Sunday, May 12, 2013

Paris... of the West

DISCLAIMER: When I was uploading pics from my camera to my dear old mac, something happened which I thought only happened to other people -- the pictures DISAPPEARED! Seriously. Okay, not all of them, but all of the best ones! Of course I still have random pictures that I took from the LaQuinta in Cheyenne, WY but about every third photo vanished. So after pouting to Jason for the better part of an hour, and verbally abusing my computer/camera, I have put on a stiff upper lip and decided to post the pictures I do have. In other words, I hope you have really low standards for this post.

As of last week, Jason and I have become Parisians.

In a way.

Last year, Jason and I decided we wanted to get out of Utah and take a little adventure. I hadn't gone on a study abroad for over a year and was just itching to get out of the 801.

SECOND DISCLAIMER: I really love Utah. I love the people, the landscape, the temples, the grid-system, the fry-sauce, everything. I really can't say enough good things about Utah. And if you say anything negative about it expect to hear an angry tirade with the phrases, "greatest snow on earth," "zion," and the definitive "this is the place" multiple times.

That being said, I am a creature who thrives on change. Consequently, growing up in one city for the majority of my formative years, going to college there, and then going to more college there is just a little much. I want to explore. We decided that since Jason is a much more marketable individual, he would apply for internships during the summer and we would just go wherever the wind would take us. Except we had ruled out the extremely-rural winds. We wanted an adventure, but not an episode of The Simple Life.

Hank's fav position: breathing in my face.
When Jason was offered an internship in Cincinnati helping professional athletes put on summer sports camps, we were all for it. Then, whenever I was too sick of editing diet pill articles at work, I would look up things about our soon-to-be-home. Did you know Cincinnati has the 4th most accessible parks in the nation? Well, you do now. And, more importantly, Cincinnati was dubbed "The Paris of the West" because of its exceptional architecture.

Guilty picture of Hank after he whined the. whole. night. long. in Cheyenne.

Now that we are out here, I must admit it is amazing. While it cannot rival the beautiful Wasatch front, Jason is so happy to be back in a place that is green again. Apparently the thriving populations of sage brush and tumbleweed in Utah don't do it for Oregonians. But the riverfront is so fun, the downtown is one of the cleanest I've ever seen, there are beautiful, old homes everywhere we go, and our apartment is 18 minutes from everywhere. Seriously -- a geographical oddity.

Beautiful Bella, the goldendoodle of Omaha.

It is definitely an adventure, though. Our apartment is on the border of two very different neighborhoods. One is absolutely gorgeous and full of well-manicured, historic homes. The other is less so. The Kroger in that neighborhood has full-time police escorts, and there have been multiple prostitute sightings. The drive shaft in our car just happened to break off (just a couple blocks before we got on the freeway #tendermercy) in that sketchy area and let's just say we wished we had Hank to be our chaperone.



We also did some pretty cool things before we got to Cincinnati.

For my birthday Jason got us a gourmet cooking experience.
That fire was intended. Double chin was not. 


It was a monumental birthday for Jason! He turned 24 on April 24th and so I forced him to have a golden birthday party.

He also rented a puppy. Because he is perfect.

It was mainly an excuse to eat good food while outside -- Jason's favorite things! -- but we even had an appearance from a real-live hobbit!

I was really happy.
But I had just gone to the dentist, so I was having trouble expressing the right emotions.


Also, we got to eat gold cake for weeks since I made multiple practice cakes because I'm kind of neurotic.

After the third leg of our drive out to the great Mid-West, we stopped in Chicago and had a little time to explore the more dog-friendly parts of the windy city. Let's just say you would never know how many wild bunnies there are in Millenium park before you are walking around with a born predator tied to your wrist. Somehow Jason and I managed to keep our arms attached to our body. Loose-leash walking is a myth and anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to make you feel like a bad dog-owner.

Pretending to be Cubs fans. Except for Marin, who is a legitimate fan because she looks great in all Cubs gear.

Then I was a really terrible wife and let Jason go on to Cincinnati by himself while I had a weekend with some of my best friends from my London study abroad.

We don't mess around when it comes to food.

So many good things happened as a result of that study abroad -- like starting this dear old blog -- but the absolute best thing was the people I met there.

So hard to get a decent pic from a stranger.
As we learned very well in London.

I still can't believe what a miracle it was that we could have 16+ girls share one bathroom and we would not only still like each other by the end of 4 months, but we would love each other so much that we come together from all different parts of the country to laugh at the same jokes, eat bucket loads of calories, and go through anthropologie and J-Crew sales racks like there is no tomorrow.

Vegetarian hot dog.
Real hot dog.

Seriously, though. Fall, 2008 was the most magical 27 Palace Court has ever been. I know there are many from other semesters who would beg to differ, but I just don't know how semesters like ours could happen twice.

So much love.

Those who weren't there were dearly, dearly missed. Just keep putting that money aside for when we all go back to London together. I've already packed my nighties!

Oh and here's a bonus pic of me being really embarrassing to reward you for making it to the end of this really long post: