The Scamp and Beantown: Day 2

Sus and I decided that the day needed to be dedicated to all things Harvard. We quickly learned the difference between Harvard Avenue and Harvard Street, and we successfully navigated both the subway and the bus system. The one thing that impressed me about Boston was how easy public transportation was to navigate. We got everywhere we needed to be, and did so with little fuss.

When we made it to Harvard I really wanted to be impressed. On paper, Harvard is an impressive school.

Harvard at a Glance

ESTABLISHED

1636

FACULTY

About 2,400 faculty members and more than 10,400 academic appointments in affiliated teaching hospitals

STUDENTS

Harvard College – About 6,700
Graduate and professional students – About 14,500
Total – About 21,000

SCHOOL COLOR

Crimson Specs

LIVING ALUMNI

More than 323,000, over 271,000 in the U.S., nearly 52,000 in some 201 other countries. See the alumni website for more information.

HONORS

47 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state, 48 Pulitzer Prize winners

MOTTO

Veritas (Latin for “truth”)

REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS

5,083 acres

LIBRARY COLLECTION

The Harvard Library—the largest academic library in the world—includes 18.9 million volumes, 174,000 serial titles, an estimated 400 million manuscript items, 10 million photographs, 56 million archived web pages, and 5.4 terabytes of born-digital archives and manuscripts. Access to this rich collection is provided by nearly 1,000 library staff members who operate more than 70 separate library units.

FACULTIES, SCHOOLS, AND AN INSTITUTE

Harvard University is made up of 11 principal academic units – ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The ten faculties oversee schools and divisions that offer courses and award academic degrees.

Under 8 feet of snow….it sort of loses its appeal.

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I think another reason that I was underwhelmed was because the University of Edinburgh has ruined me for all other schools. The thing I liked about the campus was everyone was wearing Harvard shirts, people were super friendly, and there were an abundance of international students. Cambridge is a proper college town, and walking around the shops of Harvard Square was a lot of fun. Being that Sus and I both love books, we stopped in a great bookstore on the square.

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When I was a kid, I thought Harvard was the be all, end all of schools. I wanted to go there. While I enjoyed the tour, and thought the campus was beautiful, I am not so sure I would have really enjoyed being a student there. While there is a sense of campus pride, and the people seemed nice, there is also a definite competitive atmosphere that lingers. I would rather have a collaborative learning experience, rather than one based on constantly trying to best my classmates.

We ended the night following the advice of Lonely Planet and visiting Little Italy for some pasta.

Lonely Planet did not let us down.

Carmelinas was truly amazing. The restaurant was small, and beautiful, and the food was great. I highly recommend the Puttenesca should anyone be lucky enough to eat there.

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Behind the restaurant was a little bit of history. Paul Revere House sits quietly and unassuming between apartment buildings. It was closed, dark, and covered in snow, so the picture is not one that I took, but the house was impressive, and the history behind it makes the academic nerd in me giddy.

According to the Paul Revere Memorial Society:

The home was built about 1680 on the site of the former parsonage of the Second Church of Boston. Increase Mather, the Minister of the Second Church, and his family (including his son, Cotton Mather) occupied this parsonage from 1670 until it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1676. A large and fashionable new home was built at the same location about four years later. Paul Revere owned the home from 1770 to 1800, although he and his family may not have lived here in some periods in the 1780s and 90s. After Revere sold the home in 1800, it soon became a tenement, and the ground floor was remodeled for use as shops, including at various times a candy store, cigar factory, bank and vegetable and fruit business. In 1902, Paul Revere’s great-grandson, John P. Reynolds Jr. purchased the building to ensure that it would not be demolished. Over the next few years, money was raised, and the Paul Revere Memorial Association formed to preserve and renovate the building. In April 1908, the Paul Revere House opened its doors to the public as one of the earliest historic house museums in the U.S. The Association still oversees the preservation and day-to-day operations of this national treasure.

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One day I will have to go back and take a tour of the house.

After all the walking and all day outside, we were back at the hostel and in bed by 9pm. I have not been asleep by 9pm since I was in high school….

The Gratitude Challenge Week 7 and 8

I’m way behind, and a bit lazy, so I am doing two weeks at once.

Week 7 is all about one friend who I am grateful for while week 8 was all about expressing gratitude to three people.

7 is a no brainer. The woman who I am highlighting this week is Toni. We met while working for the University of San Diego. We bonded over filing and mocking law students, and our friendship is based on snark, sarcasm, and squirrels. When she finally met her soulmate, she allowed me to be the officiant.

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When I need a cute kid fix, she sends me pictures of my meow

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When I was terrified about walking into a meeting at Cal State Fullerton alone, she drove over 100 miles to come to the meeting and act as my council (knowing a lawyer is really handy). When my legal issues reach beyond her expertise, she hunted down a lawyer who was best suited to give me advice. There really are not enough words to express how grateful I am for her friendship.  I’m waiting for the day I can repay her for her kindness.

As for week 8, this was a hard one. I’m not very good at asking for help, and I am even worse at thanking people when they do help me. I have been a bit socially awkward lately in order to avoid having to explain what happened with CSUF, so my attempts to express my gratitude have been almost painful.

The first person I expressed my gratitude to was my therapist. My sessions with her have come to an end. Obamacare does not think that mental health is important, so I have to find low cost options to get help with my depression. The city of Brea offers a service, and I was matched with a great therapist. She really helped me cope with all of the nasty things that went on in the program, and helped me deal with the fallout of being asked to leave. Had it not been for her, the program really would have broken me. Unfortunately, I am only given a certain number of sessions, and now have to hunt for another manageable program.

The second person I expressed my gratitude to was a difficult one. When I visit my doc every few months, I have to give lots of blood and pee in a cup. Having gone through this procedure often enough, I know how much water I need to drink and when to be able to handle that, and I know that the veins in my right arm are better than the ones in my left. I also know which of the nurses has a light touch, and which one can never seem to find the vein. This week, I got Nurse Ratchet. She insisted on using my left arm, and when she jabbed the needle into my arm and missed the vein, I was none too pleased. I was ready to be mean, but instead decided to thank her and tell her how grateful I was that she was able to get my blood drawn quickly. She told I must have a low tolerance for pain, and then told me how to pee in the cup properly, I feel that my gratitude was somewhat wasted on her, but I did appreciate the lesson on how to pee in a cup (turns out I have been doing it wrong for years! Who knew?).

The third person who got a little of my gratitude this week was actually more than one person. My freshman level writing course were really good sports this week. I’m a big believer of technology, and the day I need to show a video and go over some grammar issues, the light in the projector blows up. My students did not complain and settled into hearing me discuss the lectures old school style. They actually took notes, asked questions, and did the writing assignment assigned to them. I don’t know if they are actually good people, or they knew that I did not want to be trifled with, but either way, I told them I was grateful that they kept their thoughts about the class to themselves.

Now that that is out of the way I can focus on my upcoming trip to Boston. It is snowmaggedon there, so it should be an interesting few days. I don’t think I will be seeing as many sites as I thought I would, but I am still going to try and get to Harvard Square and the Boston Commons. I may even go the bar where everybody knows your name.