of effort with his outfit with Bears fans either asking for a photo or on the other hand giving him verbals. Eric and I can’t be bothered walking and we spot guys offering rickshaw rides. We manage to get one guy, whose Serbian, down to $30. I tell him about student’s I taught from Serbia back in Perth. He also plays some cool retro 90s Eurodance music which brings back a lot of memories. For the final few minutes we have to walk to the offical tailgate area where we meet up with a couple of Eric’s mates, who kindly donate us drink tokens. I manage to find out that the tailgate we have been invited to is only a short walk so we leave the offical tailgate area and find some people who kindly offer us drinks and food too. Now the guy who messaged me with the tailgate party offer is actually still working but he gives me his mate’s location and number so I manage to track him down and say hi. He tells me there is a couple from Australia too who I end up chatting with - originally from Sydney they have been working in London for a few years and are massive Packers fan too, doing a short tour of America before heading back home to Australia. We have one more drink in the official tailgate area before heading to the game. Eric and I are so excited. Once we’re part security and ticketing, it finally hits me-I made it and I’m living my dream. After nearly five years in the making I’m doing it - I am following the Green Bay Packers for an entire season, with the first game kicking off the NFL’s 100th season against our closest rivals. I think our fiercest rivals would be the Vikings - the first game I saw at Lambeau and after which I decided to go on this crazy, random adventure. Our seats are actually pretty good but even if they weren’t I couldn’t complain considering the ticket I was given was free. It’s a really good atmosphere and the Bears fans are in full voice. Both teams end up playing a really good defensive game. I’m particularly impressed with the Packers defense, with all the time, dedication and preparation resulting in a well organised unit. This is exactly what our football club needed after the past few seasons previously with McCarthy. The Bears score the first points of the 100th season with a field goal but the Packers through Jimmy Graham have the first touchdown. It’s attritional, tactical football which isn’t the most exciting - especially when compared with the first Badgers game which was touchdown after touchdown but I will take this. The final quarter is pretty nerve wrecking as Eric and I, as well as the other small number of Packers fans around us are wondering whether our defense can keep up their concentration and energy levels. The Packers manage to kick a field goal to make it 10-3, and it turns out this is the final score. What a result! And what a way to start the season. Our offense is only going to get better as they spend more time together and our defense have laid down a marker for the rest of the season. I don’t care how we win as long as we win. The Badger games can be my football entertainment. Due to the Packers win, there is some silly behaviour and comments as we leave the stadium. It takes ages to exit and we randomly manage to bump into Mark from the bar earlier, not far from Roosevelt station. He’s ordered an Uber and wants Eric and I to join him for some post game tomfoolery. I decline and say goodbye to Eric too as I have to head back to the Oak Lawn area as I’m staying with Dennis. Eric is a bit disappointed and had I known that he had booked a hotel which he did offer me to stay, then I would have stayed with Dennis just for my first night and with Eric for the second. I sent him a message thanking him and saying sorry I couldn’t stay longer but he hasn’t got back to me - yet. I didn’t mean to upset and disrespect him but I had to get back to where I was staying, which was far from downtown. Dennis picks me up from Midway airport station at the same place that he dropped me off. We visit a few bars so I can celebrate a Packers win and combined with all the support and offers I have received from people reaching out to me on social media from my article I’m feeling really grateful and positive. I end up buying several people shots in the last bar as I wanna give back the generosity that I have been receiving lately. That’s why I love Electric Forest and it was my best ever music festival experience because it taught me to be more unconditionally generous as more will come back to me - and it has. On the way back home we stop at a Mexican diner, and as I haven’t had much food today I eat quite a bit, which Dennis finds both amusing and impressive. We end up getting back to the apartment around half two. Last two nights have been pretty big.
Friday 6th September 260KM 160M
The Packers won yesterday!! A game which we were expected to loose but due to an amazing defensive performance the team managed to leave Soldier Field with a win. And I made it back to Dennis’s apartment alive - another great result. I’m planning to take a coach from Midway airport to Madison at 2:15 so Dennis decides to take me to a baseball hitting station. I’ve never played previously played the sport but obviously I’m a Brewers fan. Last year during my annual spring (fall) school holidays I managed to get to two of their games. First was a divisional playoff between Brewers-Cubs at Wrigleyville stadium. The Packers had defeated the Buffalo Bills on the Sunday and the following morning Will and I went to Chicago for the day. We didn’t have to stay the night as it was a lunchtime kick off. Will managed to get really good seats as soon as they were released and as we were wearing our Packers/Brewers apparel we were getting heckled by a few fans - standard protocol in Chicago. However, we had the last laugh as the Brewers won the game and the night before I left America to head back to Australia my good mate Ed from Wauwatosa took me to the first playoff game between the Brewers and Rockies. It was also my visit to Miller Park and I managed to witness another Brewers win within a few days. Dennis gave me some tips on how to stand and move the body through with the bat to strike the ball. It reminded me of cricket, but I wasn’t a consistent player even in that sport, so I managed to strike a few balls but also managed to miss a few too. Brunch consisted of a Subway wrap, which was more than enough considering the quantity of food I had eaten late last night, then Dennis dropped me off at MidWay airport. I wished him all the best in his writing/creative work - he said he would like to visit me up in Green Bay and maybe I can get a couple of tickets for the Packers-Bears at Lambeau in December. I had a short wait to the bus so I listened to BBC Radio 1. It’s a 6 hour time difference between the mid-west of America and England so I managed to catch Annie Mac’s Friday night show followed by the legendary Pete Tong’s Essential Selection. Due to the time difference in Western Australia it’s nearly impossible for me to listen to those shows so I’m going to enjoy them live during my extended stay here in Wisconsin. The music definitely provides good company during the trip to Madison. I’m dropped off at the University of Wisconsin campus from where I catch a Lyft to my mate Brent’s apartment, where I will be staying for the next couple of days. Whereas I met Dennis at Electric Forest, I bumped into Brent at Tomorrowland, one of the world’s biggest electronic music festivals in Belgium, mainly due to the fact that Brent was wearing a Wisconsin flag. So in typical Jaz fashion I went up to him, introduced myself and told him my story, exchanging details so I could visit and stay with him in Madison. He has only recently got back from travelling around Europe, so his apartment has lots of boxes but there is a couch for me to sleep on and that’s all I need. We head to a bar nearby called the “Thirsty Goat” for Friday fish fry and a drink. It’s interesting to swap stories with Brent and learn more about him and his travels. Combined with the previous two nights and the first Badgers home game the next day it’s good to have a quiet night. We don’t stay out late and it’s not long before I’m asleep on the couch.
Saturday 7th September
It’s game day and my first ever visit to Camp Randall awaits. Brent cooks eggs for breakfast then we get ready whilst listening to BBC Radio 1 Dance Anthems. The first hour is classic anthems with the show starting at 10am local time. I have also been listening religiously to this show for an extremely long time. Brent really enjoys it and I help him download the BBC iPlayer app so that he can too listen to these radio shows. We get an Uber just before 11, and it’s turns out our driver used to play for the Badgers. Daniel plays some UW marching band music causing him to get a bit emotional, which is just great, as it shows how much this teams to me. Although I’m going to, and already have really enjoyed following both the Packers and Badgers so far, I most definitely feel I’m living a lot of people’s dreams more so than mine due to their longer and deeper connection to each team through various factors such as studying, family, birthplace and residency within Wisconsin. We’re dropped off at Regent Street with Brent recommending Lucky’s 1313 for pre-game drinks. It’s starting to get pretty busy as it’s a 2:30 afternoon start. The first people I speak to are a local couple, Beth and Craig. I then end up meeting a group of young guys and whilst showing them an article, a guy comes up to me excited saying he heard me on the radio and read my article too. Things get interesting when the young guys parents turns up and they recognise me from the newspaper article. It seems that the story has been published in an number of different local papers around Wisconsin. I do a google search and it turns out that it’s also in a couple of national publications such as in the USA Today’s NFL section. No wonder my phone is been going crazy on social media. Also people are starting to recognise me too. Dennis has a spare ticket and kindly donates it to me. Not only do they donate tickets they also donate beers. As it turns out to be another big day of drinking I’m most definitely going to have to start to politely decline drinks, especially if I might be undertaking various media roles. I leave Dennis, the other parents and all their kids to catch up with Jason and Ryan, who I met on the flight from Milwaukee to Tampa last Friday morning. Jason and I end up doing a Shotski - but with a beer - a key is used to cut the beer at the bottom, you open it from the top and then you have to quickly down the beer. I’m not getting any younger plus with the travel through either driving or flying to Packers games the next day will mean that this won’t be done too often - I don’t think physically or mentally I will be able to survive the whole season. Jason and Ryan take me to an offical tailgate zone where I randomly bump into Haleigh, a UW student who I met on a tour in Banos, Ecuador back in June. Haleigh and her mate Madeleine, also a UW student, were teaching English for the summer and it’s great to catch up with her. By the time I’m walking into the ground I’m feeling slightly delicate. Luckily no one can buy me a drink inside the stadium as alcohol sales are prohibited at regular season college games - phew. Upon arrival at my donated seat, I find Daniel with food and soft drinks for me - what a legend. I was more than happy to receive Eric’s hospitality a couple of days ago at Soldier Field so I’m feeling lots of warmth and appreciation. And it’s great Eric got back to me wishing me well for the Badgers game - definitely made me feel at ease. The Badgers are too good for the Central Michigan Chippewas, another small school as compared to UW. It’s the second week the opposition have failed to put any points on the scoreboard with today’s final result of 61-0 even higher than last Friday night’s game at Tampa. So the Badgers have scored over a hundred points in their first two games. I think it’s gonna take quite a few for the Packers to score a hundred points but I don’t mind too much as long as our defense holds up like it did against the Bears. After the game it’s more drinks thus consequently the night ends up being bit of a blur. Upon checking my credit card details on the banking app on my phone the next day, it turns out that I visited a few bars with visits to a pizza place and the lovely McDonalds, the latter which I maybe ate in the Uber on the way back to Brent’s apartment.
Sunday 8th September 240KM 150M
I wake up around 5am, feeling pretty dehydrated and unsurprisingly rough. I drink a tonne of water then luckily fall asleep to wake up feeling a lot less tense and anxious. By the time I have got ready, I order an Uber to take me back to UW campus, from where I will be taking a Jefferson Lines coach to La Crosse. I’m going to be staying with Dave and Darcy Maxwell and their son Van for a night and then I’m purchasing Dave and Darcy’s old car at a really good price, what we would call back in Australia “mates rates”. I arrive in downtown La Crosse around half 1, to be picked up by Dave and Darcy and their friends Matt and Mike, who are a couple. I have met them all previously during my first visit to La Crosse a couple of years ago for Oktoberfest. We head to a bar for lunch but there is no drinking for me. After the past week I’m on a detox. Im talking lots about my adventures since leaving Perth. Darcy is particularly interested about South America. I tell them all that one of the main reasons why I survived my travels on that continent is because I was well behaved and taking it easy. I also explain how living on a 80% teachers salary would be difficult if I was following a team based in a big city such as New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas. The Australian dollar is currently only buying 67 US cents - a far cry from my first visit to Wisconsin back in January 2013 when it was at parity. However, due to lower cost of living in Wisconsin the current exchange rate is fine - but in one of the big cities it would be expensive for rent, petrol (gas) and particularly eating and drink where tipping to servers is expected - and necessary considering the low hourly wages that they receive. For example, I order an avocado burger with a side of fries in the bar which is priced at $10. With taxes and tips it comes to around $12.50 which is around $18.50 in Aussie money. This is about what you would pay back in Australia as taxes are included in the price (it’s illegal not to) and tips are not expected. In some places it would still be cheaper in Wisconsin. However, in one of the bigger cities you could pay closer to $20 which with taxes and tips is getting to at least $30 Australian dollars if not heading into the late $30s. This would be more expensive than back home and after a few months it would definitely add up. Once we get back to Dave and Darcy’s home from lunch, it’s not long before Darcy and I leave to pick up Van from his part time job as a bag boy at the local Festival supermarket. He’s a great kid and I can’t believe how much he has grown when I see him-unbelievable. Darcy told me he would ask me lots of questions but turns out he’s pretty quiet and I end up promoting him to ask me questions. We chat about various things whilst the football is on in the background, which I don’t get to see due to the time differences too. The adults ask me about politics and media, both of which are highly negative, causing so much division amongst the general public. Van asks me about my family background so I enjoy it more telling him about my Indian, English and Australian backgrounds. The afternoon game we are watching is between the Giants and Cowboys in Dallas, both of whom the Packers will play on the road. With the amount of money the Cowboys have spent they are looking good this season and it will most certainly be a tough game for us. They easily defeat the Giants who might struggle this year, hopefully more so against us in New York at the start of December. Dave kindly prepares dinner which is pulled pork with bread rolls, beans and coleslaw. Matt and Mike leave after dinner during the start of the Patriots-Steelers game, the Sunday night prime time game, with the Patriots looking annoyingly good-again. I watched last season’s Super Bowl in a bar in Buenos Aires and it was certainly even more boring than the NFL opener on Thursday night. We don’t stay up too late as tomorrow is a busy day for everyone.