Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shion in Ohio

This weekend (Sun-Tues), I went to Denison University for a fundraising conference. It's in Granville, Ohio which is about 45 minutes outside Columbus. I have to say, I didn't have very high expectations for this trip since it's in the middle of nowhere and it was a work function so I was anticipating the awkward "networking opportunities" but I was surprised by how much fun it was! I'm all about the expecting the worst and hoping for the best. I have many a pictures to share with you all - I know you were counting down the minutes until I got home...

It all started with LaGuardia Airport which is one of my least favorite airports. So not exciting. Although I had to wait 40 minutes in the security line, everything went smoothly. Phew! This was the first trip that I planned on my own (well, at least the traveling part of it...)

It's been a while since I've been on a plane so I was a bit excited and took a picture from my seat. I love cloud formations! Really - I could stare at them all day. There's something so surreal and magical about it. It really makes me feel so happy!

And thanks to my lovely friends, I had an empty seat next to me! Woot!

We arrived ahead of schedule and got to campus to check out our digs...

While the dorm rooms were small, the dorm buildings were nice and rather new. So much space in the common area - I just didn't know what to do with myself!

Denison even gave us presents! Don't you just love travel-sized things?!

I had some time to kill so I decided to take a walk around campus. Apparently, there are some buildings, including a frat house, that is part of the national historic registry or whatnot, so I made sure to check it out. I recruited a friend to come with me :) She may or may not have been less than excited about my picture-taking.

The chapel, I think

Loved this yellow building!

I definitely took advantage of this track and ran both mornings. I love tracks because they're so much nicer on the knees than concrete and you can actually gauge how far you're going. Plus, it made me feel like I actually went to a college with school spirit...

After our walk, we went to a dinner on the quad which overlooked the campus (which is really hilly and gorgeous) and then had a session with the COO of Heifer International. We then had Whit's Frozen Custard which is apparently very famous and was quite delicious. Word has it that Laura Bush was stuck in the area and had Whit's Custard and loved it so much she sent vats of it to the White House. It was pretty good - and that says a lot from a girl who doesn't really like ice cream!

The next day was filled with fundraising workshops, meals, and plenary sessions. It sounds boring but it wasn't! I met so many really great people who I had a lot of fun with.

Monday night's BIG EVENT was the Columbus Zoo which is the #1 zoo in America. I have no idea who actually designated that title but if you know me at all, you know that this is the least appealing thing EVER for me. Ah well. We had tickets to go "after hours" so that we didn't have to wait on any lines and could go see whatever we wanted.

So what did I do? Headed to the bar. Really.

Well, I did see a couple animals but only because they were on the way.

Once situated near alcohol and the lake, the rest of the conference members came and joined us for a special presentation of animals up close and personal. Joy.

The Columbus Zoo is Jack Hanna's zoo and a pretty big deal, I guess. His daughter is a Denison alumna and an employee at the zoo, so she gave us a special viewing of some of the "traveling" animals. I had no idea who Jack Hanna and because he was constantly referred to as a regular on the David Letterman Show, I thought he was a comedian or something. When his daughter came and talked to us, I was disappointed that she wasn't that funny but then someone very politely told me that he was actually a zookeeper. Oops!

This is Jack Hanna's daughter on the right.

Snow Leopards

No, these pictures weren't zoomed in, I was THAT close! There were, of course, a lot more animals on display but I stayed sitting with the rest of my table, who were all more interested in drinking than the animals. After at least four people came by our table and asked us why we were the only ones not looking at the animals, we decided that it was no longer acceptable to stay sitting so we meandered over to the viewing area just in time to see these baby snow leopards.

The evening was actually really fun - mostly due to the Claremont McKenna College fundraisers who were hilarious and knew how to tell a good story. For my next job, I'm going over there to work!

The last day (today) just consisted of a couple more fundraising sessions and then we headed home. I was a little sad to leave all of the greenery and SKY!!!

Can you believe all of this sky?! Oh, the midwest... How you intrigue me so...

This is what we left at the Ohio Airport...

An hour and a half later, this is what we came back to...

Although I will say, I never thought I would make it back to blog about this adventure. Here's why:

1) We were delayed because of thunderstorms in New York
2) The pilot said that we had to wait until we picked up more fuel in case we wouldn't be able to land (more gasoline = bigger explosion)
3) The plane was essentially a puddle-jumper
4) There were 13 passengers on the plane
5) The only flight attendant on the plane was sitting here for the whole flight:

This was taken from my seat. Yes, that is where she was sitting. With a magazine.

Anyway, I wanted to leave you with some pictures of CLOUDS!!!


  1. Glad you had a good trip! I didn't know you had an aversion to zoos...interesting tidbit.

  2. Omigod - those snow leopards are adorable!!!