Monday, July 16, 2012

A better introduction to Bloomington

Chris has been to Bloomington, Indiana, a total of three times now.  This was my second trip.  I wasn't very impressed with the city the first time I visited.  I had not veered much from the simple route to get from our hotel to the University.  That particular route takes you through a rather run-down neighborhood.  It wasn't unsafe (as tested by Chris when he walked back to the hotel, alone at 10 o'clock at night, with his trombone on his back), but the houses were unkept and yards were left wild.  This was back in March, and there just wasn't any green anywhere.  It just seemed so dead and sad.  I was not excited to make this move.

However, the time came for us to actually find a home.  We decided to make a long weekend trip so that we could view both privately owned homes for rent and large apartment complexes.  Because of the length of the trip, it made more financial sense to camp at the nearby Hoosier National Forest than to rent a hotel.  As it turned out, it wasn't the smartest physical choice in the 100+ degree heat and torrential downpours, but it left us enough room in our budget to indulge in air-conditioned activities and restaurant meals when it was too hot or wet to be at a campfire.

This time, Bloomington was just that, in bloom!  Trees were green, grass was brown (they've suffered from the same heat and drought we have in Wisconsin), and it was certainly summer.  We explored greater parts of the city in our efforts to find housing and on the recommendation of perfectly helpful strangers.

We visited Bloomingfoods Co-op (this is like Outpost Foods in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), and ate our lunch in their courtyard.  We spied the Farmer's Market just down the block and found enough to entertain the kids on any other day (that wasn't 107ºF).

Visiting the Bloomington Farmer's Market
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We spent a lot of spare time in our tent at the campsite because it rained! We've been waiting so long in Wisconsin to hear the thunder, but it came to us in Bloomington, exactly when we didn't want it!  The kids did well with it though.  They know how to entertain themselves anywhere we go.

Making the best of tent time!
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When things finally cleared up, we got a little crazy with our campfood.  We hadn't been able to start a fire due to the extreme humidity and constant rain for 2 days, so we had unconventional meals, like macaroni and cheese for breakfast, with s'mores as appetizers!  The kids enjoyed making royal messes of themselves.  But, if you can't get messy while camping, where else are you supposed to do it?!  (In the "dirt makes me cuter" t-shirt day, Miriam sports a swollen eye because a bee stung her right on the eyelid!)

The Little Piggies!
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We found a home, and, per our usual house-hunting style, it was the first home we looked at.  I'm pretty excited that it offers a yard, many younger children in the area, and very cool landlords.  Chris will have a bit of a longer trek to the University than with the other options, but I'm confident we can find a solution for him.  I can't wait to show you pictures after we've moved in and sorted ourselves out!

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