Traveling to Minnesota!

If I have learned one thing in life, it is that family conquers all. Family is what gets you through the ups and downs, family is what molds you into the adult you become.

This past long weekend has been incredible, to say the least. Kayli, Mom, Dad, and I packed up our bags to head to the great state of Minnesota, specifically Minneapolis where we would meet up with Mom’s side of the family for our fifth family reunion. My cousin Bryan began this family tradition of coming together after realizing that the family wasn’t seeing each other as often as we should and he couldn’t have been more right. As a collection of individuals extremely family oriented, this was the best decision for all of us.

Our first reunion was at Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina, the second was at my cousin Brett’s wedding in Michigan, the third was in Telluride, Colorado (the best state if I do say so myself), and the fourth reunion was at my cousin Bryan’s wedding in North Carolina on the beach. All of the reunions have been full of various water and land adventures, new family additions, and beautiful memories made.

We began our trip frantically running to make our flight in time and after boarding, we landed and had to wait an hour at 8pm on the tarmac. Thanks Spirit for nothing, not even water. In fact, the wait got to be so bad that the other passengers started chanting “free drinks” and the flight attendants (looking genuinely terrified) attempted to calm the crowds with puns they looked up on Google such as “what do you call a cow without legs?…..ground beef”. They got a few eye rolls and some groans of dissatisfaction. Spirit, at least you tried.

When we arrived to the hotel, I felt as though I was entering a new (very blue) world as we walked into the lobby. While I unfortunately made the mistake of deleting the one picture I had of the lobby, I can only explain it as extravagant and well, incredibly blue. Part of the hotel’s name was “blu” (yep, no “e”, that’s not a typo) after all. We met up with the family and wandered around, got some overpriced but very tasty bruschetta, and scoped out a vacant Mall of America! Given that it was about 10pm at the point, everything was closed but our hotel was directly connected to the mall which was pretty cool. I thought since I’m really not a shopping, mall type of gal that the Mall of America wouldn’t be all that interesting but once I saw that they had a Chipotle, it was basically love at first sight from there on out. Throughout the entirety of the trip which included various wanderings throughout the mall, I only bought two things and that was Chipotle on the second day and some pasta from a European street food style restaurant on the last day… if that’s not completely me, then I don’t know what is. There were over 500 stores in the Mall of America and I chose to buy a burrito and some noodles, way to go Kianna!

On the second day, we went to the Walker Art Center and perused the very large sculpture garden in the lawn in front of the museum. We saw a variety of extraordinarily  large objects ranging from the classic “Spoonbridge with Cherry” to a blue rooster the size of an SUV known as “Hahn/ Cock” by Katharina Fristch. The sculpture garden also had a large cottonwood tree covered in wind chimes that had every note of a composition by a composer whose name I have forgotten. My apologies but remembering names is not my forte. The tree was incredible though and as the wind picked up, it sang louder.

(While I am assumed to be technologically savvy because of the generation that I am in, I somehow managed to delete some of the pictures from the trip, including the blue rooster, so I guess that assumption has proven to be incorrect. Google it I suppose.)

The picture is deceiving and that while it may appear cloudy and cool, it was mid 80’s and far too humid for this Colorado girl so we decided to head inside pretty quickly before any of us got too heat stricken and hangry. Once inside, some of the group split off to get some lunch and the other group, including myself, went on to look at the exhibits. At the time that we were visiting, all 7 levels were dedicated to a choreography exhibit by a man whose name I quite honestly completely forgot. My group started on level 7 where there was a lone interactive nature exhibit on one side of the floor that included my favorite things: coloring pictures and…well, coloring pictures. It turned out to be quite interesting though. The way it worked was that the room was completely dark and all around the room, on the floors and the walls, were various animals and plants that were being projected from the ceiling. These animals and plants were colored in by everyone who came into the exhibit so, once you finished coloring you butterfly or flower for example, you would scan it and it would be projected onto the floor somewhere. The image would then proceed to come to life and fly around on the ground and travel around the room and if you stepped on it, it would burst into projected colors and would eventually turn into a clump of flowers. It was quite an amazing exhibit and while I am probably being very confusing in trying to describe it, just know that it was pretty dang cool.

We then moved on to the choreography exhibit/ the rest of the museum and while I am quite a fan of contemporary and abstract art, I was not that impressed with this exhibit quite frankly. The entire exhibit consisted of various nude and rainbow colored leotards that the dancers had worn and various screens showing old fashioned videos of dancers dancing in ways that made them seem, how’s the best way to describe this….possessed? I know that seems harsh but with the eery music that clashed with different eery music, it made the whole thing seem quite creepy. The dancers would stare into the camera and work their bodies to look contorted and twitchy and while I understand that this probably takes a great deal of strength and bodily control, I couldn’t really find a meaning to the art form. My family members were just as confused and slightly disturbed as I was. We were quick to move on to something a bit more fun and lighthearted, finding a waterfall!

After the museum, we drove to a fairly large park where there was a supposed waterfall? I was surprised when someone said we’d be seeing a waterfall because when I looked around, all I saw was industrial buildings and skyscrapers but when we reached the park, we went down a series of stone steps and voilá, waterfall! The waterfall was called Minnehaha falls (which Kayli and I thought was a “large haha” name) was huge and it appeared to be this hidden little paradise in the green lush of something resembling a jungle somehow in the middle of the city.

 

I then proceeded to question Mom on the likelihood of living if I wanted to kayak it and she said that I’d probably be fine but that inner-tubing it wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do. Time to put it on the bucket list!

Fast forward to the third day of the Sherrick Shindig where a few of the ladies and I went to the Stone Bridge festival! It was a beautiful day of full sunshine and when we arrived, the place was packed with people all along the long streets lined with vendors with everything from fresh Kettle popcorn to elaborate paintings and henna tattoos, seaglass jewelry, and portraits of Prince.

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The street in the picture above was all cobblestone and lined the Mississippi River with the Stone Bridge in the background. This was the calm before we were immersed in the masses of people. We spent a couple hours looking around and then headed off to my cousin Justin’s new house!

At Justin’s, we had a very tasty lunch and we all got to catch up, enjoy the nice day, and really revel in the fact that much of our beautiful family was here, smiling, laughing, and radiating love.

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Sadly this was our last day but the entire trip, like all of the others, have made me really appreciate of the family I have and the closeness that we all share, despite being on opposite ends of the country. My love for this family runs deep and through life, as we grow older and sometimes further apart, I know that despite the many miles that may divide us, they are always with me as I am always with them. What an incredible power that is.

Kayli would probably think that the following picture is completely necessary to put in so this is for you sis.

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Yup, our hotel had literal butt chairs.

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