Nathan and I went to Cleveland, Ohio this past week. I am extremely pleased to tell you that we are not only back, but alive. I have to say, I have been in a lot of downtown big cities in my life, many of which are known for having their "scary areas": Vancouver, Victoria, Kamloops in Canada, Rome and Venice in Italy, Houston, Dallas, Salt Lake City, New York City, San Francisco, Rochester, Atlanta, and Ogden in the U.S., and a few in Mexico that I can't remember the names of to name a few, but I have never been in a place like this. I thought Beaumont and West Valley were the ghettos. I was wrong. None of these cities hold a candle to Cleveland. I was terrified. Completely terrified. I am so glad that we left the kids with Nathan's parents. They would have been one more thing to worry about as we traveled around the scariest city in the world. Nathan thinks I'm overreacting, but I'm sure that any girl would feel the same way I did. And Nathan has to admit that there were times when he knew we were in the ghetto and times when he understood why I took my rings off and hid them.
What makes this really interesting is that there is a church every ten feet in Cleveland. One we noticed is called "The 4 Real Church." Yeah. Does anything else really need to be said on that subject?
Months ago, before we even planned our trip out there, we emailed a couple in Cleveland Heights and asked about buying homes, renting apartments, the schools, etc. The couple was listed on the Case Western (the school Nathan will be attending come August) website as trying to sell their house. We liked the house (and at the time thought it would be in our price range, then we looked into the property taxes and realized we would not be buying a house). Anyway, we contacted them with a bunch of questions. They were totally wonderful and helpful. They offered to let us stay at their house for our trip and everything. Then when we found out we would be coming during their spring break and they would be gone, they left their car for us and their house. It was awesome!
We did find an apartment-- not in Cleveland thank goodness. It is in Shaker Heights, a nice safe neighborhood. We also live very close to the police department, so if anything was to go wrong, they are only about 100 yards away. There is also a library very, very close to us that has a playground and the library has a drop-in story time and also a drop-in time for what they call "Grow and Learn." They have a special play room for kids to paint, draw, color, play games, read, all kinds of stuff, and then they have another room where younger kids (infant to 18 months can crawl on big soft-play blocks.
A financial aid person at Case Western gave me a list of things to do in Cleveland. The list is geared toward moms who need to get out of the house so they don't go crazy with their kids. Unfortunately, I left it in my luggage which is still in Cleveland. I'll explain in a moment.
Other than looking at apartments in really scary neighborhoods, Nathan and I did do quite a bit of sight-seeing. Since we had this family's car to drive around in, we figured we'd go to Kirtland and do a bit of Church history sight-seeing. It was amazing! I'd done the tour years and years ago with my college roommates, and then years and years and years before that with our YM/YW group in the Stake, but this time around was so much better. After doing the typical Whitney store, sawmill, and temple (the Community of Christ now charges a $2/person restoration fee and why they need to charge that when our Church is in charge of the temple restoration and grounds, I don't know and I won't go into it here because there were many things that bugged me, but I am stopping now) we then went to the John Johnson Farm. This is where the Prophet Joseph Smith was dragged from his bed in the middle of the night and tarred and feathered. Nathan and I got to stand on the front steps of the house where he preached the next morning. We got to go on the tour with a set of sister missionaries who were new to the area (we'd actually met them the day before while doing the Kirtland stuff-- it was their transfer day).
We also went to various malls (some of which were a disappointment), parks, to the lake (since Cleveland is next to Lake Erie), and the quarry where stone for the temple was quarried. We also took lots of pictures of houses there that I liked. Some of the architecture there is very different from other cities I've been to and so I thought I'd take pictures so I can remember what I like from them.
Here are some pictures from our trip.
Outside the N.K. Whitney Store
Nathan skipping rocks in Lake Erie
On the front steps at the John Johnson Farm
The outside of our apartment building (we are on the far right side).
You enter our apartment . . . notice the half-bath. The doorway on the right leads into the dinning room and then the kitchen. There is a storage closet on the left, you may be able to spy the door knob on the left edge.
View from the entryway into the living room.
Hallway and entry into the full bath, our room is to the left, the kids' to the right.
From the living room, looking into the kitchen
Kitchen (there is a dishwasher next to the sink, yeah!)