Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trot Trot To Boston...

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.

MIT Splash

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.

lunch at Quincy Market

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.

Holocaust Memorial
all those numbers

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.

Beaux Arts
old and new
blue sky windows

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.

a good deed

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.

not a fan of the greenline

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.

the water shuttle
Boston Harbor

On The U.S.S. Constitution

U.S.S. Constitution
below decks
below decks on Old Ironsides

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.

U.S.S. Cassin Young
so many possibilities
using his imagination

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.

Adam on Adams St.
Storrey St.
surrounding Bunker Hill
around Bunker Hill

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.

Bunker Hill Monument
checking it off his bucket list
birds eye of Boston
view from the top
looking out

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 hem Alex) I said, tired we were) made our way back to Cambridge.

sunset from the T

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.


  1. Looking at your pictures reminds me that I am way overdue for a visit to Beantown. Looks like you guys had a fabulous time. I miss taking trains and am looking forward to getting my little one on the T since unlike her brother who spent his early years in Chicago and is well versed in public transit. The little one has only been on a bus once and that was here in Maine which really doesn't compare.

  2. From one free range momma to another...kudos on being able to let your girlie have that kind of freedom and stretch her wings a bit. Oh, it's hard, but worth it, isn't it?? After seeing your photos, I'm thinking that Boston might need to be on MY bucket list! What a fun and educational tour!!!

  3. What a great experience for all of you!

  4. that looked fun. i think logan would love to do the MIT thing in a year or two. :)




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...