Sunday, November 19, 2017

Oktyabrya Prospekt

Throwing it back to Russia for the moment in this post. Right before I left, A and I went for a walk up Oktyabrya Prospekt. It's almost like we went full circle because it's actually what we did on our first "date." We walked so far we almost made it to Chernikovka! If you live in Ufa, then you know that it's a pretty far walk. I had a list of things I wanted to see and do before I left and the marten statue was one of them. I was definitely drawn to its 70s look. I also wanted to take photos of the street in general to remind myself of it since I used to walk it a lot. I'm glad I did, but it's pretty hard to write this post because I truly miss Ufa.
I had never walked further than Gorsovet Park, so there were a lot of new landmarks that I'd never noticed before while riding the marshrutka. The building above is supposedly going to be the tallest skyscraper in Ufa. A was really interested in it, so the only reason I took a picture was because we were standing there for too long and I had nothing better to do. On another note, you can probably guess how excited I was when I saw the puppet theater and the castle playground as we continued walking north. The puppet theater fountain was in rough shape, but I wish I could have taken the fish to display in my house. The fountain was actually a nice size, but there was no water in it at that time. I'm sure it looked better in it's former Soviet glory.
Since we walked up one side of the street I was hoping we'd pass the street art on our way back. I had been wanting to take pictures of it for a long time but just never made it that far with my camera. My feet were killing me, so we ended taking the bus back home when we were finished. It rained a lot the last few months before I left so my long list of places to visit never got finished.  We managed to make it back up Prospekt one last time, though, and I was able to take pictures of the art.
I've been pretty "homesick" for Russia the last few months. I absolutely love my job here in the USA, but I can't help but wish I was back in Ufa. Anyone else ever feel this way? What's the best cure for this "homesickness?"

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Too Much Sugar in Cincinnati

Last week I mentioned that I went to Cincinnati to visit one of my best friends and her family. It was my first time seeing them since I went to Russia, and it was my first time getting to see Ida. She still had her fat rolls! Haley was awesome in driving me around to all the off beat places I had on my list. It's taking me a while to edit those, so in the mean time here are just some random pictures of her kids and sweets.
The plan was for me to drive down on Saturday, but last minute I changed it and decided to drive down on Friday evening  It gave me a chance to visit another good friend in Columbus and not worry about time. Since I came Friday night it gave me an extra few hours on my trip. We woke up Saturday morning and walked to get donuts at a little place called Wyoming Pastry Shop. We took the donuts to go and ate under a gazebo a few hundred feet away. The donuts were so good and a great way to start my visit.
A mutual friend of ours works for a ministry, and they started an ice cream truck in the Walnut Hills area of Cincinnati. The name "Green Man Twist" comes from the rock carving of the man you'll see below. I can't remember that *actual* story of him though, but it just makes sense to know where the name came from because I know I thought it was interesting when I put two and two together. I love ice cream, and I hadn't seen my friend, Katy, in years so I was excited to stop and see it. Apparently, Cora really likes their ice cream too. Katy even let Cora and me check out the inside of the trailer. The ice cream hit the spot, but don't worry we ate plenty more ice cream throughout my visit.
A nice, little community park was built where the truck is parked. I had been to this area many times while living in Cincinnati, and I always love seeing how people are improving all of the city's neighborhoods. Cincinnati is constantly changing and I really can't keep up. I hope that energy makes it up to Cleveland. We didn't stay too long, but I was glad we stopped by.
After Green Man Twist we stopped at Mount Storm on our way to the abandoned cemetery (I haven't edited those pictures yet). From the park you can see the University of Cincinnati. Looking at the photo below I can see the university, my old work, and the school where I did my student teaching. It makes me nostalgic, and I can't look at it too long or I'll get really sad. Life is what it is though, and I love my job, so things work out for a reason.
Have you been to Cincinnati? What restaurants do you recommend?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Almost-Abandoned Mall

600 Cincinnati Mills Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45240, USA
Please forgive me for the long radio silence. It's been hectic since moving back. Three weeks ago I also started a new job. It's a job I absolutely love, though. I still have photos from Russia to share, but I thought I'd switch it up a bit. In the middle of July I went down to visit one of my best friends, Haley, in Cincinnati. She is one of those friends who truly gets me and is always up for doing something fun, even with a toddler and a baby! Bless her.

I had a list of things I wanted to do and see in Cincinnati, but while I was there she also suggested places that she knew I'd like. It's funny because I lived in Cincinnati for 5 years while attending college but I still manage to find things I want to do. We met up with our friend, Matt, the day before and they both mentioned they wanted to walk through this mall. Cincinnati Mills, Cincinnati Mall, and Forest Fair Mall Village are all names I've heard to refer to this place, but I'll just refer to it as Cincinnati Mills because that seemed to be the name Haley preferred.
I was really interested to see what this place was like. As they were explaining it I couldn't wrap my head around a mall that was open but that no one went to. The feeling when you walk inside is quite strange. The doors at entrance 2 are unlocked, probably for those mall walkers who don't want to deal with the crowds. There were probably 3 stores in this mall, but I don't think any of their entrances actually worked inside. It was literally a ghost town, but a well-kept ghost town. We didn't even see a handful of people; that's how abandoned this place was. What we did see, though, was a custodian whose job it still was to keep this place clean. Maybe they have hopes that something will turn around and want to make sure it's in it's best shape when that does happen? Who knows.
As we walked around Haley was telling us about the places she used to go. I loved trying to imagine this place in it's peak. I tried to compare it to my hometown mall I spent many middle and high school days in. Now, you need to drag me kicking and screaming into a mall. I hate them, except if their abandoned - or partially abandoned. If you're interested in reading about the history of the mall you can do that here. In a nutshell, falling sales and it's failure to land big companies like Ikea, led to its decline and, I imagine, will lead to its demise sometime soon.
For now, entrance 2 is still open for the curious visitor. I completely recommend visiting this place while it's still open because it's basically an abandoned mall but you won't be committing any crimes. If you are interested, the mall is open every day from 6 AM to 8 PM. The address is 600 Cincinnati Mills Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45240. Make sure you have a full stomach because you won't find any functioning food courts inside.
What do you think of this place?
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