Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fireworks and the midwest

Hi all.  Hope everyone’s summers are going fantastically (AGHHHHH, it’s almost Fall!!!)  Anyway, I just came back from a trip with my family yesterday, so it seemed like a good time to update.  In order to avoid a five-page long post, I’ll split it up into two.  Hopefully the second addition will go up later today, or tomorrow.
Before I talk about the trip, here are some pictures of the 4th of July fireworks in Boston.  To my surprise, some of them actually came out fairly decently.

I’ve lived in Massachusetts my entire life, but this was the first time I saw the fireworks display.  It was actually very very pretty.  Only downfall was that the guy who kept announcing stuff over the loudspeaker had the most god-awful, overly peppy, obnoxious voice I’ve ever heard in my life.  But I digress.
So, anyway, the trip.  I feel pretty lame talking about an extremely uneventful trip to Oklahoma and Missouri when other people are in Singapore, Berlin, France, etc. but oh well.  I flew out to meet my parents in St. Louis, Missouri, the city where my mom grew up, where my dad went to college (Washington University) and where he met my mom, and the city where I ALMOST went to college.  Incidentally, this was my first time EVER flying on a plane without my parents, but to my great relief I got to the airport with plenty of time (thanks in part to Juan, who was kind enough to accompany me to the airport and prevented me from getting on the wrong bus), and I did not die on the flight, as evidenced by me writing this post now.  Anyway, once I actually got out west, we didn’t do all that much touristy stuff (although believe it or not, St. Louis is actually a pretty interesting city, at least, compared to ANYWHERE in Oklahoma).  My parents are thinking about moving to either St. Louis or Oklahoma, so a large part of the trip was spent looking at houses on the market, which was actually kind of fun (also, the price difference between here and out west, particularly out in Oklahoma, is astounding…stuff is expensive in Boston, that’s all I’ll say).  Other than that, we visited my only first cousin (Leo…isn’t that a cool name?  I guess one of the few things my mom and her brother had in common is that they didn’t go the common route with their kids’ names) and his fiancée.  Their wedding reception is going to be in Las Vegas, so come January I’ll be in Vegas…heh, should be…fun.  We also had supper with one of my mom’s many first cousins.  I love this person, but he can be pretty blunt.  Here’s a sample of a conversation between us:
Joey: So, Sophie, what are you doing for your job this summer?
Me:  Well, I’m running simulations of different molecules and looking at their mechanical properties.
Joey: So…you’re just LOOKING at them?
Me (flustered):  I mean, I’m analyzing stuff…or trying to..
Joey:  Ok, but are there any special qualifications for what you’re doing?  Couldn’t I do just as good a job, you know, just LOOKING at pretend molecules on the computer?
Me (giving up):  Yeah, probably.  I DUNNO, KAY?

In conclusion, my family can be argumentative. 
Three other vaguely interesting points about St. Louis before I conclude this installment of the post:
1.      The food.  If you listen to my mom talk, you’ll come to believe that St. Louis is the world’s center for outstanding cuisine, far surpassing the offal served up to you in places like Japan or Paris.  You should probably take her statements with a grain of salt, since she grew up in St. Louis.  Still, they do have some specialties, most notably St. Louis style pizza.  Unlike Chicago style, the crust is super crispy and cracker-thin.  Whenever I tell her that I actually prefer the thick, gooey crust of pizza up here, my mom looks at me like I’ve just killed a little piece of her soul.  The cheese, called provel, is also unique to St. Louis.  It’s a mixture of mozzarella, provelone, cheddar, and one other kind I can’t remember.  Some people (for instance, Leo and Joey, the cousins mentioned above) believe that provel tastes like a glue factory (the whole factory mind you, not just the glue).  My mom thinks it’s holy nectar, or something to that effect.  I fall in the middle.  Finally (finally for this point, that is) St. Louis has a large Jewish neighborhood, where my mom grew up, and there’s still a mom-and-pop deli, Protzel’s, that sells really good deli meats, and most importantly of all, beer sticks.  Beer sticks are along the same line as Slim Jims, but they taste SO SO SO much better.  You can’t get them in the north, so my mom buys a pound for herself whenever we go back there.  Anyway, here's a picture of Protzel’s.  Not too exciting, unfortunately.

2.      One of the few touristy things I did this trip was go to Cahokia Mounds with my dad.  This is actually across the Mississippi River, in Illinois.  It’s the site of a prehistoric Native American civilization that mysteriously died out around 1400.  The tribe didn’t seem to utilize any sort of written communication, so very little is known about the civilization, and consequently the museum came off to me as a bit contrived and scattered.  However, many of the man-made earthen mounds that this civilization built its city on are still standing, and those were pretty cool.  Here are some pictures:

3.      Finally, a somewhat nostalgic observation; when I was in St. Louis last week, I realized that the last time I was there had been in mid-March of 2010.  As I’m sure the other, non early-action freshmen remember, this was about the time when our acceptance letters to MIT came out.  At that point, I had been accepted into Washington University in St. Louis.  I had done an overnight there, had loved it, and had spoken to a professor who was really pushing for me to go there.  I was ready to accept the admissions offer, spend the next four years of my life in St. Louis, and enter some pre-med program in order to become either a veterinarian or a forensic pathologist.  I didn’t expect to get into MIT, and didn’t really want to go there anyway.  Still, I figured I might as well wait until all the university decisions came in.  On pi day, I remember driving around the city of St. Louis for hours, trying without success to find a wi-fi area where I could check the MIT decision.  We finally went to the house of my mom’s childhood friend, and checked the email.  Well, now I’m here, in French House.  Funny how things work out, eh? ;-)
Anyway, that was much longer than intended.  I’ll post the next installment (aren’t you excited to hear about Oklahoma?  I know you are) soon.

Love you guys.

1 comment:

  1. awwwwww I do miss youu.

    your cousins and pseudo-cousins sound fun, and your midwest grassiness pictures make me homesick.

    also I enjoy the giraffe thing. <3