Last summer, I went on a trip to the Mid-West. You’re probably wondering, “Why? There is absolutely nothing there”. Well, I thought that as well. I still do. But, I went to go visit someone, who is very special to me (or maybe, my memories). I guess when you go to a town that is empty, and blazing hot, it isn’t so dull when you’re with someone who makes you laugh. Nevertheless, this post is long overdue and a way of closure. Warning: This is not so much of a travel guide but a memoir of a fantastic weekend.
Well, let us start the journey. Upon arrival at the airport, I realized there was abundant of people coming in and out of the city. From tourists to businessman, everyone was scrambling to the nearest exit or gate. I had my arrival perfectly planned to be an hour after this special someone gets off work. For the sake of this story, his name is Jake. Jake wasn’t answering his text. However, I assumed it was because he was working a little bit late. I waited about an hour before he could run to his car, make it pass the hectic traffic and pick me up. When I finally stepped outside of the automatic doors, a massive wave of heat hits my face. You can almost feel your face burning and slowly tanning.
Jake is a college student and was subletting near his university. His apartment is above a movie theater and a bowling alley. Next door and at the very summit of the three-level garage is a swimming pool. We spent most of our time baking in the swimming pool and playing water basketball. Now, in New York City, most pools don’t have a basketball. So, pool basketball was novel for me. I was afraid that I would quickly become bored of playing basketball in the pool, I felt like I could’ve spent years watching Jake jump into the pool, and dunking the water-filled basketball.
One of the highlights of the trip is the City Museum. I apologize for not providing ample photos from the adventure. However, I was too busy having fun. Do not forget to just enjoy the moment when you’re having fun, instead of spending all your time seeing things from behind the lenses. The City Museum is an interactive museum consisting of reused and reconstructed architectural and industrial objects. The museum is full of hidden and unexplored areas, twist and turns of slides, and heights of stairs. If you’re in for an adventure of climbing and sliding, then get your long sleeves and long pants ready. Each part of the museum is themed and full of different activities.
The first floor consists of an elaborate tree house that connected to a sea-themed playground with subterranean paths. The playground led to the “Enchanted Caves” and a ten-story slide. I felt like a child going up and down the tree house, finding little-cramped areas in the caves to hide. The staircases to the ten-story slide were small and full of spirals, but worth the trip.
On the third floor, you’ll find the Circus Harmony. As you can imagine, it is a circus themed. Right next to it is the Skateless Skate Park. The park is an exact replica of a skate park, with a wooden ramp everywhere you looked. Honestly, if I could skate, then I would’ve brought my board. But, I don’t. At this park, you’ll find a rope that you can swing on from one side of the ramp to the other side. It was a rope-swinging experience minus the forest, birds, and the large lake.
At the very top, you’ll find a large ramp to run on and then slide down. Above that are a Ferris wheel and an even longer slide, which leads to a pond that has a stepping stone. Next to the ramp and the wheel is a free-standing aluminum dome. If you sat in the seats placed in the dome, then you can actually hear your voice echo and the conversation of the people around you, almost as if they were whispering right next to your ear. I am terrified of heights, yet, Jake managed to motivate me to climb an enclosed metal ladder that ran along the circumference of the dome and to the top of it. Overall, the City Museum is full of playful activities, but definitely physically active activities.
Speaking of heights, Jake brought me to the very top of his university’s library. I must say, this was definitely the peak of my life. He climbed the library entrance door to a window, opened it and disappeared into the dark. Later, he opens the side entrance door, and we walked up flights of stairs. From climbing on walls to rails and lifting each other up, we finally reached the very top of the library. The night sky above with stars beaming and bats circling around the tower clock. The most perfect and fearless night with a hint of a midsummer breeze.
Another hit near St. Louis is the Elephant Rocks State Park. It is a public recreation place, ideally for family picnics/hike and a romantic stroll through the mountains. The park is named Elephant Rocks because at the summit is a string of large granite boulders that resembles a train of “pink circus elephants.” There are abundant of sight to see, heat to absorb, and rocks to climb. Once again, it is a test of my fear: heights. However, with Jake around, I felt fearless and tempted to do everything I shouldn’t. At the very top, you’ll find Dumbo, the largest elephant rock, and weighing 680 tons! There was a mile Braille Trail in the park, filled with kids roaming around behind their families and passed through a quarry pond.
St. Louis is full of gluten-free food: pizza, sushi, and barbecue. If you’re in for some low-key bars and amazing wings, then St.Louis is the place to be. It’s serene, quiet and with the right person, romantic. I want to talk more about the emotional connection that developed and ended with Jake, but it hurts too much. Every time I think about the drive to the airport, the conversation of “What are we? What are we doing? Where are we going from here” and the final goodbye, my heart cracks a little more and releases tears from my eyes. In case you’re wondering, we still talk on a daily basis as friends. Nevertheless, I still think about what we could’ve been if our circumstances had been different. Yet, remember: