By: Alumni Correspondent Jeff Oloizia, ’07
Greetings fellow Badgers! My name is Jeff Oloizia, I’m a ’07 UW grad, and I live in Japan. Pleasure to meet you.
I’m writing here on the Badgers Abroad Blog because…well, because they’re letting me I suppose. And hopefully, because I feel I have something unique to say about Wisconsin and its place in the world (which, according to my co-workers, is geographically somewhere between New York and London).
The truth is, I’m a relatively ordinary and unaccomplished 25-year-old who just so happens to be in an extra-ordinary situation. If this were one of those glowing alumni profiles it would likely start with a description of my various award-winning accomplishments and contain a picture of me smiling with my dogs at home, but, you know, it’s not.
What I can give you instead, through what I hope will be a long series of blog entries, is an inside look at the blessed and sometimes downright weird life of a Badger living in the Far East.
At any rate, before I get into all that, here’s what you need to know about my relationship with Madison:
I attended my first Badger game at age 9 with my parents and older brother, all UW grads. In my time at Wisconsin, I celebrated a hockey national championship, worried excessively about the welfare of Audrey Seiler, and learned the hard way that it’s neither funny nor clever to put a dried-out Christmas tree in your roommates bed after bar time.
As a freshman, I began my culinary career cooking Uncle Ben’s rice bowls for my dorm floor, and I remember fondly that it was Matt Schabert who connected with Lee Evans to beat Ohio State, because I was there, soaked and standing in Section P.
I, like many others in Wisconsin, consider myself lucky to be in on the secret that, yes, Bo Ryan is one of the best college basketball coaches in the country, and despite foggy memories of what actually happened there, I know what the Duck Blind is. I also know that the men’s track team is the most underappreciated team on campus.
A rundown on my Madison favorites reads like this:
Breakfast – Bluephies’ andouille scrambler
Bar – Hawks
Pint – The Great Dane Potters Run IPA
Coffee Shop – Electric Earth Cafe
Music Venue – Luther’s Blues
Place to Skip Class – The Union Terrace
Late Night Eats – Pel’meni dumplings
Food Cart Dish – Buraka’s chicken peanut stew
School Building – Bascom Hall
Whether any of these places actually exist anymore seems somewhat irrelevant, but the important thing is that they made an impression on me. These locations may be easily disposed of in a quick “Best Of’ list, but they are as real and meaningful a part of Madison to me as the knowledge and friendships that I (somehow) retained.
So while my UW experience may not be atypical or worthy of its own special “alumni profile,” I thought it important to tell you first where I’ve come from before I can say how I got from this:
I hope you’ll stick around to find out, and until next time, On Wisconsin.