Bloomington: What Exactly is There?

As predicted in my first post, Bloomington is a quintessential college town. Because I was there during the summer break, it was apparently a sleepy college town, as well.

Apparently, a lot of the places I frequented (way too many independent coffee shops, of which the town has in abundance) would have hard-to-find seats once school was in session. Although I was on a trip, I was still working, so I would wake up early and knock off a coffee place or other eatery on my list where I would set up my work station for the day. I soon became pretty comfortable with getting around on foot.

So comfortable, in fact, that I overdid it my second full day there and got blisters. Three of them. Needless to say, I wasn’t so enthusiastic to walk everywhere after that. See, I collect those Starbucks collectible cups so wherever I go, I try to find one to take back as a souvenir. I’m not much of a souvenir/shopping person, but I like those cups. Plus, they end up being my smoothie cup in the morning so it’s also practical, which is a must. I found a Starbucks on the west edge of campus but they didn’t have it so they said the ones on the eastern outskirts of campus may. It was only a rough 40 minute walk, plus the summer I was experiencing wasn’t as hot as Houston’s. I was confident I could do it!

I did… But I arrived looking (and feeling) like I ran a marathon. Long story short: I sweat easily and I had a backpack with all my work things and my 7-lb laptop. Either way, the highlights:

  • The campus itself is beautiful and very nature friendly. There’s a patch of woods right in the middle that there are trails that you can walk through. Other than that, there’s also an ‘arboretum’ on the north side.
  • They have awesome animals. And darn those chipmunks (which remind me of hamster-squirrel hybrids because this was my first time seeing them in person… no similarities with Alvin whatsoever) – I could never get a photo of them!
  • I love looking at the architecture. I just love old buildings.
  • The amount of independent coffee shops there was awesome. I LOVE INDEPENDENT COFFEE SHOPS.
  • Other than campus which is situated right next to downtown, home to some of the more popular eateries, there isn’t much else in the city.
  • There’s a small mall southeast of campus that I walked to after my Starbucks trek… and I continued past that once I walked through it (it’s rather small) to the Kroger.
  • Their Kroger rocks. They have a soil plot where you can pick your mushrooms. I love that mushroom plot and was intensely sad that I couldn’t buy any because I had no kitchen to call my own at the time.
  • There is a Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center about a 20 minute drive from campus! I may make a separate post on that.
  • Most of the ethnic items are on the north side of town near the main library. There’s also a boba stand, to my surprise. However, there’s a specific street to the west of campus where there are Korean, Chinese, Indian, and Tibetan restaurants all lined up together, which I found interesting.

Like I said: small town.

Even so, I found that I enjoyed my morning walks to wherever I was going. It was definitely an escape and I did a lot of walking… but because there wasn’t much to do in terms of entertainment when I wasn’t working, I would be thinking of the next eatery to try out. Basically, I didn’t quite lose any weight. It was nice to be able to explore one part of the US at a time.

And perhaps it’s a good thing there weren’t too many things to do or else I wouldn’t have gotten any work done, haha.

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