As all good things come to an end, so must our trip! We took the T into town and spent some time copying and assembling our ‘zines. (They looked great!) Then it was off to find an authentic audience: inviting strangers to read them if we felt brave/comfortable, or secretly leaving them in inviting places to be discovered by an interested party.
It’s hard to believe how quickly our time was finished. One more tasty brunch, this time at Tatte, a feast for the eyes and the rest of the body.
Soon we were packing suitcases (that seemed to have grown magically larger?!?) into the vans and getting ready for the long drive back to Troy.
Special thanks to our Envoys guides, Susanne and Laura, for a wonderful time exploring Boston. This trip was a great balance between deep thinking/ethical considerations and enjoying an unfamiliar city (or seeing it through different eyes, for some). The time passed quickly, but the memories will last!
For our last full day, we got out of the city, driving about 30 minutes to an organic farm in Natick. We were able to learn about the beginning of maple sugar processing by indigenous people in the area.
This farm still produces syrup today (some of us bought some to bring home) and while the equipment is modern, the approach is largely the same: save a LOT of sap and boil off the water. 40+ gallons of sap makes one gallon of syrup. Our guide noted that the weather for this “sugar season” was not favorable. Generally speaking, sap is starting to run earlier in the year but a run of warm days without cold nights will put an early stop to the season. This farm can produce 200 gallons per season but this year made less than 100. Climate instability may eventually make maple sugar production impossible in areas we take it for granted.
Later in the day, we enjoyed a picnic lunch and a guided stroll around Walden Pond, where Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and writer, lived.
Finally it was time to start working on our ‘zines. We had a takeout pizza/pasta/salad dinner at the hotel and began crafting. A local alumna and member of the Alumnae Association Council, Maggie Bownes Johnson ’83 joined us for ice cream and conversation about her work in STEM. An alumna of both Emma Willard and Smith College, Maggie noted that Smith didn’t offer engineering classes when she attended. She studied math and computer science, and later got her MBA. Maggies has worked for large and small companies focusing on automation in factories. (Full disclosure: she is also Ms. McGivern’s VERY FAVORITE sister-in-law!) Thanks for coming to speak with us, Maggie!
Some worked late to add finishing touches to their ‘zines, others took the opportunity to pack and get to bed early. It was hard to believe our trip was almost over!
Someone forgot to take their big bottle of Pepsi with them. Now it is rocking back and forth on the metro, traveling the city and waiting to be picked up.
More details on the day, by Ms. McGivern
We started the day by dividing into two groups to explore different areas of Somerville, Davis Square and Central Square. My group started in Central Square and prepared an Amazing Race style challenge for the other half of our AWAY team. In doing so, we found a lot of interesting local sights, like the Graffiti Alley, where the street art is constantly changing …
A really cool bookstore …
Some snacks at H Mart, a Korean grocery store …
We set off to meet the other half of our squad at Davis Square, enjoyed a tasty Poke bowl lunch, and had a ceremonial handoff of our Amazing Race challenge!
Once the other team arrived at the Center Square T Stop, Susanne and Laura gave us the signal to begin and we were off!
How did the Amazing Race go? You will have to check the blog tomorrow for an update! 🙂
For the later part of the afternoon, we enjoyed time in the Harvard Museum of Natural History, which contains taxidermied animal specimens from all over the world, fossils, and these really beautiful glass models of sea creatures …
“[Goodale] commissioned life-like representatives of the plant kingdom for teaching botany. At the time only crude papier-mâché or wax models were available.
The life-size models include 847 species, with remarkably accurate anatomical sections and enlarged flower parts. Since the Glass Flowers are always in bloom, tropical and temperate species may be studied year-round.”
The glass flowers are truly amazing–one of our group commented that they haven’t been as tempted to touch something in a museum since they were 5 years old! They truly look like growing plants and flowers, right down to the roots, bark and occasional perfectly-imperfect leaf.
Another delicious meal at a Vietnamese restaurant (with very gracious hosts) and we were ready for rest. Tomorrow, a farm visit and Walden Pond!
We started our day on the Green Line, the oldest subway in the country.
We were on our way to Harvard Medical School, where we practiced treating a patient via a mannequin simulation. Our instructors helped us brainstorm all the information a provider would need to treat a new patient in the Emergency Department.
Our fake patient was named Lily, who suffered from a sudden onset of asthma.
Since Lily’s tests showed no physical abnormalities in the lungs, we surmised that her bronchioles may have constricted. We were able to give her the appropriate treatment, not just the albuterol medication, but also the reassurance that her side-effects were normal and would pass in a few minutes!
Afterward, we got lunch and went on a tour of some historical sites on the Freedom Trail in Boston; our tourguide, Tom, was very charismatic and seemed to deeply enjoy his job. Lastly, we spent the rest of the day walking around Quincy Market and trying various local foods.
We started off a little later, giving us such much needed extra sleep. Recharged, we went to explore Boston Commons and enjoyed a lackadaisical lunch in Boston Public Market. (Crepes, chowder, bagels, seafood, tea and even cider donuts!)
Afterward, we spent the next few hours within the Boston Science Museum. As a group, we saw a presentation about Deep Fakes, and then we splintered off into groups to witness the museum in its entirety.
Lastly, we debriefed, then walked through Boston Common to our dinner location and feasted on a variety of burgers and shakes.
Today, we set out on a tour of Harvard and saw pleasant campus greens and well-kept buildings while our tour guide joked, quipped, regaled us with stories of Harvard life. Afterward, we wandered around town and got lunch at Clover Food Labs, a cute cafe that’s science-themed! Fed and satisfied, we went on a tour of Cambridge’s most prolific science centers and labs and learned its history. Having thoroughly exhausted our legs from walking, we stopped to get beverages at another cafe, where we met and interrogated a biomechanics researcher. Lastly, we got dinner and discussed our bioethical concerns from the day, the main one being the limits of transhumanism.
We walked alongside the Charles River, then headed to the Boston Public Garden, which was founded in 1837. While we walked, we saw many cute animals and listened to the strums of street musicians. We then walked to the Boston Commons, which was founded over 200 years earlier in 1634, and has a lot of geese.
After a long but pleasant drive to our hotel in Boston, we greeted our fellow groupmates and trip supervisors with some casual conversation. We briefly unpacked and then set out to explore. Despite the frigid cold, we persevered enough to observe the subway system, the Charles River, and the Boston Public Garden. After which, we spent the next phase of our day ambling through and dining in China Town. After we dined, we got some bubble tea and headed back, thoroughly exhausted, to our hotel.
We arrived just before 1:00 pm (Thanks for driving, Ms. Babar and Ms. McGivern!) and were met by Susanne and Laura, our Envoys guides. The hotel kindly stored our bags while we had a snack and did a few activities to begin building our team for the week.
Many of us have visited Boston before but we still experienced something for the first time: a ride on the “T”, which we found out was the first subway built in the US, even older than New York City’s! Susanne gave us a crash course in reading the map. We even had our first volunteer group navigator later in the evening. (Way to go, Jenny!)
We had a blustery walk along the Charles River …
… where we met a cute puppy pal (with muddy paws) named Molly.
We spent some time in the Public Garden, which was beautiful even in its winter sleep. Some sure signs of spring could be seen: willows beginning to turn green, tree buds growing fatter!
We paused in Boston Common to share our observations.
Then it was off to Chinatown to explore before a delicious dinner.
In this photo we are joyfully awaiting food ordered for us by some student volunteers. Thanks for listening to preferences and dietary restrictions and sticking to our meal budget, friends! You did a great job. By the end there wasn’t much left over and we were all satisfied.
Just a quick note to say we are in Boston, have dropped our bags, met the amazing Laura & Susanne from Envoys, and are eager to start exploring. Thanks for the vegan meringues, Ms. Halfi! More later. ❤