Before the start of the International Student Orientation, I came back to the US a little early with my mom to do some traveling. We decided to go to Boston, MA, and spend a few days there.
When we first landed, I noticed that the weather was a good temperature to go walking around. It wasn't too sunny, nor was it too chilly. We stayed at the Newbury Boston for the entirety of the trip (we realized that hotel jumping was the last thing we wanted to do).
The hotel was located in the heart of town, which was great because we didn't rent a car - a lot of good restaurants and shops were located within walking distance, and it felt nice to get to know the town better.
Right next to the hotel was the Boston Public Garden; it was very well-kept, which made it a wonderful photo spot. When we were going around the area, we kept needing to walk through the park, which was much better than just walking next to the road with all the cars.
On this day, we went to the Museum of Science, which looked out onto the Charles River. I always love visiting science museums in any shape or form when I travel to new places. It's similar but different in many ways, with different displays and stations. I had a lot of fun here (as you can tell from my smiling face) and was practically running from one exhibition to the next, trying out all the interactive activities as if I were in elementary school again. One of the most memorable exhibits was seeing the world's biggest Van de Graaff. They had a little musical concert with the electricity buzzes, and I think I learned more about electricity during that 10-15 minute show than I ever did during class. I did take a video of the show, but below the collage of photos, I've put a YouTube video for a more comprehensive look at it.
On the second day of our time in Boston, my mom and I ventured to Brown University. It had similar vibes to Swarthmore, as the campus was nestled in nature and it was pretty quiet. I liked the buildings, though they all looked pretty similar. After a quick 'tour' (which was just us taking a stroll on the main campus), we took off to Providence.
Providence is a town located in Rhode Island, which is the smallest state in the US. The town had a very fascinating vibe to it. It seemed old, but some parts looked very modern and chic, and it held a whimsical atmosphere. We stumbled upon this restaurant, and they had the most beautiful colored tea in the world. Something about butterfly pea flower? It tasted as good as it looked. The food, of course, was also delicious.
I knew this was going to be a long day because my mom wanted us to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, which was around the Northeastern University campus. Don't get me wrong, I quite like going to art museums and galleries, but I did get scared by the fact that this museum was huge.
But actually, it was me who ended up getting really excited about all the exhibits there. I think out of the ten-something exhibits, we only left out two and saw all of them. We were there for hours, but I was just so intrigued by all these different themes.
I loved seeing paintings that I saw in books as a kid. They really seemed to come alive when I was standing in front of the actual painting rather than seeing it in print. I was also very excited when I saw that there was an exhibition dedicated to miniature artwork. I have an unending affection for small things and so I was capturing all those cute and intricate art in my camera. At the end of the day, my legs hurt so much, but I was glad that we went to MFA.
On the last full day in Boston, my mom and I decided to go to Harvard University. Sho's dad, who's a Harvard alumnus, told me some good photo spots around the campus. We weren't there for long, mostly because there were so many people touring the place, and it was pretty busy/noisy.
But what did catch my attention was the Harvard Museum of Natural History. As you can probably tell from my rampage at the Boston Museum of Science, I was very eager to get to this place, too. Though I don't consider myself much of a STEM girlie, when it comes to museums, I really can't seem to resist science museums!
From start to finish, I had a grin on my face. The first exhibition was all about gems, stones, and elements. All these colorful, sometimes sparkly, collections were a fantastic sight to see. I knew the names of some of them, so it was fun knowing what it actually looked like. Then, there were a whole lot of different animals on display, with different exhibitions for different species. It honestly felt like they were all live, which would have been pretty exhilarating (and scary - some of those prehistoric felines looked...terrifying), like a scene from the movie 'Night at the Museum'.
My favorite exhibit by far was the Glass Flowers exhibit. My mom, who's all about flowers and plants, also thoroughly enjoyed this one. What made this such a spectacular one is that usually, for a 'plant' exhibit, all you get is a bunch of pictures/photos of the plants because you can't really 'taxidermize' a flower. But what this museum did was that they had flowers made of glass on display! They were so intricately designed that there were so many life-like details, and by using glass as the primary material, the dainty and fragile look of the flowers was preserved. I learned a lot about different flowers, plants, and fruits. The descriptions talked about how they bloom, and pollinate, and some other interesting facts about them. We ended up spending 3-4 hours here until closing time.
On the 22nd, we had a wonderful brunch, eating a delicious lobster roll before heading to the airport to go back to Philadelphia. I really enjoyed my time in Boston - it was a nice middle-ground between New York City and Philadelphia.