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Old 06-03-2015, 03:57 PM
Location: East TX
2,085 posts, read 1,836,145 times
Reputation: 3175


OP, if possible I would encourage you to travel to WI and spend some time in Madison. Madison is a great little city and really does compete with larger metro areas in services, culture, and quality of life. There is a very open minded mentality, with little critical opinion of religious views in most of the area. The city demographic is young due to the university and its influence, and offers a huge selection of activities and culture also provided through the university and its related activities.

The description of what you liked about Cleveland made me think about Milwaukee and I would suggest you look at Milwaukee as well. There is a larger Hispanic population in Milwaukee metro, as well as Waukesha and Jefferson counties to the west. There is also a large Catholic influence in the Southeast section of the state that I never saw in Madison. The age, religious, and career demographics all seem to point to that being a better fit and it is also similar in size to the Cleveland metro area that you are familiar with. Since the two cities are only ~80 miles apart, it may be possible to enjoy the benefits of both.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by miamian in nc View Post
Great points. I was going to go to Asheville to look it over since it's so much closer and less of a move, be it to Madison or Cleveland. As beautiful as Asheville is, it seems it has a lot of cons as a place to live, outweighing the pros. Over the past two months I've been to Charlotte too. There are some beautiful places in Charlotte but the traffic is horrendous. They are trying to get a light rail system going there but it's still in its newbie stages. However, Charlotte isn't all that different from here in Raleigh with the Southern ways and attitudes. Neither Raleigh nor Charlotte have any real character to me. They're just places to live. Chapel Hill has character but it's expensive to live there.

There haven't been a whole lot of responses here on the board. In looking at other postings it's about the same. Maybe not as many Madisonans (is that what the residents are called, or are they Madisonians?) are on the board here as some other cities. I like what you say though, NomadStephanie, that there isn't that emphasis on religion in Madison, as opposed to here. Here I hear people regularly interject in conversation the fact that they're going to Bible study on such and such a night. Some even have their Bibles with them on their lunch breaks. Nothing against any religious group but I am more comfortable being personal about my own beliefs and not needing to let everyone know about them.
Charlotte and Raleigh are very different.....loved living in Raleigh...Charlotte need to to just become part of South Carolina....they are that that different. You just don't find people having lunch with their bibles. Chapel Hill has it's charm....but really...it's not all that. I love to visit Asheville but it's not a place to live.

In answer to your question of Madison v. Cleveland...well...I am orginally from Northern Ohio (before we moved to Raleigh and are now in Madison)....and Cleveland beats them all hands down. Madison may be slightly better when it comes to some traffic patterns, but that is more due to the smaller size than anything else. Medicine, nightlife, concerts, friendliness, cultural things to do....shopping.....Madison is okay...but...

Madison isn't bad....but it's very much an enclave....and even there...you want to freak out a person who is black or Hispanic...smile and say hello...or don't cross to the other side of the street. Wisconsin is in general the most racist state I've ever lived in. They don't see it..but they are.
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Old 06-05-2015, 09:14 PM
Location: North Carolina
444 posts, read 660,053 times
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Good points about Milwaukee. If it offers more ethnic diversity including Hispanics, then part-time ESL teaching would be available there, I'm sure. The college town feel of Madison sounds charming too. Any college town will mean nice art exhibits, concerts and live theater. A visit is definitely in order here, no question about that. First impressions mean a lot, going to a new city and assessing how it all feels being there. To me it's seeing how the interactions go in talking with locals, getting around there, and seeing if it I can see myself actually being there aside from being a temporary tourist to take it all in.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:44 PM
Location: Madison, WI
102 posts, read 165,334 times
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Good luck with your decision!

I am from the Cleveland area and moved to Madison about three years ago. Both are great cities and both are very different from each other.

Cleveland has a lot more old-world charm to it: historic neighborhoods, tradition, ethnic ties (more on that later), while Madison is more of a shiny new place where about half of it looks like it was built since I was born (and I'm in my 20s). With that also comes that Madison's infrastructure is both more heavily used and better maintained. Cleveland has a certain feel to it like the city is being held together by duct tape that I find endearing though some think is a bit dumpy. Cleveland, despite being in a metro area 4 times the size, has less of a traffic problem. As for the scenery, Madison is fortunate to have two beautiful lakes, but Cleveland's Emerald necklace of parks has more "to it" than Madison's parks. Madison has a ton of them but they're mostly pretty small. When I leave Madison someday, I will miss running along Lake Mendota at sunset every day all summer. It's quite beautiful.

As for the ethnic neighborhoods, I've found that while Cleveland and Madison both have "diversity" they understand it differently. The Cleveland understanding is that we have a ton of people who moved there from a ton of different places and each set up their own little ___-American neighborhoods with their own institutions, activities, foods, and cultures. Madison on the other hand would see diversity and stress how we're all the same regardless of our backgrounds. While you may find Italian-Americans in Madison, you won't find a Little Italy. One thing I miss about Cleveland is the little ethnic neighborhoods and festivals, even though my own ancestry is enough of a mix that I'm not a part of any of the ethnic neighborhoods.

As for the Catholic Churches, have some differences but not that many of course, being Catholic and all. I'm Catholic as well and have lived in both. In Cleveland, the Church was set up along all of those ethnic lines and is now some combination of an ethnic church and a suburban church. Cleveland is blessed with a ton of incredibly beautiful old churches built by hand by European immigrants fresh off a boat more than a century ago. Madison, being a relatively new city, is not blessed with as nice of church buildings as a whole, though there are some really nice older ones in the downtown area and scattered around the rural outlying towns. A lot more of the churches are post 60s structures in the suburban parts of Madison though. I've found the Catholic Church in Madison to have more of a stress on person piety than either Cleveland or my original home diocese of Toledo. Admittedly, I am viewing this as a young adult and things may come across differently to people of another age group.
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Old 06-10-2015, 07:21 PM
Location: North Carolina
444 posts, read 660,053 times
Reputation: 542
SmittyXCWRU, I like how you depicted all the points here about the two cities. Having lived in Cleveland in the past, I can appreciate your points. The city certainly does have the old world charm with its ethnic ties still present to this day. That appeals to me more now as I'm getting older and have no family at all since my parents died many years ago and I'm alone. I wonder if I'd be able to fit into this type of scenario. Maybe not, since people have been there for generations. Now that I think about it, it concerns me a little. Maybe merely visiting from time to time will give me the ethnic "fix" I need. I don't know. I am so starved here in North Carolina for that sense of belonging that it makes me sadder as time goes on. There isn't anything like that here. I absolutely love your description of Cleveland being held together with duct tape. That is so on the spot when you think about it.

The two lakes in Madison have got to be a beautiful sight to behold, particularly in seeing the changes of the seasons. It sounds like you will move on yourself in time...maybe back to Ohio?...or maybe someplace altogether different. I do remember the Emerald Necklace and didn't appreciate it enough when I was there. I share your points on the Catholic churches and have found that no matter what the city, the downtown churches are far more beautiful. They are those old ones where you feel like you are in church because they are so much older and even have the old, musty scents that make it feel like church. I'm glad to hear Madison has a good number of Catholic churches.

You are definitely wise beyond your young years. Overall I really like how people here on the Madison thread are so respectful. That's a real plus in and of itself.
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