This weekend was all about exploring, and boy did I.

Saturday was the biggest adventure for me. I woke up and thought: “Today I’m going to go to The Mall of America.” A couple of people had told me how easy it would be to get to The Mall- all I would have to do was take my normal bus route to downtown and then hop on the train and get off at the last stop. One of my new coworkers, Amanda, was going to meet me there to show me around- sounded like a easy and fun day!

What was supposed to be a hour long trip evolved into a two hour long trip. First, my normal bus was late- not that big of deal, just annoying. Then, when I arrived at the lightrail station, I found it eerily empty. Luckily, an aide was there who explained that the train was not running through downtown this weekend, due to track maintenance. I would need to go back to where I had just gotten off the bus and hop on a special shuttle that would take me to the next lightrail station. After I arrived back at the stop, I realized the lady had not told me which side of the street the bus would be on, nor had I thought to ask. I also had no idea whether I would be going north or south, so I didn’t even have that to guess with. Of course, I assumed the wrong side of the road (well first, I watched the bus zoom right past me as I was standing at the wrong stop) and was shakily informed by a man with little grasp of the English language that I needed to be on the other side. After another 15 minutes of waiting, I got on the correct bus and eventually hopped on the light rail.

This trip took me through different parts of the region- some of the areas were clearly not the best areas. It also took me by Fort Snelling, which made me very happy- now I know how to get there and explore where my Grandpa joined the Army! After about 30 minutes on the train, I finally arrived at The Mall of America. I spent the next couple of hours with Amanda, walking the complete three miles of The Mall, eating A&W and doing some fabulous people watching. Luckily, the trip home was much less dramatic. I even made a pit stop in downtown Minneapolis and grabbed my first Caribou coffee!

Today was a different type of exploring. I again took the bus to downtown Minneapolis where I watched the Twin Cities Gay Pride Parade with Amanda. It was one of the most unique experiences I have ever had- Minnesota voters will vote this fall on the legality of gay marriage, so the main focus was the political messages, not gay men running around handing out popsicles. Surprisingly, I only saw one pair of ass-less chaps. My favorite part of the parade was when one of the gay bar’s floats went by and I was covered with foam. I feel like I can officially say I’ve been to a foam party if anyone ever says I need to go to one before I die.

After the parade, Amanda and I went to a pizza place and had appetizers and drinks (Luce had given us each a coupon for a free appetizer, which we just had to utilize right away!). For two drinks and the appetizer sampler, we ended up only paying $7.00! I then took the bus home and took a much needed nap.

This afternoon, the only thing I really had to do was my Insanity Plyometric Cardio Circuit. I got about 30 seconds into the warmup and decided I just didn’t want to listen to Shaun T tell me to “dig deeper” or “push harder” today. So even though it wasn’t a scheduled rest day, it was beautiful outside, so I decided I would just go on a walk instead.

As I started my walk, I decided it was high time I explored the University of Minnesota- Saint Paul campus. I mean, it is literally right across the street from my house. I’m sure I didn’t see close to everything, but I did see some pretty cool things. Giant cow statues, experimental gardens, on campus grain silos; it was just a beautiful campus. I included a few pictures of my favorite things:

By the end of the summer, I think I need a picture of me sitting on one of these.

The idea of so much open space on a college campus blows my mind!

I love all the trees around here!

So pretty!

I haven’t been here a week yet, but I definitely feel like I am settling in. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer brings!


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