Knocking Goals Out, One By One

Hey there!

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So, let’s be honest…it’s been a while since this page has been consistent…but spring break is now at its end, and I’m back to the routine! Expect three (plus some) posts a week and some fun stuff coming around in the near future. For now, let’s take a look back to last week…

Break was a BLAST. Absolutely, unequivocally the best break ever. Which I’m pretty sure I’ve said about each spring break I’ve had during college, but I think this one was just fantastic. Not only did I get to start the break early, but heading to Ohio to spend time with my best friend and going to see an amazing concert, but I got to take 10 days off; no homework, no demands, no bedtime, nothing holding me back from doing whatever it is that I decided to do. Read a book? Did it. Spend each night with Zach? Did that, too. Take the pup for a walk, see a range of doctors, get some more goals set up, travel a bit…I could go on and on about all the things I fit into the small amount of time, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll focus on the day trip Zach and I took to Cincinnati on Saturday.

We had originally planned on going to COSI in Columbus for a long, long day trip. However, like pretty much none of our discussions prior to the trip, we decided not to go. Literally hours before we were planning to leave. So, we fought a little bit, because that’s the most productive way to fix everything (not), and then we quickly pulled up a list of things to do in other nearby cities. Indianapolis didn’t have much going on, it was too cold to head out to Mammoth Cave, and nothing in Tennessee was close enough for our liking. Although Zach and I have been to Cincinnati a number of times already, we found one thing that really piqued our interests: HorrorHound Weekend. A capitol H Huge convention of all things horror movie related, and that just so happened to be hosting two of our favorite actors (Kim Coates and Alan Tudyk). We got all excited real quick, and started planning when to get there, how much tickets would be, what fun it would be to meet the two awesome actors, and so on. Completely oblivious to both of us? No day-of sales for Saturday tickets. And we didn’t figure that out until…1 int eh morning on Saturday. Hey, at least we found out before we headed north! So, in the late, late evening, we devised another top-notch plan.

[first stop] Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Central

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This place was pretty great, I must say! I have already seen this museum once in my lifetime (circa 2006), and I was wary at first about going to see the museum again. Thankfully, like any great museum, they had updated most of the exhibits, and we had an absolute blast exploring together. We started out by checking out the history of the Queen City (Cinci), and had a blast exploring World War memorabilia and old-time trams.

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Check out this cutie!

The exhibit was interesting enough to entertain adults and interactive enough for the little ones. It was the perfect mix. Next on our list was the natural history museum, complete with Neil Armstrong’s space exploration (including a moon rock! so cool), and a bat experience. The bats were cute, and the kiddos were piled in to see it all, but alas, the bats had other plans. Instead of flying, they slept. So we moved on to a cave exhibit (built like a real cave!) and some reconstructions of prehistoric animals that would have been found in Cincinnati during the last ice age. SO COOL.

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We made friends

As we jumped from exhibit to exhibit, we explored these strange animals (including a massive sloth that Zach wasn’t too fond of) and learned more about the history of our area than I’ve taken in in quite some time. As we found our way through the dinosaurs and closer to the exit of the exhibit, we brainstormed on the next steps. One visit to the gift shop and one scoop of chocolate ice cream later, we were off to our second destination!

[second stop] Cincinnati Art Museum

This stop made my day, but I wouldn’t know that until we were on our way out. But we can’t start at the end of the story, only the beginning! Zach wasn’t exactly thrilled for this stop (the man thinks art exhibits equate to strange individuals tilting their heads and staring at paintings). However, as soon as we entered the first exhibit, he found a way to enjoy it. Sculptures and pottery from the time of Xerxes (300 anyone?) stood in front of us, and I had the boy hooked. 

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We continued through the corridors, exploring the east, from the Middle East to Spain, China to Japan, including some absolutely beautiful religious artifacts from India. I was awestruck, but I was also eagerly awaiting the big stuff – the paintings. We weasled our way through the rest of the eastern artwork, and found ourselves in the most confusing layout ever. African art, American Indian art, random bedroom suites (yes, furniture is art, too!); the only problem? We had two destinations: Egyptian/Roman artifacts, and the American/European 18th-20th century artists. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we actually did find the Egyptian/Roman art, but we did get a little taste at the end of our trip. Thankfully, Zach being the amazing man he is, he let me run up to the American and European collections, and my dreams came true. Unfortunately, most of the art was not to be photographed, but the experience itself was enough. Manet, Cassett, de Goya, Warhol, Picasso…I could go on. All of these artists that I would never have dreamed of encountering in my lifetime were right in front of me. I think I died a little bit, but I was happy. As we weaved through each room, Zach laughed at my excitement, but he let me appreciate my art. We made our way to a 6,000 years of art exhibit, and my heart began to race; I had yet to see my favorite artist, and to be honest, I expected to see nothing. However, if the man himself were to be in this museum, it would be here!

We found some amazing Egyptian casks (say hi, AP History book!)…

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And to be honest, I’m not even sure if I was allowed to take these photos…I didn’t see any signs telling me not to, so I went for it. El Grecco, anyone?

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I went from wall to wall, sighing and smiling, but a little part of me was sinking inside. I had Zach grab a guide so we could name off paintings lining a series of three, filled walls, and that’s when I saw his name;

Van Gogh.

I believe I may have shrieked, or I may have ran to the spot on the map. Zach claims I shed a tear…but I digress. As I approached the purported placement of the painting, my heart fell. The wall was blank. I was heartbroken. How could it be that I came so close to finding myself in front of the work of my favorite artist, and yet i just wasn’t there?

Zach helped pick me up off the ground (not really, but it sure felt that way), and we made our way to the next door. I think I complained the entire way down the stairs and out to the grand hall about how horrible it was that it was there, but not really. We walked through a few other exhibits, resulting in Zach finding his heart lying in the hands of de Goya, and we tried our best to enjoy the last of our artful afternoon. With the number 5 coming around on my watch, we began to make our way to the front door. We walked around, trying to find our exit, and then realized we had to walk through just one more hallway exhibit to exit. I had no complaints, and we took our time exploring the final room. And man, am I glad we took our time there. As we hit the second painting on the right, my eyes opened and I saw it…

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Van Gogh, Undergrowth With Two Figures, 1890

I honestly think I did cry, but only a little bit. This artist, a man tortured by his own demons, has some of the most breathtaking, beautiful, sometimes eerie, art that I have ever encountered, and I could not believe it was right there in front of me. It was beautiful, it was haunting, and it was right there. At that moment, this trip became the best spring break trip ever.

I already knew I had the most amazing man by my side, I’ve known that for a while. He supports my every endeavor, he helps me carry on when I really just want to complain and go home; he makes me smile even when I don’t want to. But most of all? He wants to do the things I want to do. He sacrificed a free Saturday to go to museums that I was interested in; sure, he wanted to go along, too, to enjoy a new place, but he went with my crazy plans (and quick-hatched escape routes to the nearest Margaritaville for a Cheeseburger in Paradise [yum!]) and we had an absolute blast.

I can’t wait for the next adventure to begin.

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