Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Back To School

Okay, between NYC and Boston, there should be an entry on Rhode Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. But since I haven't narrowed down my entire chunk of Cape Cod photos to the worthy few yet, we'll skip ahead to Boston first.

Well actually, to be more accurate, this entry is about Cambridge - the university town famed for Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). My colleague Jon, who has also taken a year off work - but to study (cos he's alot more hardworking than I am) - had offered to take us on a tour of Harvard University. We had arranged to meet Jon at 11am but got lost, and had to make the poor guy wait. We eventually turned up at his doorstep an hour late. With the exception of Pittsburgh, I've never had a more difficult time navigating around a city. Bah. Jon explained that Cambridge was an old town so it developed in a very organic fashion - narrow streets, many of them single-lane, running in one direction, and a world away from the neat grid patterns of NYC (and Denver and Salt Lake City.)

After kidnapping Jon in our car and making him direct us to a parking lot, we finally make it to the campus. Our first stop was the Annenberg Hall - a beautiful brick building which caught our eye from afar.

Annenberg Hall

A rare pic with all of us together when we're out without the tripod. Courtesy of Jon.

Jon and me. And a big group of tourists whom we trooped in after to listen to the tour guide's briefing.

The Annenberg Hall is a dining hall - but for undergrads only. So we couldn't enter the hall proper. We imagined that it would be like what you see in a Harry Potter movie, where students sit around a long table during meal times. We were allowed to hang around the area near the entrance though, which was pretty lovely in itself with its large stained glass windows and chandeliers.

I see the light!

We took a look at the school library too. As the story goes, some rich lady whose son drowned in the sinking of the Titanic donated a huge sum of money to build the library. The catch was, she set some strange rule (that was somehow legally binding) that whoever wanted to enter the library must know how to swim. I guess it was rather impractical to get students to prove their worthiness in this field. So along the way, the Cambridge township took over ownership of the library from the university and somehow managed to abolish the rule. So now, you can leave your arm-floats at home when you visit the library.

They wanted to look small. Photo taken as per their request.

At Harvard Square, we were introduced to one of the Harvard students' age-old traditions - rubbing the tippy toes of the statue of John Harvard (which is another story in itself. In short: wrong date, wrong name, wrong person) in hope of graduating from the university. We could see that the tips of the shoes on the statue were practically golden and shiny from all that rubbing. Or so we thought.

Thank goodness Jon warned us, before we touched it, that in addition to lots of rubbing, the statue's toes are so nice and shiny because they get pissed on! The pedestal is rather high, with most of the space taken up by the sitting man. So I've no idea how the guys (I'm assuming it's just the male students who are into this) firstly climb up onto that thing, balance on the narrow ledge and still aim (accurately) for the statue's toes! Jon sent me this link to an article on this pissing tradition. You really should read this. It's for your own good.

Being the mean older siblings, we told Yu Jin about the tradition (conveniently leaving out the pee part) and egged him to rub the statue's feet for good luck, so that he would graduate from NUS with flying colours (like... yellow, golden...for example.) The poor kid tried to act nonchalant upon being told the truth, but promptly scuttled over to my mum to ask for the hand sanitiser gel.

Touch me.... not!

Then dear Daddy-O came right along and plopped his hand right smack onto the statue's foot!!!! See, that's what happens when you scoot off on your own and miss the briefing! And that's why I need to repeat the same set of instructions for each person so many times!

Harvard Square - what SMU Green is suppose to look like.

We headed into town - a short walk from the campus - for lunch. Harvard University is a city campus and the various schools and buildings are well-integrated with the city amenities like shops, restaurants, bars, train stations, etc. In fact, the Singapore Management University back home is modelled after Harvard. Jon suggested Mr Bartley's Burger Cottage - a tiny squishy noisy eatery with seriously good burgers and sweet potato fries. It's so packed that you have to place your order while queuing up outside (in the cold) and they have a huge variety of burgers to choose from, all named after interesting personalities, like George Bush and Steve Jobs (an iBurger!) I had the Ted Kennedy, Dan had an American Idol and Jon had er, some American guy whose name I can't remember. My sister had the Viagra *shrug*

She doesn't seem to think so, but the burgers here are really damn good.

Please meet my lunch date - Mr Ted Kennedy. Isn't he handsome?

I think it's awfully fun meeting up with friends and family while overseas who can show you around the places they hang out at. You learn so much more (like not to go around touching statues) and because the place means something to them, it takes on some meaning for you too. And this sharing of personal experiences is what makes traveling so enriching and the most meaningful learning journey that one can have.

Thanks to Jon for showing us around. We wish you all the best for the rest of the school year. We'll next meet again in 2010, on the 10th floor of 45 Maxwell Road.


Forever Living

Forever Living
Read about the products, then contact our wellness sponsor!
Related Posts with Thumbnails