Saturday, June 18, 2011

Break Dancing Through Life

Boston is bustling with Bruins fans! There was a parade downtown for the hockey victory a couple of days ago. Sports really bring people together. Like San Francisco, there were many street performers in Boston. Break dancers spun on their heads and flipped in the air as the audience clapped their hands to their music.

We purchased passes for the subway system to get to Fenway Park. The entrance to the station is activated just by touching your ticket to a receiver. The subway is much different than the rapid transit in the Bay Area. First off, you can walk across the tracks without having to worry about the third electrical rail. Next, the subway is very slow, bumpy, and loud. Lastly, the inside of the subway cars are very crowded. Apparently, Frank had an armpit in his face, and I was sandwiched between two large Bruins fans. We used a lot of hand sanitizer after we got off.
We visited the outside of Fenway Park. There was a Red Sox game scheduled for later on in the day so many fans were in the area purchasing souvenirs and buying peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Although we were only at the park for a few minutes, the adventure there was worth it. We are now masters of the Boston subway system. We ended our adventure with some ice cream before we headed back for dinner.
Ms. Larson squeezed the Tahoe into a parking garage (we barely made it inside the tiny entrance) and Cohort #1 changed into formal attire for dinner at Radius located down the street. We were the first ones there when it opened its doors! Radius was fancy but more laid back than L’Espalier. The waiters were personable and interested in our group. The restaurant is shaped in a half circle. Their colors are red and gray. We were seated as we waited for our guest, Amy Tan (Brown Alum 2009).

Grace Yuen from our L’Espalier dinner is good friends with Amy and she told us that she was awesome. How right she was! Amy is not the author of Joy Luck Club, but she was an International Relations major at Brown University. She told us of some bizarre traditions at Brown like the Naked Doughnut Run and the graduation ceremony. During graduation, Brown alumni line up outside the university gates and cheer as the graduates parade through the crowds. Amy said that it was an emotional experience. She plans to attend more graduations to cheer on future grads. I remember Jim Sinai (from our dinner at One Market) told me about graduation as well. It seems as though Brown alumni all had a great experience in college.
I had a wonderful dinner at Radius. First, we started off with a cucumber drink and some sashimi. I guess I was feeling for raw fish tonight because I also ordered the Tuna Tartar. Before our entrees, the waiters served us a truffle and carrot combination that looked really small. I was silently questioning this appetizer until a waiter poured soup into my bowl. That made more sense.
After dinner, we chose to share desserts. We ordered an “Every Day Is Your Birthday” chocolate cake which was served to us with sparkling candles. Everyone started to sing “Happy Birthday” to me even though my birthday is July 1st. I felt the love and blew out the candles as my Brown family applauded.

Our casual day ended with a lovely formal dinner. We left Radius and said goodbye to Amy and Dave (our waiter). One more day until dorm life! We will take advantage of our sleep in the hotel beds tonight.

Blending in with the Locals

After parking in a very tight garage, we noticed that everyone was wearing a Bruins jersey, shirt or hat. The win occurred two days, so I wondered why everyone was still honoring his team and where he got his souvenir. We had missed a parade dedicated to the Bruin’s win. It was not as extraordinary as the Giant’s celebration, but it honored the Bruins well, and I wished I got to see what happened. When we finished watching some of the festivities, we made our way to our destination—Fenway Stadium.

The first experience in riding the T was getting the ticket. There was a long line to the ticket machine, since the Bruin fans began to return to their homes. Instead of getting a temporary ticket that cost more, we got the Charley Card. It turned out that a man next to the machine had to give me the Charley Card, so for five minutes I stood at the machine pressing buttons, which I later learned was not the correct way to add money to the card.

Watching as the train came to the stop, it reminded me of the BART system in the Bay Area. We boarded the train with enough room and style to put BART to shame. Later the train became so crowded, train surfing resulted in knocking over the person close to me. I heard a woman say that they could have fit more people into the train, and I was shocked, I was already pressed together with so little room how could more people get into the tiny space? If I chose MIT, I must learn the ways of the T or get lost in transportation.

Fenway was a Red Socks haven. Stores were dedicated to Red Socks and even sported a picture of the team’s insignia. Banners lined the street leading to Fenway stadium. We were lucky that we came on a day were the Red Socks had a game. The entire section of the city was dedicated to the team, and I suddenly became afraid when Erin mentioned the Yankees in the T.

Taking the T back and walking a distance, we arrived at Radius, which resembled a circle. Amy Tan was a great guest at Radius. She talked about the naked donut run, the graduation ceremony where alums greet graduating seniors and friendly fraternities. I also got to talk about myself to Amy, instead of listening and asking questions, and I think I might have frightened her with my ambition of creating my own organism from scratch. We also met Dave, whose cousin went to Brown—it just shows that Brown alums are everywhere; even the Dartmouth President was a Brown alum.

Upon coming home, the streets leading to Providence Hotel were blocked. For half an hour Ms. Larson was driving around trying to find a road that lead to our hotel. We finally had to call Providence Hotel to get directions, even then concierge had to drive us back to the hotel and move a road barrier, but we still had to walk to the hotel. This was all caused by the Gay Pride Parade that was happening in Providence, and happened to isolate our hotel from the rest of the city.

After getting to the hotel and settling in our rooms, Ms. Larson, Kathleen, Erin and I went to see the parade. Alas it did not last long, and we only got to see the tail end of the parade. The parade was a great insight to the culture at Providence and made me question what else the city had to offer.

Providence and Boston has so much culture. I want to experience all of it, and in the future, I hope I can come back to relive the experience as a Brown cohort 1. Tomorrow is when I get to experience Brown, which I have heard so much about.

What is the Radius of Fenway Park?

Today was very casual because we did not have to wake up very early and drive for hours. All of our college tours are finished except for one coming in a few weeks. We went to brunch this morning at a local restaurant called Tazza. It was quite delicious, but just this added to the essence of our leisured day. After brunch we headed to Boston. We had no real set in stone plan for the beginning of the day, but we set out anyways.

We headed to the famous Fenway baseball park. In the midst of trying to travel there was a massive parade to celebrate the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup Finals. The parade was similar in comparison to that of the San Francisco Giants parade. There was a massive influx of people throughout the city of Boston, in cars, bikes, train or regular pedestrians. We took the T train to avoid all the crowded streets, but many people obviously had the same idea because the train was jam packed. It was a good experience to take Boston’s version of BART, I felt fully emerged into the Boston culture. We arrived to Fenway but were unable to see the field. But just to see the outside and surrounding area was great. This was a real treat for me especially because I have grown up around baseball, and to see one of the world’s greatest baseball diamonds was truly special. The Boston Culture surrounding this ball park was phenomenal. I am glad that we had a day to enjoy some of Boston’s greatest attractions.

After spending time at one of Boston’s finest attractions we spent the rest of the time at one of Boston’s best restaurants, Radius. Here we were joined by Amy Tan (and no not the author) Brown alum of 2009.She was a friend of Grace, another Brown alum we had dinner with previously. She had an amazing personality and great insight into Brown and the college life. She was such a helpful person to have dinner with because she somewhat close to our age, and hence the same process she went through, we will most likely go through. I am glad that we made the connection with her because I am almost 100 percent certain this will benefit us in the near future. Radius held up to its’ standard as a great restaurant not only for its’ food but customer service as well. Because it is almost Erin Millers’ birthday we all sung happy birthday and shared a small cake.

We left Radius and headed back to our Hotel. But we ran into some troubles once we arrived to Providence. We were unaware that there was a Gay pride Parade so when we tried to drive to our hotel, all of the streets were blocked off. We eventually had to park off at a distance and walk through the crowds of spirited people back to our Hotel. Frank and I settled in and went off to bed to the sounds of the blasting music while the ladies in our group joined in the festivities for a while. I am so excited to check into my dorm tomorrow and meet some of my fellow classmates.

Day Off in Boston

Sleeping in feels so good! We had no college tours today, allowing us to sleep in until 10 AM, eat brunch, and head to Boston for a relaxing day. But it wasn’t as relaxing as we would have thought. Every Bostonian we saw wore Bruins’ shirts or flaunted Bruins’ gear. For those who don’t follow hockey, like me and many people in California, the Boston Bruins just won the Stanley Cup, a championship trophy won by a hockey team each year. We missed the Bruins parade, but the spirit of the Bostonians could be found on every block.
We planned a visit to Fenway Park, but a local we asked for directions told us it was an hour’s walk from our parking spot near the restaurant and that we would “never make it”. So we shifted to Plan B: the T. The T is the transportation system used in Boston that includes a subway and buses. Purchasing tickets was a confusing task, and once we found the right train, it was jam packed with passengers. It was the experience that counts, no matter how uncomfortable that ride was. We saw the outside of Fenway briefly because we were not allowed inside. All around the stadium were people geared up in Red Sox apparel. If I were to ever live in Boston, I would need to buy Bruins and Red Sox clothes to match everyone else.
Our day in Boston went by fast, with much of our time spent on the T. The dinner at Radius was something to look forward to. I was relieved to quench my thirst and sit down to a nice dinner. The food was fantastic—as was the service. We were joined today by Amy Tan, not the author whom I greatly admire but a Brown alum and friend of Grace Yuen, whom we met on Wednesday. She shared with us her experiences at Brown with the open curriculum, the social life, and clubs. She also told us about Brown traditions such as the Spring Weekend and the Naked Donut Run, which both seem very interesting. She was a pleasure to have with us and very enjoyable to talk to.
I fall harder for Boston every time I go there. The streets are so clean, and the buildings are so elaborate. The city is beautiful. We saw more of the lively side of Boston today because of the Bruins fans. I wish I was a hockey fan so I could participate in the excitement, but unfortunately I’m not.
Providence was also filled with excitement today. When we arrived back in town, a gay pride parade was taking over the streets by our hotel. Proud and enthusiastic people filled the roads, and entertainment blasted around the cheering people. Our hotel concierge said that this celebration would last a few days. We saw a bit of the crowd but went back to our rooms to blog. The parade exhibited a new atmosphere of Providence that we haven’t seen before—an energetic, open-minded atmosphere.
Most of the people we have met on the East Coast have been extremely nice, and I’m sure there’s more to come. We pack our bags tonight and leave for Brown tomorrow! I’m thoroughly excited and am looking forward to tomorrow!

Living in Providence, Center of the Universe

While basking in the Wi-Fi in the lobby of the Providence hotel, I have found some time to blog! A lot has happened since my last post.

Last night, Andrew, Frank, Erinn, Kathleen, and I went down to the gym again to bond and exercise the night away. We reflected on our trip so far and it is great to hear that everyone is doing well and getting the most out of this Ivy League Connection experience.

I talked to Milani Lyman (who will be taking a Presidential Powers class at Columbia University in 5 days) and she is very antsy to get on a plane and indulge in the experiences that we are having here. My family and friends are reading our blog and they have expressed their delight about following our adventures out here on the east coast.

I am enjoying Rhode Island a lot. Last night, there was a ferocious party happening down the street. It seemed as if the music got louder as Erinn, Kathleen, and I turned off our lights to go to sleep.

This morning, we all met up in the lobby at 10:30 AM (we got to sleep in!) to go to breakfast at Tazza Café, two blocks from the hotel. The waitress suggested the homemade crepes with Nutella and bananas, so I got it. It was DELICIOUS. Unfortunately the two crepes did not satisfy my hunger, so I helped Ms. Larson out with the massive blueberry pancakes she ordered.

We will be spending our free day today in Boston. I want to stop by Fenway Park and just check out the city a bit more. Thankfully it is only an hour-long drive.

I’ll blog more tonight! We’ll have a great day today if you do the same!

ex animo

Sometimes you don't realize how good something is until you've lost it. The life here at Hotel Providence has been an amazing experience. It was relaxing, energizing, and fun. Tonight is the last night I'll be spending at Hotel Providence for quite a while.

Aside from that, today we experienced good weather, good food, and good company. It was a relatively sunny day, and we decided to each brunch at Caffe Tazza. The service at the Cafe was friendly and quick. We ate a filling and satisfying meal before returning to the hotel to relax before our big trip to Boston.

Caffe Tazza's amazing Huevos Rancheros.

We enjoyed Boston's scenery, barely missing a seemingly exciting parade. We experienced riding Boston's subway system; the T. We got to see Fenway Park and ate ice cream to combat the humid and hot weather. We made our way back to our car, but before we knew it it was already 5:00 P.M. We got dressed for dinner at Radius, and relaxed in the restaurant until our guest, Amy Tan showed up. Amy is an alumni of Brown, and a friend of Grace who we had met earlier.

The dinner was good and the service was great. Amy, Andrew, and I feasted upon their burger and fries. The others ordered extravagant meals befitting of a fine restaurant like Radius. Amy happily answered any and all of the questions we had for her. The best part of the dinner was hearing her own personal experience at Brown. It has been influencing to hear two accounts from Brown alumni about how amazing the Brown University experience is.

We went back to the hotel to get some rest and relaxation. Tomorrow we move into the dorms, so we are all very excited. I'm happy to be sleeping in dorms from now on, but it is a bittersweet feeling. I will miss Hotel Providence, the dinners with alumni, and the college tours. However, it is time to move on with this journey!
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