Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Learning Experience

A sculpture from the hotel lobby that I liked
Today was an early morning. We woke up at 6 AM, but compared to yesterday it felt like a full night's rest. Damian's alarm gently woke me, and as I opened my eyes I saw the room was already brightly lit. It was a beautiful day! After quick showers Damian and I headed down to the lobby to meet the rest of the group. We went to a local Starbucks for breakfast and headed off to the Amtrak station. Unfortunately, we got lost on the way due to a technology malfunction and had to take a later train than earlier planned. That was a minor setback however; we still made it to Harvard with time to spare.

The train ride was very pleasant. We spent the time getting to know each other better, mostly by talking about our favorite songs, movies, and TVs shows. The East Coast countryside (at least the part we saw) was much more green than California, which I personally really like. The East Coast in summer is fantastic, but that is the only way I have seen it. I would like to have a chance to visit in the thick of winter before I commit to four years at a school. As a Californian I have never experienced a whole winter of snow and freezing weather, and I worry about going to college in a place where the winters are extreme.

Harvard's Science Building. It is supposed to look like an old Polaroid
camera, since the Polaroid family donated the building.
We arrived in Boston and took the Red Line (subway) to Harvard Square. At Harvard we took the Hahvahd Tour. This is the phonetic spelling of how the local Bostonians pronounce Harvard. It was a great tour... for a tourist. As a potential applicant, however, I did not feel like the tour was that helpful. Our tour guide was energetic and funny, and she was very knowledgeable about Harvard's history, but her goal was not to sell Harvard to us as a school. We got very little information about what makes Harvard unique or special as a university (I had to look up if "a university" as opposed to "an university" was correct) and other things that I would want to know before applying, like what clubs the school has and what the surrounding area has to offer for a college students. That being said, I thought the campus was beautiful even though we only saw a small section of it on our tour. Harvard is definitely on my list of schools to apply to; it's reputation speaks for itself. However, on the chance that I do get accepted, I would want to do more research on what makes it special to make sure it is the right school for me.

The Longfellow House
After the tour we ate lunch at a local Korean restaurant. I thought the food was good, but I have only had Korean a few times before so I do not have a lot to base that on. We then headed to the Longfellow National Historic Site to take a tour. Our tour guide was a young man named Rob who was extremely knowledgeable about the house and it's inhabitants. He made the tour a really fun and informative experience. The house itself was fascinating; it contained thousands of artifacts and was preserved almost exactly how it was over a hundred years ago. Our guide made the tour about more than the house however. He made it about the people who lived in it. He explained the connections between the houses inhabitants. One being that the grandfather of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stayed in the house with George Washington during the Revolutionary War. He also told us a little about the American Literary Renaissance and how Longfellow was America's first professional poet.

Josh, who has become our unofficial culinary navigator, helped us find a restaurant called Legal Sea Foodswhere we could supposedly get some excellent seafood. It did not disappoint. I had the steak and lobster dish along with Josh and Damian. During that meal I learned something very important about myself; I do not like whole lobster. I love lobster meat, but something about seeing the entire animal laid out before me and having to take it's guts out before I ate it really ruined my appetite. Aside from that aspect I really enjoyed the meal, even the lobster. Well the meat, not the presentation.

My little friend
After we ate it was time to return to our hotel in Rhode Island. Unfortunately we had an hour of time before our train left, enough to be annoying, but not enough to do anything significant. We used the time efficiently, however, and got a lot done on our blogs. This continued on the train ride home; by the time I was back at the hotel I was almost done which was quite a relief as I am tired and looking forward to a relaxing night.

Tomorrow morning we take our tour of Brown University, which I am really excited to see. A lot of my friends did the summer program there and I look forward to seeing the place they told me so much about. Then in the afternoon we leave for New Haven and start the final part of our journey.

1 comment:

  1. Like you, Eric, the thought of disemboweling a Maine lobster is unappealing to me. I’m used to just lobster tails. Here on the left coast we rarely even get Maine lobsters. The lobster tails we get are from Mexico or Australia where the claws are not a major part of the meal.

    Still, I do love lobster meat.

    It please me to no end to read that you’re making use of your spare time to work on other things--like your blogs--to free up the time at the end of your day. Too many of our ILCers fail to heed this advice and pay for it dearly when they should be heading off to bed.

    If you’re serious about applying to Harvard, you have to let us put you in touch with Joni Hiramoto. Although Joni graduated from Kennedy High (Go Eagles), her sons attend(ed) ECHS. She’s a Hahvahd grad and is extremely popular when she attend local college fairs to sell students on Harvard. I know she’d love to give you the hard sell.