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?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Harry Potter Summer Camp, Pt. 3

Day 12: We didn't have class because we played laser tag! I actually decided last minute to go and very last minute to play. I had a weird headache (I think from hitting my head at the sauna), that didn't feel like a headache you get from a lack of caffeine. Once we got to the center I decided I'd play, and I'm so glad I did because I had a blast! Also, my team won all three games (all of them, minus me, are pictured below.
Day 13: | Quidditch: Our Quidditch class was really fun. I began the lesson by going over Quidditch: rules, players, equipment. They watched a short YouTube video about the game (even though most of them had seen the movie). Then, we played Steal the Snitch, which is just my Harry Potter name for Steal the Bacon, for House points. I split the groups into two teams based on House points. The highest and lowest scoring groups were on one team and the two middle groups were on another. They really enjoyed the game, but my partner teacher and I had to keep changing the rules because they'd try to cheat or they weren't playing how they were supposed to be playing. Overall, though, it was a fun game for them to play!
Day 14: | Potions and Final Ceremony: This was our last class of the camp, and I couldn't believe it was already over. For this class I created a potions workbook and we discussed how to make recipes and then they created a potion as a group for final House points. The House in this class with the most points was the winner! In both classes Ravenclaw won, but it was so fun to see how close the scores were right up until the end. 

The camp officially finished with the closing ceremonies. The students performed talents and skits for family and members of the community. In between the performances awards were given to students and staff. All the native English speakers also received additional gifts, which was completely unnecessary, but always welcome. I started to cry giving my last speech because it started to hit me that I would be leaving in a few days. My friend, Elizabeth, was nice enough to take the pictures below for me because my phone will randomly shut off and won't turn back on until the battery dies. Of course that happened right before the ceremony when I purposely charged my phone so I could take photos. That's life though.
I was really surprised about the feedback I got for my Harry Potter sessions. I didn't know what to expect since my director always told us to do something with American culture. I, honestly, don't like teaching American culture because they already get so much of it in movies and music. I think the students really enjoyed it, and I was shocked at how many great things my director said about it as well! Hard work really does pay off!
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