St. Paul, Minnesota’s Downtown Skyway


I had never experienced downtown living until August 2012, when Jasmine and I got married and moved into an apartment in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. We found it to be a beautiful city, and really enjoyed living there. (A month ago we moved to Bowling Green, Ohio.)

Downtown St. Paul 02 - Copy

           View of downtown St. Paul from just south of the Mississippi River  (Credit: Personal photo)

Mississippi River

View of the Mississippi River and the Smith Avenue high bridge from downtown St. Paul (Credit: Personal photo)

One of the things we liked most about downtown St. Paul was its skyway system. Downtown St. Paul is relatively small, but it has five miles of skyway, all of it elevated one story above street level. It’s like a city within a city, linking 47 city blocks. Inside are two food courts, various shops, additional eating places, access to apartments and buildings, etc. (Minneapolis, by the way, has eight miles of skyway.) This map of downtown St. Paul shows the skyway routes in red:

St. Paul Skyway Map-page-0

Map Source

Winters are excessively cold in St. Paul, so having a skyway system is a great idea and a very welcome addition to the city. Please enjoy a series of photos from inside the skyway:

Skyway 01

Skyway 02

Skyway 03

Skyway 04

Skyway 05

Skyway 06

Skyway 07

In future posts, I plan to include more photos and videos from our time in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. I have plenty of organizing to do first.

**The photos above can also be viewed in a slideshow on Youtube.

Our First Wedding Anniversary (August 4, 2013)


Last Sunday, August 4th, my wife, Jasmine, and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary. I’m deeply grateful for Jasmine. Life has brought its share of challenges over the last year, including a business/ministry venture that didn’t work out (I plan to share more about that in an upcoming post), massive financial loss, and a great deal of injustice. Yet I praise God that our marriage, and our love for one another, has stood strong. We’re counting other blessings too.

July 2013

July 2013

In this post I’d like to share a number of photos, starting with our wedding day (August 4, 2012) and concluding with pictures taken on our anniversary a week ago. I hope you enjoy them.

Jasmine and I are both originally from Canton, Ohio, and that’s where we first met about 13 years ago. Although we currently live in St. Paul, Minnesota, we decided to get married just outside of Canton at a place (Camp Trinity) where we both served as camp counselors in the past. The weather cooperated well (it was 93 degrees and sunny), and we were able to have a nice outdoor wedding. Jasmine, by the way, made her dress and my outfit by hand!

Outdoor wedding

Outdoor wedding

 

Singing a duet

Singing a duet

 

Reciting Vows

Reciting our vows

 

Kiss the Bride

Kiss the bride

 

Just married

Just married

 

Newly married

Newly married

 

The wedding party was made up, on the guys’ side, of my four younger brothers and two friends, one from elementary school and one from high school. Jasmine’s two sisters, a cousin, and two friends made up the ladies’ side. We kept things low-budget for everyone, as the guys were able to wear any black pants, shoes, and socks that they already had, plus a $12 button-down shirt from Kohl’s (two of them already had it). The ladies bought matching sun dresses for $17 each, with the goal being that they could keep them and wear them for other occasions too.

Full Wedding party

The wedding party

 

The guys

The guys

 

The ladies

The ladies

 

With siblings, parents, grandparents

With siblings, parents, grandparents

 

The Wedding party

The Wedding party

 

Reception hall

Reception hall

 

Gratefully, we were able to keep the reception meal low-budget as well (We held the reception on the same campgrounds in their assembly hall). For $704, our 175 guests enjoyed chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, macaroni & cheese, cole slaw, and biscuits from KFC. Other facilities we looked at not only would have charged us at least 8-10 times as much as we paid to use the camp facility, but they also would have required us to use their catering services, which were quoted 7-12 times higher than KFC’s costs. We also served sorbet instead of a wedding cake, which was fitting for such a hot day.

Tattoo rings

We got tattoo rings before the wedding.

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On August 21st, less than two weeks from now, Jasmine and I will be moving to Bowling Green, Ohio, about 20 miles south of Toledo. Lord willing, Jasmine will take one year to finish a degree she started at Bowling Green State University. After that, we believe we will be in Columbus, Ohio. Both cities will have us 2.5 hours or less from where our families live, and also feature a lower cost of living and more tolerable winters.

We’ve enjoyed our time living in downtown St. Paul ever since we got married. One of the things we like about downtown is its placement just above the Mississippi River (we live one block away from the river). For our anniversary last week, after enjoying a buffet brunch with live jazz performances (Jasmine’s favorite kind of music), we boarded a 90-minute Padelford boat cruise on the Mississippi River.  Here are some pictures from that experience:

At the brunch buffet

At the brunch buffet

 

At the brunch buffet

At the brunch buffet

 

Boarding the boat

Boarding the boat

 

Top level of boat

Top level of boat

 

View of the River

View of the River

 

View of downtown

View of downtown

 

Straight ahead view

Straight ahead view

 

Smith Avenue High Bridge

Smith Avenue High Bridge

 

Downtown in the background

Downtown in the background

Fireworks in Saint Paul July 4, 2012


On July 1st I moved from Minneapolis to downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. (The two locations are only about 12 miles away, and are known as the Twin Cities). When my fiancee, Jasmine, and I get married in early August, we’ll live there together.

Two days ago, on July 4th, I gathered with friends just two blocks away at the Wabasha Street bridge on Kellogg Boulevard to watch the fireworks being launched on the Mississippi River. This video captures approximately the last 12 minutes of the show, including the grand finale.

I was there with a group from International Village Church, and other invited friends. We were a gathering of Bhutanese and Karen (from Myanmar) refugees, Philippinos, and Americans. Aside from our gathering, it was nice to see a very diverse crowd around us.

We came together at about 6:30pm to eat picnic-style and hang out in the midst of the heat wave that has been affecting the Midwest. The humidity never did subside all that much, even as the fireworks finally began at 10:15pm, but it was a fun evening.

This video was taken from my smartphone, which doesn’t take the best footage in the world. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it.