Sunday, August 18, 2013

Good Night, and Good Yuck

To the reader: due to our policy of limiting blogging about the Yale program, we've censored Josh's blog post today to make sure that no secrets of global, continental, national, statal (we invented this word), countial (this word was invented as well), and municipal importance were revealed ala Snowden and Assange. Enjoy.
Sincerely, the Controlling Ivy Administration (CIA)

And so it ends.

The United Kingdom crew in our Yale weekend simulation.
After a fourteen day global experience of a lifetime at Yale, our Ivy League Connection cohort reached the finish line, finishing together. My favorite part was when that one person did an undescribable chicken act at the talent show and I loved Matt Lyndon's comments on leadership ethics and baldheadedness. I had stayed up till 4 AM on Thursday night/Friday morning saying my goodbyes, so it was a little bittersweet to wake up in my lightly stuffy dorm room for the last time. The sadly humorous reality of meeting so many people on the last day put in lots of reflective blog-ready thoughts on blah and more blah and even more blah for the early morning sun. I quickly took a shower and headed out, hoping to grab breakfast while my roommate Isaiah got ready. I bumped into Damian on the way, who was on his way to Starbucks.  We gathered up a posse of Global Scholars for the last time, along with Isaiah, and strutted through the iron gates of Jonathan Edwards College, wondering how many card swipes we had left. One mocha, meeting, conversation, slow-moving mini mob, and run-in with Tracey later; we walked back inside, getting our stuff together.

Even in the middle of the night, we're still meeting people
from all over the world.
We held off on checking out till the very end and headed down to Downtown Yale to pick up our Yale souvenirs. As we made our purchases, the man asked us, "Did you guys have fun?" As teenagers who were crazy enough to write numerous essays, participate in many different lectures and seminars, present a policy proposal and get attacked, meet people from 45 different countries, and get just enough sleep to get by, we of course answered, "Yeah!" Those insane WCCUSD kids.

The next half hour mirrored the ends of all the other amazing things I was able to do this summer: it was once again time to say goodbye. With suitcases in hand and our other arm wrapped around our new friends in Grand Strategy and on staff (and looking for the rest of our cohort), we walked out for the last time.

One Amtrak ride later (and chicken parmesan at the Temple Cafe), we were back in the beautiful city of Providence, RI and back in the luxurious rooms of Hotel Providence! I use the word "luxurious" to describe the mindset I had going in. Damian and I walked down the long hallway of floor 3 and stopped at the Robert Frost suite. I could not believe my incredible luck to get a suite twice, so of course, it was then that I realized that our room was the one next door. We opened up to find a regular double room with a blood-stained towel and a view of charred bricks. So much for luxurious, right? But after two weeks in a stuffy room with my mini fan blowing and the windows open, the air conditioning felt like a little slice of heaven. 

Lobster and crab cakes
Josh's entree
We decided to close out our last night on the East Coast with a bang. I Yelped Providence out (as the resident foodie of the group) to decide as a cohort on The Capitol Grille. After a realization that a) attire was supposed to be dressy and b) a communication error had led to Tracey not knowing we were ready, we headed out. The restaurant was only two blocks away, so it was only one block away when we realized that we were, in fact, lost. Again. We all GPSed and mapped it out and still managed to have no idea where the restaurant was. Thankfully, I called them - twice - and they guided us onto a street and into a plaza that we had missed. Go figure.

We started off with lobster and crab cakes and shrimp cocktail. The cocktail was incredibly overpriced, but the cakes were succulent and held together well. My entree was two filet medallions with lobster tail cooked in a delicious butter sauce. And if that wasn't enough, our server was kind enough to provide us with chocolate-raspberry cake and créme brulee on the house to celebrate the end of our Yale program. I love servers on the East Coast.

Deliberations for movie watching had occurred since the beginning of the trip and had continued. We all finally agreed on seeing the not-at-all-long-awaited Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, based on the far superior book by Rick Riordan. After seeing the first one, which strayed from the book and took itself way too seriously, I had only been coerced into agreeing due to the presence of Nathan Fillion, who plays the mostly funny and always charming mystery writer Richard Castle on ABC's hit show Castle. By the end, we all agreed that we had just finished - another terrible movie. The screenplay was terrible and had no depth; the acting was somewhat laughable, and the characterizations were never fully explored.  The visual effects looked like their team had been paid in chewing gum and the vast majority of the jokes fell as flat as the chewing gum that the visual effects team had spit out and stepped on the sidewalk. The only brightsides were Nathan Fillion as Hermes and an acknowledgement of the effort to try to teach Greek mythology to audiences in a fun way. Unfortunately, as one reviewer said, and I paraphrase, they took all the bad elements of a hypothetical Harry Potter film and put them in this sham of an imitation of a popular novel that managed a balance between humor and mythology.

After our enjoyable evening, we walked back through the slightly more busy streets of Providence. Damian and I would stay up recording important videos that night and sleep till 10:45 AM.

I found a place called Local 121 a block away from our hotel, so we headed there for our last meal on the East Coast. It reminded me of an Elevation-66 (El Cerrito) experience, and had amazing service as well. My sparerib sandwich with sauteed mushrooms, kale, and Applewood smoked bacon was incredibly rich in flavor and texture, although it was a little salty. Our server was incredibly charming and friendly, so it reinforced that positive East Coast server culture!

I'm sure you're wondering: so what exactly happened at Yale? Why didn't Josh go into more detail on goodbyes, or the program, for that matter? I wonder myself. Check back in a couple days for recaps and reflections on everything that happened while studying Grand Strategy. It would be nice to say that the late nights and intense gobs of homework handouts would finally be ending, but then one realizes that the school year and college application process starts Tuesday. It never ends.
Our hasty apparel picture taken at the airport quickly before Damian had to leave. Emphasis on hasty.
Send me feedback by commenting below and emailing And for a more intimate look at my Yale experience, follow me on Instagram @joshthebosh to see a more visual Ivy League Connection.


My Last Two Days on the East Coast

       The last two days have been very different from anything I’ve experienced thus far on the trip. You’ll have to excuse the length of this blog, primarily its short length. All in all, the sixteenth and today, the seventeenth, have been relatively boring.
            The one noteworthy thing that did happen these past few days was that I bid farewell to all the friends I had made while with the Yale Young Global Scholars Program. Ryan, Alex, Metincan, Tyler, Kevin, Ayano, Silin, Yi, and Abby are just of the few people I can call friend that I made during this program. I will miss them all greatly but will keep in touch so we don’t drift apart. They were a pleasure to work and study with, not to mention that I loved picking their brains on what they thought about world problems or national issues. Everyone is a bit different, and I loved learning how their minds work. I will miss the directors, the instructors, and the seminar leaders. I don’t know who I won’t miss but I will never forget what everyone taught me. I thank them all very much.
             After saying our goodbyes to our friends, my cohort and I left to go shopping for souvenirs and lunch. The food was good and I hope that my friends and family back home enjoy all of the souvenirs I got for them. We then hitched a train ride back to Providence, Rhode Island and found one of our friends from the program, Eloka, waiting to catch a train to Newark and then a plane to London. It was nice to see him again and say see you later one final time. I hope he is doing well right not. We then checked into our hotel, and then went out for dinner and a movie. The food was very nice and the movie Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters was okay. But that is basically the sixteenth in a nut shell. Now although I usually post picture of the food we eat, this time I won’t. I feel like logging every single thing we eat is a bit repetitive.
            Then there was today. Today has about the same substance, but is a bit more relaxed. I got up at eight o’clock this morning, got ready, and relaxed until twelve fifteen this afternoon when we had to go downstairs for checkout. Everyone slept in, which is what we all needed after two weeks of working hard. We then went out for our final meal on the East coast called Local 121. The food was fantastic. I had a zucchini gazpacho soup which was a bit bitter for my taste, but the pasta I had was very good. Eric didn’t have the room to finish the other half of his sandwich, so I finished it for him and man did I mess up in my entre choice. His sandwich had beef, kale, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions that went so well together. The onions complemented the beef to create a sandwich that melted in your mouth.
            After we lunch we caught a cab to the airport and flew to Chicago.We waited on the tarmac for a while and then flew to SFO. After we landed, my parents and sister greeted me and I was elated to see them. I was officially home. We had some pupusas, a Latin American food, to celebrate and got to experience my homes weather again. I missed it, but couldn't wait to see my grandmother. I am so glad to be home yet sad I won't be at the program. But all good things must come to an end.
            But before I let you go, I know you want to know what happened during the class. Well, as much as I would have liked to have blogged it as it happened, we were swamped with classes, seminars, and simulations from nine thirty o’clock in the morning to nine o’clock at night. Then from nine at night to midnight, we had to work on our group Marshall Briefs, additional essays, or seminar readings. There was just no time. But in my reflective blog, I will do my best to do, from memory, to give you a day by day account of what transpired. Goodnight.