Thursday, August 1, 2013

New To New Haven

Today was quite interesting. Eric and I woke up at 7:40 AM. Don sent us an email saying that our "security camera" was neither a light nor a camera, but a heat sensor. We headed down to the lobby at 8:30 AM. We then met with Ms. Tiffani Neal, the chaperone for Brown. 

The plan for the day was to visit the Brown campus and tour it. She drove us to Brown University, where we had our breakfast. We then had the tour. This tour was student run like the "Hahvahd" tour, but was a lot more information and college based. Our tour guide was an energetic woman named Jordan who is majoring in sociology and pre-med, which struck me as a bit odd. She took us around the campus and talked about the academia, courses, teachers, and history of Brown University. The campus is absolutely beautiful. The buildings looked very nice, there was a lot of grass, some trees, and a lot of space. This time, we actually got to go inside two lecture halls, not one, but two! 

After our tour we had an information session with a student and an admissions officer. The admissions officer spoke of Brown and its academia and what sets it apart from other schools. One thing that really stood out to me was their "Open Curriculum." What that means is that they allow students build their own skeleton and give their students freedom of choice in what classes they want to take. To ensure that students don't stray from a major, which they declare at the end of sophomore year, they have counselors guide the students. But at Brown, you often see students try out very many different classes and oftentimes they will major in two completely different things, like Jordan does, and this is all because of their "Open Curriculum," which encourages students to try new things; this has peaked my interest. Students can even create their own major! Other things that interested me were their clubs, especially their acapella clubs and their study abroad program, which includes 160 different programs.
A statue made of metal, but made to look like it's made of tin foil, in one of Brown University's many green areas.
After our tour, we met up with the Brown group who are taking the Women and Leadership course. Two of the girls came and took us to their cafeteria, where we met the rest of the group. The food was okay, I thought their hamburger patties were really dry, but their chicken was juicy and seasoned very well. Eric and I sat with two of the girls and talked about the horrible heat wave last week, what their course was about, and how people in their area had no idea what a male feminist is or what a misogynist is. I was really shocked. The girls also said that there was a protest against the LGBT community in Providence also. Up to today I have now had several instances of culture shock. In the Bay Area, as most can imagine, there are many who support the feminist movement and the LGBT community, though there will always be those who are against one or the other or both.
The Kim Koo library at Brown University and its collection of political books.
The Kim Koo himself, as a bust.
After our little meet and greet we took a group photo outside the Brown cafeteria. After the photo, Ms. Tiffani drove the five us back to our hotel and then showed us a shorter way to the mall. We passed through the Providence Omni Hotel on our way. The mall was really big and there were more people than I expected. I thought that an empty city would have an empty mall, but it was quite the contrary. When we got to the top of the mall, the four of us, Eric, Liam, Ms. Tracey, and myself, had some ice cream. I guess Josh didn't want any. I got a vanilla cone and it was delicious. The vanilla was sweet and the cream was rich. 

After some walking the group returned to our hotel where we gathered our bags and took a taxi to the train station. We were about an hour and a half early for our train so we sat down and waited. At around the 4:00 PM, we went to board the train. The train stopped twice, the first time I thought we were at New Haven. I looked out the window and thought, "My God! New Haven is hideous!" What I saw was a city with a few large building with broken windows in front of a marsh. I thought we were about to get off, but the doors never opened. Apparently the train was only waiting for another train to pass us. The train ride was about 2 hours and we got to the Omni in New Haven at about 6:00 PM. After seeing part of the city I said to myself, "Well, this is better than the first New Haven that I saw." This time, Josh and I decided to room together.
The Brown II group with the Yale group
The room that Josh and I are staying in.
The beautiful lobby of the Omni Hotel in New Haven.
After we unloaded our luggage the five of us went down to the lobby to decide what we would have for dinner. Tonight we decided on French cuisine. We went to a restaurant called the Union League Cafe. Inside looked really expensive and the people inside made me feel under-dressed  On the front it said the dress code was casual, but everyone who ate inside was dressed in suits and dresses, while I was in a hooded T-shirt and shorts. 

We walked in and Eric and I decided to practice our French a bit. He and I ordered our meals in French. I ordered the appetizers, we decided on the octopus and froie gras. Eric ordered the mushrooms and gnocchi, I had the lamb with croquettes, Liam had the lamb, Tracey had the striped bass, and Josh had the steak. The meal was delicious. Everyone loved the octopus, it was very soft and had a nice sauce with it. I liked the froie gras a lot too, it wasn't as pretty as the octopus, but it tasted very nice. The lamb was very well seasoned and it was tender. The presentation was gorgeous as well. I have never had a lamb that was this good. For dessert, I had a white cheese mousse with a berry filling. Josh and Eric had the hot and cold espresso mousse and Liam had the Decadence. I tasted my dessert and couldn't believe it! I have never had a dessert like this at all! It was a bit salty and and very sweet, the berry filling was the right amount of sweet and sour, and the dessert itself was very fluffy and light. After dinner we walked back to our hotel. I don't know if people have noticed, but we tend to get lost very often. Today was no different. On our way back to the hotel we walked a bit too far and passed our turn. Thankfully, right before we got to the bad side of town, Tracey said that she was unfamiliar with this place and said that our turn should have been two blocks ago. We turned around and headed back to our hotel.
The froie gras.
The octopus
The lamb called, Carre D'Agneau Roti, along with the corn croquettes.
My dessert,the Schuss Cerise-Pistache.
Tomorrow we will visit NYU and tour New York City. I have always wanted to see New York City. I can't wait!

1 comment:

  1. Ah...the joy of froie gras. I hope you enjoyed it while you could, Damian, since it’s outlawed in California now. The process of force feeding the geese to enlarge the liver is considered inhumane and thus a crime.

    Thanks for including the group photo--you know how much I love group photos of our ILCers.

    One thing you didn’t really touch on here, Damian, is when you ordered your meals in French, did you get what you thought you were ordering?