Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kroll Komes to the Twin Cities

My friend Matt Kroll came to visit from Sioux Center, Iowa! We met in Chicago through the Chicago Semester program. Out of all the crazy fun things we did, we missed out on swing dancing. After the great experience at Tapestry Folkdance Center, I knew that was the place that Matt and I could make that idea come to life.

So here's the low-down of our fun-filled weekend!


SWING TIME!! @ Tapestry Folkdance Center! Social dancing is such a blast! Everyone's so friendly and willing to dance. An extra treat was running into a few people I knew including Jen Jorgensen from Rosemount High and Katie Gard who I went with last time (she was there with another group). The world gets smaller all the time, especially when dancing brings us together :)  


We went on a Trader Joe's run to get snacks for the Game Night at my place. We got fun cheeses and meat to put on crackers. For supper we went to Pardon My French (my favorite new restaurant) Before company came, Matt had the idea to make peach smoothies! Joining us were David Allen, Ali Wulf and Jen Mike. We enjoyed getting to know each other while playing games and chatting.
We played:
LadderBall aka Lawn Nuts (oh boys... haha)
Farkle (new favorite game!)
Apples to Apples
Catch Phrase (Davids face was too funny for words! He's so intense!)

Best Quote from the night!
Game: Catch Phrase
Players: Matt to David.
The phrase: "nail clippers."
Matt's description: "Use these to shorten the protein on the end of your toes."
There was a pregnant pause to digest what he said and we all keeled over laughing! LOL


We enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the Lebanon Hills lake. No, we did not get lost like the poor mother and child who did earlier that week. But I can understand how easily that could happen. We saw plenty of wildlife including a half a dozen little turtles all chilling on a fallen tree. They know how to enjoy a beautiful day!

Next, we trekked up to Minneapolis/St. Paul to the Sculpture Garden, Summit Avenue and Grand Avenue. The Traffic was not helpful between the Cities, but we survived! The best part of the Garden was, for sure, the Spoon and Cherry fountain (with a family of ducks! So CUTE!). But what was also amusing were the different wedding parties taking pictures there. One bride had, basically, a prom dress on with tiara! haha On Grand Ave, Matt especially liked the Cooking store. He drooled over almost everything in there! There were many items that we just laughed at because they were items that you would only buy if you had too much money. haha I hit the jackpot with that stop :)

For supper we went to Noodles & Company! LOVE! Then had a bon fire in the back yard roasting marshmallows and playing ladder ball/lawn nuts in the moon light.


Tagging along with my parents, we attended Community of Hope Church. We got some lunch and then went on a bike ride around Rosemount, the high school and some of the neighborhoods. I finally met Matt's aunt right before he left. It was very sweet of her to house him since my place is packed!

Overall: The time with Matt was awesome, tiring but completely worth it. Now I have a sun burn, bug bites and my body is sore all over...that means it's summer! haha Again, definitely worth it to be with a good friend :)

Next Time: MOVIE REVIEW!!! (Yes, I saw INCEPTION!!!)

Take care everyone!

all my love,


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Special Times with Lesley and Cirque de Soleil!!

One of the adventures I forgot to highlight was the extraordinary opportunity to see Cirque de Soleil: Alegria with Lesley! She got tickets to see them through her internship. Her supervisor approached her and a few others and said, "You may not be getting paid, but there are some perks" and slapped down the $70/person tickets! THANK YOU LESLEY FOR CHOOSING ME TO COME WITH! It was a night of entertainment and wonder that I will never forget! :)

The seats were in just the right spot: above the main floor, but not in the upper balcony. We sat next to one of her fellow interns and her mom. As it turns out, all the people in the floor seats were able to interact with the clowns. Yes, clowns! *I'll go into that later* I had never been to the Target Center before, so it was fun to explore. To get there, we chose to park at the Mall of America and take the Lightrail to the station which let us off a few blocks away from the Target Center. With plenty of time to spare, we were able to get some snacks (popcorn and nachos yumm!) and settle in to our seats. The stage was interesting to look at with all the ropes hanging from the ceiling and the patterns on the floor. It was a forest like theme with cool greens, blues and some yellow for highlights. You can check out the photo! We were a lot closer than the picture makes it seem.

Overall, I would describe Cirque de Soleil as a modern circus complete with live music, singers, clowns and acrobats. The costumes were mostly fairy-like to go with the forest theme. But they varied depending on the type of talent they had. The show started out with the clowns and the band came in playing instruments like the sax and accordion. The role of the clowns were to be the comic relief (by mocking the acrobats) and fill in the gaps between acts so the other performers had time get ready for the next act. They were quite amusing! Sometimes they interacted with the audience in the floor seats. Once, they brought a guy up on stage and he did everything they asked! Including tumbling, jumping and speaking in their weird little non-language. It was really funny!

The performers were all incredibly talented! While the band played/sang original (beautiful!) music, we enjoyed:
1. A trapeze artist on a high swing (very lovely, but a little nerve racking cuz she was swinging above us!)
2. A group called the Power Track who bounded through the air with help from trampolines built into the stage floor!
3. An incredibly buff hand balancer who rotated himself on little pedestals(Jacob Black has nothing on this guy's abs! haha),
4. Male fire dancers with leather outfits (keehee)
5. A ribbon dancer who could hoola hoop on every part of her body (including her knee! still can't figure that one out...)
6. A "flying man" who swung himself from a centralized rope. Kinda like they did in Billy Elliot.
7. Russian Bars: basically, human spring boards! There were two guys holding each board and a guy in the middle flipping again and again, higher and higher!
8. Two contortionists (twins, I think) who formed shapes together on a rotating platform. They creeped us out a bit...
9. The grand finale: Aerial High Bar routine (most of the second act, mostly because the nets below them took up the entire stage). These guys were so graceful and fearless! It was incredible!

Ultimately, I can die happy after seeing this! I would recommend it to anyone who can get decent priced tickets. The quality is so high, the feats so unbelievable, that it's a must see!

Thanks again, Lesley, for choosing me to share this special performance with. Love you!

Next Time:

Matt Kroll comes to Visit!

The Movie Review Special! *maybe I'll see Inception! :)

Take care everyone! 

All my love,


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dancing Through Life

Here are some of the highlights from my first summer out of school. While not looking for jobs I have been dancing, camping, attending weddings and seeing great movies. More is yet to come, I'm sure so I'll try and write a bunch of shorter posts instead of long ones every once in awhile. We'll see how that goes! Thanks for reading and enjoy the stories...

Adventures with Katie Gard

Lately I've been getting invitations from my dear friend Katie Gard to hang out with her during her spuratic trips to the Twin Cities. Usually her reason for being down here has something to do with her sisters, Jennifer and Susie, but sometimes she gets these grad ideas of an adventure we can embark on. These adventures have revolved around food and dancing! We went to Whole Foods, specialty bakeries in the Cities and Noodles & Company. (One of my favorite fast-ish food places!) The dancing was fantastic! More-so the second time than the first. The first time, Katie had an inch to go salsa dancing since she had recently learned the steps. Katie has a lot of style when she dances so it was fun to watch her! 

We decided to go to a Latino dance/bar near the U of M. We thought there would be more authentic dancers, but most of the people there did it for more...social reasons...and we witnessed this firsthand. There were two guys who occupied us for most of the night. They wanted to dance close as they practiced their English. We  tried to be kind but as it came closer to the time for us to leave, we had to give them an ultimatum; only one more dance! haha They kept begging us to stay but we left. It was a learning experience, indeed.

Our second time around was absolutely magical! We went to Tapestry Folkdance Center in Minneapolis for swing dance lessons and a free dance afterwords. Katie's sister Jennifer joined us, which was a treat! We learned the lindy style of swing. It's more fluid than East coast style. The guys basically do everything and we follow. I finally learned to follow! It's a big step for me not to calculate in my head where the lead may be taking me. I thought that was my duty, but I've found that it's more trouble for the lead when followers do that. And it's more fun as a follow just to be swung around and around till you get dizzy! This happened quite a lot, actually. Many times we found that some partners were all about the spins and almost completely forgot the basic steps. There were a variety of people. Many of them our age! Everyone was asking everyone to dance! It was a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Most of the guys would dance with you once and then move on, but they were very kind gentlemen. 

One in particular, an older Asian gentleman, shared his philosophy of dancing with me...He asked me: "How many feet do you have? How many hands? Two, right? Well, there's only so many ways you can move them, so you don't need lessons to know how to dance. Just move!" He was such a gentle lead. I felt like I was gliding across the floor by Fred Astaire himself! Not surprisingly, Astaire is one of the people this gentleman 'learned' from. :)

I can see how in previous societies, like Jane Austen's, that dancing was an acceptable way to find someone to marry. While dancing, you find out pretty quickly how compatible you are physically and conversationally. And swing is fun enough that it won't get too serious if you don't want to. This was the perfect environment to meet some quality people. Thanks Katie for the fabulous adventure! Hope to have more soon :) 

I can't wait to go back to Tapestry. Hopefully I can bring my swing-dancing friend, Matt Kroll with me ;)

Rachael Wittern (now Green)'s Wedding 

On June 26th, my friend Rachael Wittern was married in a lovely ceremony to Aaron Green. I had never met the groom, but since he had survived Rach for a few years, I guess he could handle her ;) No, no, in all seriousness, when I observed them together I could tell that they enjoyed each others' silliness, but, more importantly, she seems to genuinely respect and care for him. They seem perfect for each other in that they want to take the journey God has planned for them together. The ceremony was beautiful because it was personal and family oriented. The ring was bared in a locked case by a secret agent wearing shades! Hilarious! The reception hall was decorated with Rachael's favorite animal, the frog :) I was so thankful to be there to celebrate with her and her family. 

After we saw the bride and groom off, I spent some quality time at a cabin with Jen Marks, Meg Griwac and Katie Gard. Monica Filman needed to head home, otherwise she might have stayed with us. We were able to just hang out and catch up on each others' lives. We asked silly and hard questions while the rain pounded down outside. We were cozy, and very tired. It had been a long week for them preparing for the wedding, so they had earned a good rest. The time we had together was such a blessing. 

Camping with Ruth and Sam

Ruth, Sam and I planned a little get together for the 4th of July weekend. We camped in Guthrie Center, Iowa at Springbrook. Our campsite was by the creek, among trees and had plenty of room for all of us to park our cars. We successfully set up our own tent and built a few fires! I brought my new little brill to grill some hot dogs and buns. We also had a fire pit where we roasted marshmallows and threw in little smoke bombs to celebrate our country's birth. Sparklers were our favorite way to celebrate! We put them in our empty bottles to make them look like lamps haha! I had my first experience catching lightning bugs/ fireflies! I had never seen so many in my life. They were enchantingly beautiful bobbing around the creek...On our little hike we picked up some snails whom we named and created soap opera-type scenarios as to how they all were related :) That was our perfect first day...

We awoke to rain, rain and more rain...so we took the hour drive to Des Moines and the Jordan Creek Mall. It was more fun to be dry in there than to be soaked outside. We explored creative shops like Teavanna, toy stores and the huge Sheills with two-story tree inside. So you could argue that we got some outdoors experience there :) 

Since the rain had not stopped by the time we returned and there was a strong chance of a storm coming, we packed up our campsite and checked into a nearby motel. The woman at the desk was, at first, very suspicious of us. She grilled us with some questions about how old we were and such, but when I told her that we had come from the campsite and didn't want to get caught in the storm, her attitude lightened considerably! She gave us the room closest to where we had parked. We felt bad about bringing all our muddy things into the room but we found something that no one expected...a pair of socks that had been kicked off in the night by the previous sleeper...EWWWWW! So that was the bed we set up the tent on. Didn't feel guilty at all for doing that. We just hope the owners would change the sheets then! We slept in our sleeping bags on the other bed. We played Nertz till we passed out. The next morning we had breakfast outside on my picnic blanket. Since Ruth had announced her move to Colorado, it was a sad parting for us...but not without the hope of a visits in the future. 

Those are my adventures so far, but more are sure to come! I'm still actively looking for a job. Just need to figure out where the Lord is leading me.

Coming Up: My Movie Review Special!    

Blessings to you all,