Friday, July 29, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The two students who were asked to show me around TUD were Felix and Jonas, two aerospace majors who work for Lufthansa (the ones I played tennis with) . Since they're fantastically awesome, they arranged a visit to the Lufthansa cargo base at the Frankfurt airport for us, which happened on Friday. That was really awesome - we got to explore a 747 and some A340s - including the cockpits! After this we all went out to dinner and stayed at the bar until midnight... but we gather that this is "typisch Deutsch" behavior. [picture = yin+michelle+me in front of A340 engine]
Speaking of "typisch Deutsch" behavior, we freshmen went to see Harry Potter und die Heiligtümer des Todes - Teil 2 at midnight on the 13th - our first night in Berlin, and about an hour into the movie, the movie cut out and a black screen that said "Pause" showed up. This was very disturbing, but is apparently not uncommon - altough not common either. We asked some very bemused Germans about it. In general, I think Germans are bemused by us - I'm fairly certain that everyone we meet here thinks that we are terrifically hilarious. A group of girls that laugh and smile all the time and speak English and try to speak German? What could be funnier?
We spent the following week (our free week) running around doing touristy things in Berlin. Schedule looked something like this:
- Tuesday: arrive, do laundry, go see Harry Potter at night (wednesday morning).
- Wednesday: Museumsinsel - Pergamonmuseum, Alte Nationalgalerie, & Neues Museum (nefertiti bust). [picture = me near the Alte Nationalgalerie]
- Thursday: Technikmuseum & Musikinstrumentenmuseum.
- Friday: Berlin Wall memorial, Holocaust memorial, shopping.
- Saturday: Meet up with Laura to run around Berlin. I think she has more pictures from this than I.
The summer programs are a bit less hectic and more like normal life in that I get back to my hosts at a reasonable hour and have time to read or relax or just reflect, which I've been doing a lot of. This summer has afforded a very amazing experience for me thus far, in part because I have met a lot of very cool/amazing/inspiring people. A partial list (I'm a fan of lists):
- Torben, one of my first students. He confused me a lot in my first lecture but was still very nice about it. He wants to be a doctor, and from the five days I spent with him, I know he genuinely believes in saving lives. He also does sailing, sings, plays saxophone, tutors, and lifeguards.
- Niklas, another one of my students. He wants to study physics and he was one of the nicest people we met at his school. What I really admired about him was that I could tell he was struggling in my physics presentations, but he didn't give up and still liked it. I really admire people who can like things they're not good at. Like legitimately.
- Chris, another one of my students, who was just very welcoming and genuinely nice to us during our entire stay. He did his fair share of laughing at us, but that's what all Germans do, and he told me how to call a taxi, and helped me figure out classroom reservation issues, and also he wants to study aerospace so I just automatically like him. btw, if it sounds like I only teach boys, that's partially true - I'm the designated physics person on the team and my students are predominately male.
- Remi, my Berlin host's flatmate. He's French but his German's very good and he made crepes one night. I asked him for his recipe - it involves "ein halb kilo farine", 200 g sugar, 1 L of milk, rum, and some arbitrary number of eggs. I mean to try it when I get back to campus. Perhaps without the rum, unless Ben will fetch it for me in his liquor-mobile.
- Anna and Phillip, my Frankfurt hosts. They are possibly the cutest unmarried couple I have ever met, and they also don't thirdwheel me, which I think is a remarkable achievement considering I'm staying in their home for a week. They are really nice to me and also have very good tea.
- Felix & Jonas. They are kind of in a really big bromance that is sort of more like a marriage. It's very (incredibly) adorable. In any case, Felix is taking double the normal courseload of a typical German student, and Jonas is taking triple, but what really amazes me is their inside-out knowledge of the workings of Lufthansa. They can tell you what aircraft are used for specific flights and how many crew members are stationed at which airports... yeah. cool stuff.
- My team. Yin, Michelle, Sasha, & Jing. I honestly don't know what it's going to be like without them now that we've spent so much time together - I feel like I'm going to get home and be lost without my four team members around me. Also, I feel like I kind of need all four of them to tell my summer stories - we've told them so many times that I feel like my stories would be missing something without their reenactment. Also, bad jokes. Lots of them. And finally, "Trig identities are sexy." [picture = team]
I have two weeks left of this program, one additional week in Geneva/Italy, and then I will be back in the states. It's only been 5 weeks but I feel like it's been like... longer. Love you and miss you all.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Je vous écris d'un Starbucks à NYC. Je viens de quitter la Californie, ou j'ai passé six semaines à travailler sur mon startup, Manifold Studios. Je suis a NYC pour visiter ma tante et mes cousins (des jumeaux de 4 mois!) ainsi que mes amis qui travaillent dans la ville. Je vais ensuite a Londres pour retrouver un ami du MIT qui travaille aussi sur Manifold Studios, un cousin, et un ami d'enfance (et peut être les parents d'Anna ;). Ensuite je vais a Paris ou j’espère retrouver Alan (fyi kebab/kabab/kebap/etc... is Arabic/Farsi/Turkish for what you ate), et puis en Bretagne pour voir mes grand-mères et mon oncle, et finalement en Pologne pour voir mon grand-père. Ça sera un trajet assez relax je pense.
On a fait beaucoup de progrès sur le jeu pendent que j’étais en Californie. On commence le quality assurance intense cette semaine et on va continuer pendent 3 semaines. La version 1.0 du jeu va sortir sous un nouveau nom, Steampunk Empires, fin Août! J’espère faire tomber le jeux dans les top 25 pour les U.S. , on verra bien si mon ambition se réalisera.
Il risque d'y avoir de plus grandes nouvelles du cote développement jeux vidéo pour moi, je vous tiens au courant, j'en saurais plus dans une semaine. Je vous raconterai aussi des histoires tirés des mes voyages.
Les vacances, c'est bien. Le startup, c'est bien. La Californie, c’était bien. NYC, c'est bien, Londres sera bien, Paris, la Bretagne, et la Pologne aussi. Mais alors qu’est-ce que vous me manquez! J'ai souvent une forte envie de crier «dîner!» ou de m’asseoir sur le canapé du TV lounge en bonne compagnie.
Je vous embrasse tous très fort,
Saturday, July 16, 2011
This is still a work in progress. But a continued progress. Today I went to Dijon and instead of having Boeuf Bourguignon (since I was in the capital of Bourgogne), I stopped at Darcy Kebab and got a "kebab" which is (not really) French (as in apparently, the actual term) for Arabic/Turkish origin sandwichness (I site the pseudo resource wikipedia, but there's just a lot of restaurants in Paris and in other parts of France apparently that largely only call themselves either Turkish or Oriental and serve similar middle eastern cuisine). (The standard shish kebab in French is called a brochette - I know this because the people I work with go to the same sushi place whenever the company cafeteria goes on strike and they always order the "menu" that gives you sushi and brochettes). Yesterday I went to Grenoble and the day before I saw the 14 Juillet fireworks in Lyon which was actually really enjoyable -- they were pretty, lasted 20ish minutes, and there wasn't too many people. (Pictures: Top right is me making a weird face infront of the "ONLY LYON (LION)" sign infront of the tourism office in Place Bellecour, middle right is the fireworks on reg camera setting to give you idea of where they were happening, which is between Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere and Tour Metallique de Fourviere, and bottom right is in the fireworks setting). The metro/tram though was fully packed afterwards and while I don't think this was directly related, the tram was making very loud scrapping noises as it was trying to get out of the first stop with all of the people. Also trams and metro systems in other French cities are very cute compared to the Parisian metro/tramway. This is in part because I'm only familiar with T3 in Paris which is one of the newest trams (tram in Lyon is apparently 10 years old, it says so on all the windows now) also because the metro system is ridiculously huge and fast in Paris. But in general, there are so many more cars in a given line/tram that the 3-4 car lines in other cities is cutesy. In my opinion at least.
I went to Nice last weekend, and then simultaneously went to Monaco and Eze (a pseudo-random city inbetween the two). Monaco was impressive because it really is just straight up. Public elevators everywhere (not that the one I tried using worked though). And there's several ways to get to the train station because it's built straight into the cliff. Eze-Village is nice because it's an old fort type castle stone building ness. Eze-sur-mer is really nice because it's on the beach but it's not really nice because the rocks there are super slippery and super sharp at the same time. Thus resulting in several injuries (and lots of hobbling) which thankfully recovered just in time for Lyon-ness. Also it's an hour or so to get from Eze-Village to Eze-Sur-Mer, all the while going down a cliff-face. Not cliff side, but cliff face. Also noteworthy in a weird way is that I accidentally found and then had to awkwardly walk through a nudest beach which was next to the regular bathing-suit public beach at Eze-sur-mer because I was trying to get to this island which turned out to be a private one. Also noteworthy in a weird way is that if you walk towards Charlemagne in Lyon, you end up in the super industrial/super trucker filled part of Lyon Presqu'ile. And apparently I'm guessing truckers need lots of "ladies of the night" because there were *a lot*. A lot more than bois de boulogne. Unfortunately (not really) none solicited me this time.
Also when I was in Nice, I was asked to have some "jus de pomme" on this guy's boat. This creepy old (not really old old but very much older) guy.
So I was told that there's nothing to do in Dijon (or more specifically, that if I have seen everything else in France, then I should go to Dijon), but I actually quite enjoyed the way it ended. The actual process wasn't too great because it started raining, but I got to go to two free museums (an archaeology one and a fine arts one, both of which scared the crap out of me for various reasons). Now in further grammatical mutiny, the reason why these two museums scared the crap out of me is because one, the archaeology one had all these statues from the Roman occupation (ie the original colony Divio according to Wikipedia) of the Dijon area all in these gravelled/pebbley underground/tomb esque basement deal which after Dr Who, I could not stay in that room. Too many statues looking at me or for me to look at simultaneously. I was also alone and that room was just creepy. The fine arts museum was scary because I encountered this artist whose usage of red and green to paint resulted in some seriously creepy depictions of faces and bodies because they were all in this weird bloody red-brown tone. Did not want to preserve said images with a picture so you'll have to take my word for it. At the same time I did find some very nice paintings of which I do have pictures. (in coding terms, this may constitute as a "go to") -So the ending was great because after rushing to the train station to verify the last train back to Lyon (because earlier I thought there was another train an hour later but turns out that's only on Sundays), I then backtracked to the Jardin Darcy where there was an open air jazz festival happening throughout July or something and it was really nice. Not too many people, there was a waterfall, and the jazz actually sounded good. Hopefully I can find the artist at some point, with no leads other than there was a jazz festival in this park in this city.
The Bastille in Grenoble was a lot of fun because one I got to go up/down this "telepherique" (which costed money but student discount at least? also pictures to be posted on facebook of the telepherique, and the view from inside) and then felt super accomplished when I got to the top of the mountain where there was a memorial to the Blue Devils (mountain troops). Lovely view of the surrounding water and mountains too.
It's kind of lonely travelling alone, but it has allowed me to go to Dijon and Grenoble (and Eze and Monaco) on super large tangents because I had no idea I was going to go there beforehand. It's also resulting in lots of myspace esque pictures because sometimes there's no one to take a picture. Alternatively they come out interesting. PS I added a picture to my previous blog post about the Musee D'Orsay.
PPS - I've been meaning to mention this for a really long time. The URL for this blog looks like lm FAT mit to me. Just saying.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Anyhoww.. I last posted in Lübeck right before we left for Salem. We spent one week at Salem International College (an international boarding school). To avoid too much wordiness, I will bullet the events of this week:
- Sunday afternoon/evening: we dine in the dining hall and awkwardly sit with Salem students who have no idea who we are (it's the first day back for the students for their summer exam term).
- Wednesday: In the afternoon I go to Ueberlingen, the nearby town on the Bodensee. It's pretty. It also rains and I become soaked. I teach basics of E&M in the evening for day 2 of my workshop. Fun story: when I get to the Lorentz force, I ask them, "Have you guys done cross products? Can you tell me the direction of the resultant force for v x B?" One kid then replies: "OH YEAH! You use the left-hand rule!" ????? Sasha and I become very concerned. [picture: me + yin + jing + physics class]
- Thursday: In the afternoon I go to Ueberlingen again, and it doesn't rain. I do the derivation of the B field out of the E field viewed from a moving reference frame for the third day of my workshop. The kids don't follow as well as I wish they did which I think is because I did a bad job teaching it this time. But oh well.
- Friday: I get up at 5 to walk up the mountain to see the sunrise with Sasha. This school is absolutely gorgeous, btw. In the afternoon I teach part 2 of my gyroscopes presenation in the IB physics class. Again, the kids are bright. I love them. In the evening we go out to dinner with our school contact people and the physics teacher. That's fun. [picture = sunset]
- During the course of the week we stay in Westend, one of their dorms. We befriend the boys that live upstairs, who all come from very interesting and diverse backgrounds. Fun stories abound from this acquaintance, but I don't think they're as funny when typed out so I'll just tell y'all later.
- walked around seeing the filming locations from The Sound of Music. We splashed in the fountain that Maria splashes in, ventured into Nonnberg Abbey, skipped around the hills and meadows singing SoM songs, found these creepy dwarf statues that Maria and the kids skip around, walked down the Do-Re-Mi steps, and heard the bells - they sound exactly the same as they do in the movie.
- ate food. For lunch we picnicked in the Mirabel Gardens, and for dinner we had Indian food, and then we had ice cream - the two of us split a Mozartbecher (which we think means something like Mozart-beaker). On Sunday we had a nice German-style breakfast (which means bread and cheese/jam/butter/sausage) and for lunch we had salad and pizza bread. [picture: Laura + Mozartbecher]
- watched the Sound of Music in our hostel at 8PM on Saturday. It was fun to see the movie after going to all those places, and the alternative would have been to go clubbing...
- went up a mountain to see the city from high up. It's a nice view.
- went shopping. Salzburg is the most touristy place I've been thus far - everywhere we went there were asian tourists taking pictures. This means there are lots of little touristy shops; I got Mozart Kugeln (they're a specialty here; truffles with praline and almond and stuffs) and also something for my sister.
That is all from me, and I know it's a long post, but I had 1.5 weeks to cover, and that's a lifetime (for some insects). Also because a lot happens in a week on this program; we only have a little bit of time in each place. Looking forward to more blogs from you guys! Love love love :)
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
In summary, Maine is pretty great. I will draw your attention to the middle cell, where you will find that the only things that Maine and MIT have in common are hawks, ducks, and cars. Thusly, in order to truly experience all those things that life has available, one must spend time in both places, so as to broaden one’s horizons.
You might notice a trend in the items that are found on the Maine side. This highlights those things that I find especially lacking in Cambridge. More specifically, I find the stark contrast between Cambridge’s environment full of people and buildings and Maine’s trees, plants, and other living and inviting things very salient in such a discussion.
While home, I went kayaking with my father and brother in Messalonskee Stream. It is like the Charles, except different on all important dimensions. It is a small stream that flows from a lake into the Kennebec, the largest river in Maine. It is very slow flowing, with a rather minimal current. Tall pine, fir, and birch trees stand guard around it, protecting it from the terrible influences of the human world slowly encroaching on the wilderness flowing through it.
The banks are decorated with a flourish: water plants of all kinds line the banks, but eventually give way to a layer of water lilies which act as the dividing line between the woods and the clear water. It is between these lines of lily pads that we maneuvered our kayaks, slowly and methodically.
For me, kayaking is not a sport. It is not for exercise, it is not for the fun of riding in a boat—it’s not at all about the experience of kayaking itself. It just happens that kayaks are a wonderful vehicle with which to see the wilderness. They allow for minimal impact, but for access to the most intimate part of the forest around me. This was my second time kayaking in the stream, but I had already met some of the animals there, and this time, I was visiting them to say hello, and see how my new friends were doing.
Not very many animals live directly at the boat landing. This is where the people are, and really, who wants that.
After paddling for a bit, we approached the Prince of the stream. He seems to own the entire length of it, and I assume he rules it well.
I didn’t see him at first, because he was too far ahead of us, but my father pointed him out to me. The Great Blue Heron was standing tall, resting maybe, his long neck bent slightly. When he spotted us, he was spooked, and took off, with amazing grace. With his giant gray wings (which easily span two meters), he easily took to the air, and flew over us, down the stream a bit and into the woods.
After paddling a bit longer and admiring the woods around us, including the lodge of the beaver that I saw last time we came to the stream, I spotted a family of ducks—a mother and about six young ducklings. I stopped and watched them waddle around a bit. After they decided that I was not, in fact, going to eat them, the mother waddled up close to the shore, and stepped in the water. The ducklings followed, and they started off down the stream in the opposite direction, which I believe was their original intent anyway.
Throughout the next stretch of the stream, we saw multiple hawks circling up above us, far up above the trees, and above any altitude that I would have been particularly comfortable with if I were a bird. One of the hawks came down from his tree and snatched a fish out of the stream and flew over us back up to his perch.
My favorite friends were the Belted Kingfisher. I love them. They’re relatively easily spooked, but they’re very pretty, and I am very happy whenever I get to see them. I saw two of them fighting over territory, and back toward the landing (on our way back out of their home) we saw another, the same we had seen last time we were in the stream, I believe, as he was perched on the same tree.
Other than birds and green things, Maine also has my family. I spent the 3rd of July with a large assembly of my family. Food was had, fun was had, and I did some more kayaking. It was really nice to be back home, and I will endeavor to do this more frequently.
Also, to all of you who are not in Boston because you’re home or in France or Germany or Singapore or somewhere else: I miss you. Return soon. [eom]
I will leave it to someone else to describe the awesomeness of Boston’s Independence Day celebrations, because I have to go to work now, and I feel like posting this.
I love you all, and hope that you are having a wonderful summer. <3
PS: This post was *started* on the bus, but finished later ....
Monday, July 4, 2011
This is a work in progress but I'm going to post it anyway. Right now I'm sitting in my hotel room in Cherbourg, FR after taking a picture of the sunset which hasn't really finished yet and it's almost 11pm. The EDF MIT interns and a soon to be EDF Imperial College intern are here to visit and see various things about the new EPR reactor they're building in Flamanville which is a very long drive away. For those who don't really know what's going on, think Normandy. PS Happy 4th. We celebrated by having hache' (that apostrophe is supposed to be an accent aigu) and apple tarte. Well some of us did. I actually had this chicken dish with a normandy sauce (which I'm still not sure what that means) but fries came with everything. The Normandy apple tarte actually resembled quiche more than apple pie (which is what we were going for). I'm going to bed soon because we're leaving at 7:20 tomorrow to get to the place by 8. Breakfasting at 7ish. Almost missed the train too -- myself and another intern managed to stop the conductor from allowing the train from leaving at the last second so we could board really quickly. There will be pictures soon of thisness. There are already pictures of June-adventures on facebook. Speaking of which, I have gone to a lot of touristy places in Paris and "FountaineBleau" which is like a smaller version of Versailles. I also went to visit Re'becca from the Media Lab who's back in France. We got to bike with her sister in the French countryside, going from field to forest to field lather rinse repeat.
This entire summer has been below 70's except for a couple of days where it shot to 90's-100. When I first got here in June, there were some nights that fell to 48 according to the Weather Channel. My apartment is very cold because it's not facing the sun, but if it was it would mean that it's most likely facing the cemetery that is behind the dorm building. There's left over pots and pans which is nice. Roommates don't really speak French though so lost opportunity there. I've been doing a lot of grocery shopping from Auchan which has regular baguettes for 33 cents each. However out of fear of....terrible diet killing myself, I've been opting for the multigrain for the last couple of visits. Now you know a little more about my diet here. Also cheese (ex bought a gorgonzola/mascorpone layered cheese which was kind of interesting) is kind of a big thing in Paris. Also for those who know how long it can take for me to make a decision, I was quite humored as to how long it took me to pick out a new cheese to try in the cheese aisle(s). There were about 3. I have decided that my current favorite new French cheese is this chevre that has blackish/greyish mold on it - it sounds and looks scary but it actually has a rather mild but pleasant taste.
If you haven't followed me on Facebook (don't know which would be weirder, that I have a following or you're following me), I saw three hookers in Bois de Boulogne. Also the lakes there are very pretty. If you ever have a chance to just walk around, BB is a nice place to do it. Bois de Vincennes is supposedly better but I have not been yet. Parc des Buttes Chaumont is an incredibly awesome park - it's like a mathematical topography adventure. Also 45 degree inclines and ziplining!
I have now been to the Louvre, Centre Pompidou (Dou-Dou, also many Picassos), Muse'e D'Orsay (after waiting an hour outside), Muse'e des arts et meties (saw Lavoisier's lab stuff), (now churches:) Sacre' Coeur, Notre Dame.
Concerning my actual work, it is a very combat-like terrain. Interesting relationship between supervisor and the other workers/interns and interesting work style. I'm sure not all of France is like this, but for example:
-Lunch is supposed to be 35 minutes
-Lunch is takes 1 hour
Cue coffee break that immediately follows:
-Lasts another hour
Also I have been having a lot of hot chocolate because I don't really drink coffee.
Also I don't think you've ever fully appreciated Solidworks until you've tried using/learning how to use the home-brew finite element analysis software package that was written/is being written in FORTRAN. There's a GUI but it's just an interesting thought.
Also for those wanting to do energy stuff with MISTI, MIT just signed a bunch of accords with big French energy companies for future research and stuff. Susan Hockfield came and presented at the event. Also the CEO(?) of Total, a big oil company. Ministre d'education/recherche etc would have come but she got switched to Ministre de Budget the night before, apparently.
People drink a lot of wine (and smoke alot) here. First couple days at work, someone would bring a bottle of wine to share at lunch. I'm kind of used to it now. I only take enough for 10 sips (+/- 10 sips) if I'm pouring. Otherwise a lot of wine goes to waste because people think I actually drink. Sort of. Also interesting relationship between the French (and many other) drinking age (18) compared to the US. Boss was asking if I need a fake ID in the US - I guess he expects all youths (ie less than 26 here) to not survive without getting alcohol regularly. Although, how could one live without Tiramisu? Which should hopefully happen after I regenerate once I get back to MIT because I'm kind of tired from doing work and being super touristy at the same time.
I'm going to bed and will continue later. Ciao.
I have been enjoying a relative lack of activity, but not a great enough lack to prevent me from having way too much to write about in one little (or possibly not quite so little) blog post. In light of this, my news shall be less creatively written and substantially more to the point than originally intended, yet still convoluted enough to result in happy little contusions of the brain!
1. A friend of mine from way back when in homeschooling elementary is going to be coming to MIT as a transfer student next year, so my mother and I had lunch with her and her mother so they could ask us lots of questions. It was fun. We are going to be flying to Boston on the same plane come end of August, and she will stay with me for a day or two until she can check into her room. She's awesome and I hope you all get to meet her sometime :)
2. I went to my cousin's bridal shower last weekend. Pretty dang entertaining, and exciting for her!
3. After much searching, I managed to track down my old French teacher. I painstakingly wrote and proofread an email in my best French, and she wrote back YAY this means a lot to me because she was rather inspiring to me... also because prior to this I thought she had disappeared off the face of the earth.
Okay, enough of the list for now, I don't want to extend it too far and become dry and chalky (and by chalky I meant to say boring). I have recently had a hankering to explore my artistic side. The first manifestation of this common condition was sketching, and not the kind in which I'm supposed to be taking lessons from Ashley ;)
This is probably the best of my masterpieces so far.
I took a picture instead of scanning it, so it doesn't show the details at all, but you'll just have to get the general idea...
Also, Elizabeth, and I mean this in the least creepy way possible, you have really adorable lips.
And now begins the part of the blog that will be somewhat in the style of Davie, in the sense that I will be talking about nature.
I have been helping out at the unfinished house recently, and one of my jobs is to help clear trails so we can continue to walk without obstruction. In my breaks I have been discovering wonderful plants and taking pictures.
Let us start with potential noms...
Mmmm, hazelnuts, filberts, whatever you call them, maybe someday someone will discover the secret of homemade nutella.
Also, I saw one tree that had the nuts growing in clusters of 4 instead of 2, weird...
We have lots of berries. I have pictures of many of the plants, but I'm impatient and it takes a long time to upload pictures, so maybe you'll have to see some of them another time. We have huckleberries galore. We also have salal, which produces very mild berries that are a lot like blueberries, but with skin that's kind of fuzzy like a peach.
And then there are the blackberries. There are 3 kinds of blackberry growing in our area, Himalayan, Trailing, and Evergreen, and they're very easy to tell apart.
Most of us are familiar with Himalayan blackberries: Red thorny stems, big berries, grow like bushes, take over everything, and if you'll notice, they have 5 leaves per cluster or at least 5 distinct leaflet points depending on the age of the stalk.
Trailing blackberries have a slightly lower profile. They grow as vines along the ground or through the undergrowth and have smaller, more flavorful berries. They also have green stems and only 3 leaves per cluster.
Lastly, there are the Evergreen blackberries. We don't have as many of these, so I've never actually tasted one, but they are still my favorites. They just look cool. Yeah, I'm sure you get the trend but that's one to the right there.
I have also discovered that it's incredibly difficult to take a picture of a bumblebee, got a few, but mainly I'm still working on that one.
Oh gosh, this is turning a bit long-winded, but I'm relying on the pretty pictures to keep you all interested. One last thing! Friday night I went with the fam to the Drive-In to see Green Lantern and X-men. It was a great time. There aren't many left these days and I feel lucky to have one close by.
Of course, it's a little different than it used to be. Instead of speakers sticking up here and there you just tune your radio to a station that only exists within a short distance of the "theater"and enjoy. The one we go to has 3 screens, and this is the smallest (the giant screen was playing Transformers 3 this weekend, no surprise there). Anyway, if you ever get the chance to go, don't miss it, it's a one-of-a-kind experience :)
So, I've still left out a bunch of things, but that will have to do for now. It will be a good reason to write again soon. A very happy 4th of July to all of you, whether you're in a place that celebrates it or not, and keep on posting!
P.S. Our kitchen sink was plugged up when I started writing this.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
I got here on Friday morning, and will be here until next Sunday. I'm staying at my grandparents' house with my mom, and my little sister will join us on Thursday, after she gets back* from her two-week hiking trip in the mountains of North Carolina. She leaves on Sunday, too, but instead of taking a train to Boston like all the cool kids (I can be cool, I promise) is taking a plane to California, where she'll go to nerd camp at Stanford and become best friends with Jeremy.
*In theory. No one has heard from her since she started hiking, since she has no phone or Internet access up in the mountains. Apparently, there are lots of bears in the area, so she could theoretically have been eaten by now and no one would know.
So, that's my sister. Before I say anything about me and what I've been up to, it's very important that you read the following five reasons why my grandparents are awesome.
1. This evening, my grandma accidentally referred to a plate of salad as "salmon" and laughed so hard she was basically paralyzed.
2. My grandpa's study (where I'm sleeping) is LINED with books, 99% of which are about economics (the other 1% are big sets of encyclopedias.) He's 84, and has been working for the National Bureau of Economics since he was 18, which is when he graduated from Columbia. He had heart valve replacement surgery last year and went back to work as soon as he was out of the hospital, which nearly made my mom crazy.
3. My grandma's study (where I'm sitting now - I have no choice, since there's no wireless Internet here) is also lined with books, 90% of which are about math (glancing behind me, I see "History of Mathematics", "The Pythagorean Theorem", and "College Calculus with Analytic Geometry", among others); she was a math professor, before she retired. When I was nine, I asked her to teach me Calculus, and when my dad scolded me for "bothering" her she scolded him right back. I quote: "WILLIAM! She's a math lover, and math lovers of all ages deserve to be exposed to the beauty of Calculus!" Win. Anyway, the other 10% of her books are sort of miscellaneous; I see one called "Great British Wit" and another by Stephen King. Earlier, I asked her why on earth she had a book by Stephen King on her shelf, and she said she wanted to know why he was so popular. Um...okay, grandma.
4. They own me (and everyone) hard at Scrabble.
5. They met at a music club, when he was 17 and she was 16. In his words, "I was sitting there, when suddenly a very lively girl walked in..." AWW <3
Okay, so maybe that was more along the lines of 50 reasons condensed into 5 numbered points. Whatever. I should also mention that these are my mom's parents; my dad's parents are busy being awesome on the other side of the planet, somewhere near the equator.
Now! What I've been up to. My grandparents' house has no wireless Internet, which is a little frightening for someone like me, who compulsively checks her e-mail every five seconds. Withdrawal symptoms include (sorry for all the lists - I like lists, in case you can't tell):
1. Reading entire Agatha Christie novels in one sitting (Dear Poirot: I want your brain, but not your moustaches. Love, Anna) - I went through a crazed Poirot phase a couple years ago and read all 34 of the books, in order.
2. Consuming enormous quantities of ice cream (the place we go to lets you have as many different flavors as you want, in one cup - a dream come true for indecisive me)
3. Writing at least one journal entry per day, which is something I try to do but usually fail when the Internet is around to distract me.
So, not the worst withdrawal symptoms in the world. Also, a few of my London friends are in town (Megan, Sophia, and Max - giving names just so it's easier to refer to them) - Megan and Max have internships, and Sophia lives here, since her family moved after we all graduated. I met up with Sophia and Megan yesterday; we hung out in Sophia's apartment, catching up over bubble tea and cheesecake, before eating dinner in Chinatown. During the course of the afternoon/evening, the following hugely embarrassing picture of me was taken - I added a label to help you all out, since I recognize that there might be some confusion over who the actual squirrel is.
Yup. It's a proud moment when you realize that you look more like a squirrel than an actual squirrel.
Tomorrow, Max and I are hanging out at Megan's house in Bronxville; there are plans to go swimming (good thing I DIDN'T bring a swimsuit) and it'll be nice to spend some time with them.
I guess that's about it from me - I'll post some more in the next couple of weeks, and end by saying that I miss you all a TON (and am sad that I won't be back on campus as soon as I originally thought) and that I hope you all are having wonderful summers. À bientôt :)