Though we've been back from Boston since Sunday evening, this is the first chance I've had to work on photos (lots and lots of photos) and actually sit down and write. Whew! And there's that little thing known as Thanksgiving, which I'm also trying to prepare for--I'm guessing you understand all too well, dear reader, the time constraints this time of year.
So, we did get Olivia off to her MIT Splash! program, bright and early on Saturday morning. We practiced a bit of free-range parenting and let her out of our sight for ten hours a day where she navigated the campus by herself, just fine thanks (though she reports that it seemed a bit unnerving at times). I'm proud (and relieved) to report that she got to all her classes and had the chance to employ some creative coping skills. Though she didn't enjoy each and every class, she did love Criminal Justice and Science Discovers God. She said she already knew much of what was covered in Insects, and whole sections of the European History In Two Hours, as well, mainly the portion on WWII, since that is a particular interest of hers. In the course descriptions, it usually specifies if a student should have proficiency in an area of math, for example. When Olivia discovered pretty quickly that one of her classes was covering advanced probability math, she made the sound decision to leave the class, but she did it with tact and grace. I think overall, it was a worthwhile experience, though next time we would have her skip the meal ticket and just buy lunch at the student center instead.
Freaky cool buildings on campus.
While Olivia was in class, we spent the two days with Adam exploring some of Boston. Saturday we made like tourists and did the Quincy Market area. As it also happened to be the day of the tree lighting, there were lots of people about, along with choral groups performing and balloon-animal and yo-yo artists entertaining crowds. Since Adam had never had lunch at Quincy Market, we squeezed in, ate our chowder and pizza and let our feet rest for a moment.
While in the that part of Boston, we also visited the The New England Holocaust Memorial. I always find this memorial moving in its stark simplicity, and sheer overwhelming-ness--all those numbers!, but even more so when I see it through my son's eyes. Adam read every story, every word. I could see that he was similarly moved.
We also explored some of Chinatown that morning. I'm looking forward to returning when we're hungry--it smelled so good everywhere we went.
Late Saturday afternoon, we found a bench and admired the beautiful buildings for a bit, and then a funny thing happened.
A family strolls by, their baby drops a bit of their deflated balloon animal, but doesn't pick up the trash, so Adam collects the balloon bits and begins looking for a trash can, but there isn't one anywhere. So I suggest going into a nearby building to find a trash can. Adam, shrugging his shoulders as if to say, no problem, mother! I'll take care of it! turns and strolls into the nearest building. We see him get the attention of the receptionist, who then brings him over her personal trash can. He turns, strolls out of the building, which happens to be the U.S.Government Green Building Council. He's a helpful and confident soul, our Adam.
I swear that the highlight of the Boston experience for Adam was riding the T.
In his words, riding the T is fricken awesome!
Although he wasn't much a fan of the green line and it's connected and moveable sections--that spooked him some, I think.
Both the kids have ridden city buses, subways and Ts in other cities before, but it's been awhile and there just isn't that much opportunity to explore public transportation in Maine. By Sunday we were joking that the only mode of transportation we hadn't used in Boston was air travel. We took the water shuttle to Charlestown where we explored the Navy Yard.
On The U.S.S. Constitution
And on the U.S.S. Cassin Young, which Adam found irresistible for movie-making. I fully expect to see portions of this ship show up in Star Wars-esque films by our budding director in the near future.
After several hours looking at these fascinating boats, we picked up more of the Freedom Trail and walked up into the charming (ie, $2 million homes) and closely packed neighborhoods surrounding Bunker Hill. It was amazing to see just how much of Boston we could see from the top of the hill, even with feet planted firmly on the ground, thank you.
Alex and Adam opted to climb the 221 foot tall obelisk, however, and Adam says he can now check that off his bucket list. Bucket list? My 10 1/2 year old has a bucket list? And apparently this particular monument was on it? Who knew? Well, good, glad to help. They did get some great photos.
Tired and hungry, as it was now 3pm and we still had hours to kill before retrieving Olivia, we made our way through Charlestown to the orange line, just as the sun was setting and we slowly (emphasis on slowly as somebody had us get on the outbound train...eh hem Alex)...like I said, tired we were) made our way back to Cambridge.
After picking up Olivia, we happily listened to her stories about all the classes, professors, students and details of her two days for the trip home. Her notes from that probability class, called The Pigeon Hole Principle? Hilarious. She did take notes at first, but as they were expected to write out the math equations to solve the problem (ie, 10 black socks and 12 blue socks, calculate the maximum number of socks needing to be pulled from the drawer before one gets a pair of the same color) she found herself a bit lost, but to avoid looking lost, she just wrote out the alphabet. So her notes have the sock problem written out then ABCDEFGH...etc. Cracked. Me. Up. Like her Grampie Tim said--she demonstrated good coping skills right there, which is just as useful as any math problem.
We'll return to Boston soon, as we didn't do all the Freedom Trail, or any of it with Olivia. It's so great to have a big city nearby, yet come home again. Just in time to sit down to some pumpkin pie, as it happens. Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy those loved ones, count those blessings and be joyful--and in case you need help with that be joyful bit, read this.