Sunday, July 12, 2009

Boston Trip ~ What I've learned:

In no particular order, here are some various lessons I've more or less picked up from my ultra-cool time in Boston, Massachussetts, living all on my own except for my twin sister:
  1. Animaniacs is the best cartoon show in the entire world!!! These guys have the greatest sense of humor I've ever seen in animated characters. Honest. Yakko's World has quite probably become the theme music to this trip. And I can sing it at any time now, at the drop of a hat. I memorized it perfectly, just like my social security number. Animaniacs should get another chance on T.V. I've reserved DVDs of their show from the library, so then I won't need to see them on YouTube anymore.
  2. You're never lost for too long. You always find your way back... eventually. This means that no matter how bad things look, when you have no idea where you are or what's going to happen next, you should hold on to your sanity and trust that everything is happening for a reason and that you'll get home safe and sound. Of course, it really does help if you've got a good map handy on you, and you see street signs nearby to give you a clue where you are. But even if you don't have a map, you have to be smart, and go up and ask people for directions. The people you stop in the street will most probably be very helpful and point you in the right direction. You will get to where you need to go.
  3. Laugh at yourself, and don't worry about the little things! When I look back at some of the things that happened to me, I can't help but think that particular times were just plain funny. Like when it was raining really hard one morning, and I was to go off to the Star market all by myself while Annette made some call at a payphone (I think to organise our Berklee tour), and I didn't get the umbrella. I got soaking wet in that rain like you wouldn't believe, waiting for the train to come. And then later a car splashed me in a puddle, and got me soaked to the skin! And what did I do? I laughed! Literally. It was like I'd been at a water-park or something, and even though I was cold, I had fun, so I laughed. This also applies to when the security guards took away our spaghetti silverware on Independence Day, or confiscated our peanut-butter jar on our flight home. That sure was funny.
  4. Live by the old boy-scout rule: Be prepared. Without our parents around, this lesson definitely worked it's way into my head. When leaving your living quarters for the day, you always have to check whether you have everything you're going to need. Things such as enough money for the day's expenses (Annette and I lived on $40 a day, which was more than enough, btw), an umbrella (in case you're in a place that rains often), a camera (for chronicling adventures ^,~), perhaps snacks (if you're not going to eat out), enough water (must keep hydrated), a watch (for knowing the time), and of course the keys, because you do not want to lock yourself out (luckily this never happened to us). I can't think of any other necessary supplies right now, but as the situation calls for it, just try your best to remember everything, and 9 times out of 10, you won't go wrong (made up statistic. ^,~)
  5. Flying in an airplane is awesome! Yes, it's pricey, but it's so much fun, isn't it?! I highly recommend getting a window seat. There's no better way to spend a flight than gazing out into the sky, a view that just a century ago people would never have dreamed of seeing. Especially if you're flying in the day. If you're unlucky enough to not get a window seat, please take something good to read. You need to be as occupied as possible, because frankly, the ride itself is a little boring after a half hour or something, when you're ears have popped and the novelty of flying has worn off. But still, flying is really fun!
  6. I've realized that I like huge crowds. There are plenty of good and bad aspects of being in a large crowd. Some downsides are that you get pushed around a lot of the time, you have to stand in lines a lot, you could get separated from your party and get lost, and you feel helpless, small and pretty insignificant. But a good thing is that you're usually right in the middle of something big, and you know that everyone's having the same experience you are. When lots of different people come together for a special occasion or purpose, the energy you feel is just... awesome.
  7. Visiting college campuses are educational and fun! Trust me, I went on a lot of such tours. Even the bad ones were pretty fun, to some extent. When you visit a college and get led around by a student who knows a lot about the place they study, it's a really informative and unique experience. No college tour is quite alike (probably because no college offers quite the same things for students). You sure get a lot more info than you can from a website, because you actually talk to real people, and you can ask them questions. Make sure to participate a lot in a tour. Show your interest.
  8. Walking is the best form of exercise around. It sure is a wonder that I didn't wear out the soles of my shoes with all the walking I did! Even all over the Freedom Trail, and the times we got lost, and walks around the reservoir and everything. But walking is really peaceful and relaxing, when you're in the right environment. It's great walking somewhere you've never been before. Better than biking or driving a car or some other transportation, because it's easier to stop and smell the flowers or something. Maybe your feet will hate you at the end of each trip, but you'll feel soooo good inside!
  9. Not all things last forever -,- I was really sad when I learned that various stores and locations I'd grown to love in my Boston summers were closed down, like the Circle Cinema, and the Brighton library, and that Barnes and Nobles close to the three parks. Very disappointed. Some people can be so dumb, getting rid of beloved places like that. >,<
  10. I really ought to stop blabbering on and on about the day, maybe stop writing prolific posts altogether! Even if no one was to read this blog and I didn't have to worry about what others will think, this blog is basically for me and my memories. So if only for my own sake, I ought to stop making lengthy posts like these. The next trip I go on, I promise I will be a lot better about putting in some time to blog a little, and never get sidetracked and leave it for later. Because then the memories won't be very fresh, like a few days old or something, and they might stink when I write them. So I'll make sure to write plenty of notes. I PROMISE!
Phew! Until next time! Traveler Bettina Levy is over and out!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Last Day of Boston Trip ~ Day 16

Lucky for you, since it was the last day I ever spent in Boston on this trip, I remember a lot of what happened even without notes. And thank goodness it was the last day! I was starting to miss my family so much, and was really looking forward to being back with them soon. (But even though I've already been back for a couple days and loving it so far, I do kind of miss the apartment we stayed in, and our Cleveland Circle neighborhood. Every day was such an adventure. And now, I don't know, it's kind of... normal. Never mind. I'll keep writing about the last day now.)

Annette and I woke up early, which was good because we wanted to make lots of preperations. Our mom, Shira, had told us that we should do a laundry of the bed sheets and clean a little around the place, like, sweep up the floors for dust and such. In short, we did that stuff. We also packed everything that we had stowed away in the big dresser when we'd first arrived. We also gave the keys to our room to a guy who lives upstairs in another room our parents rent out. He'd give the keys to a new guy who would come the next day to replace us.

Then we took one more walk around the reservoir. I think we saw swans there for the first time since we'd been in Boston. That was nice. Annette and I also had fun thinking up a cool new melody for Yakko's World, kind of a jazzy thing. Maybe someday we'll film ourselves sinnging the song quickly and put it on YouTube or something. I'll let you know if I do on my regular blog. When we were done with the walk, we decided to have lunch at the Eagles Deli. Another large plate of fries. Yeah, I know, I said fries are bad for you. But it was still tasty.

When we got home, it was still a couple hours until we had to leave for the airport. We had it all planned out. Our flight left at 7:15, so we had to be at the airport a couple hours early, like say 5:00 or 4:00 to be safe. Therefore, we needed to get on the train early, because it really takes a while to get to the airport. But we had some time, so we went on YouTube and watched some cartoons before we had to put away the computer.

You might think we were watching more Animaniacs, right? Uh, no. Not this time. Annette and I knew that Steven Spielberg had made a couple other cartoon shows other than the Animaniacs, like Tiny Toon Adventures (we saw a clip or two of that, and I do not think it was Steven's best work. >,<) and this crazy super-hero spoof called Freakizoid. Well, my twin and I got into Freakizoid. Not as obsessed as we are with Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner, but we think Freakizoid is pretty funny. The show has pretty much the same good sense of humor. It's such a shame these shows were cancelled! I won't give you any links this time, but please search Freakizoid cartoons on YouTube. I don't think you'll be sorry.

Anyway, we saw Freakizoid right until the last minute, and then we figured we better get going quickly, so we got the computer in it's case, made sure that the room left absolutely no trace that we'd been there (except the made-up bed for the new tenant) and locked our door one final time. We went to the kitchen and took out our last bit of food from the refrigerator. Some apples, peanut-butter and some bread. (We planned to make P-B & apple slice sandwiches at the airport. Not enough time.) We decided to take the "C" because, as we'd learned before, even though the "B" stopped in front of our house, it took way too many stops. Besides, the "C" is a lot more reliable.

It was hard carrying all our stuff to the station. It was a couple blocks away, you know. But we made it, only just catching the train. What divine timing! ^_^ Then we were able to relax for a bit, until we had to switch to the Blue Line at Government Center. 4 stops later, we were at the airport station. We had to wait a little while for the shuttle bus to come around, but then it came and took us to the actual airport quickly enough. Security was easy again, only they found about our peanut-butter jar and said we couldn't take it along. Jeez! So no P-B sandwiches. ~,~ Well, we nibbled on plain bread and ate the apples whole. No big deal, really, we didn't go hungry. But still, sheesh!

So we were there at the right time. A couple hours early. We hung around in that waiting area for quite a while. At least they had a TV there, but it was only for news. We watched some more stuff about MJ's death and such. Soon, when it was nearly time to board, we saw the flight was delayed 15 minutes, and there was apparently not a lot of room in the overhead storage areas for luggage, so our larger bags had to be checked. Don't worry, they did it for free. Annette and I were lucky to be one of the first to get on the plane, and to have near the front seats. Plus a window seat! Yay!

Annette and I switched off a bunch of times which one of us got to seat in the window seat. I loved it when we took off. I think that's the best part. You look down and you see everything shrinking away while you go up and up... what a feeling. And with all the low-hanging clouds, the land disappeared very quickly. Being above the clouds was so cooooollll! Magical! I imagined that we were actually in Antarctica or something and the clouds were snow, or mountains. I just couldn't believe the view. And to see the clearest sky possible, when you're well above the weather below, with the sun shining so brightly. Awesome. But the sunset we saw while flying, that had to be the best part. Just the most fantastic sunset I've seen in relatively recent memory.

(It's funny, we didn't listen to our iPod too much, and without any reading material with us we focused a lot more on what was outside, so that's mostly what I remember. But I think those are good memories, don't you? ^,~)

Now on the plane, a while before we were to land, Annette and I thought about how we were going to greet our parents and brother when we finally saw them after 16 days of separation. I believe I was the one who came up with the idea that when we see our little bro Adam, we'd both say, at the same time, "Hel-LOOOO, Moosh!!!," kind of like the Animaniacs say "Hello, Nurse!" (Why Moosh, you ask? It's an inside family joke, see. Nuff said.) So anyway, after we landed and had called our parents to pick us up now, and after Annette and I had collected our luggage from that carousel thing and went outside to wait for several minutes, we finally see our good old family-mobile pull up and Adam comes out of the car and says, "Hello, sisters!!!" (Whadaya think? He beat us to the punch! ^_~) So hilarious!

Okay, here's the final stretch here, folks. You have almost arrived at the end of this particular adventure. All you need to know is that it was soooo great to see our parents again, and we hugged and kissed them a lot of times, and they asked us questions and at home had a wonderful dinner prepared for us, even though it was hovering around 11:00. But we were hungry, and our mom makes the best stuff! Then we went online and showed Adam some more Animaniacs clips that we hadn't emailed him and he hadn't seen before. I guess that kind of got out of hand, and we went to sleep past midnight or something. Brushing my teeth was cool tonight; finally, we could use an electric toothbrush!

Yes! I did it! I almost wanted to give up a couple times on chronicling this entire saga, but I did it! Now you know what I did on this trip!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Days 13, 14 & 15: Our last days

Um, okay. This is going to be hard for me to recount. Why did I not write more notes?! The details of it are slipping slowly out of my head, like the trip was all a dream! Still, I'm gonna try my best to get all the last few days out of my way. This is definitely a good lesson for me for when I go on future trips. ALWAYS WRITE NOTES! (Or at the very least, find some time to blog every day so I don't get too bogged down. Or maybe I should stop being so awfully prolific!)

July 5: Okay, so obviously this was after all the Independence Day excitement had gone down a bit. Strangely, I think we woke up pretty early, like at 7:00, despite our late night. (Though I could be wrong. No notes. >,<) We touched base with Benny, Shira and Adam to tell them what a fun weekend we'd had so far. That was great. Then Annette and I started making plans for the day. Since it was Sunday, we decided to get bagels from Kupels again, only this time we would take them to the beach. Yeah. Turns out there's a beach in Boston! How cool! You have to go nearly all the way down the Blue Line train, to Revere beach.

So we bought the bagels, and stopped by at the three parks just for a little while. We wanted to go on the tire swing for a ride just once before we had to leave soon. There were still people at the park, so it was a little weird just waiting for our turn after those little kids. Then finally Annette got on and I tried pushing her to make it spin fast, but the swing squeaked and made an awful racket. Unanimously, Annette and I decided we were just too old to be doing this sort of thing (at least with everyone watching) so we left without me getting a try. I was alright with that.

It takes quite a while to get to the beach, so Annette had ample time to teach my the song. If you've been reading up until now, you know the one I'm talking about. I knew the first verse very well, though I kept tripping over the words "Republic Dominican." Oh my gosh, wait a second!!! I completely forgot an important detail about the previous couple of days! My voice was a little hoarse, so the Independence day concerts didn't really do anything to improve my condition. I don't know what caused it, but I was only able to whisper and talk like the Godfather or something. So my singing was completely off. So that added to my trouble of memorising Yakko's World. But thankfully, on this day my voice got steadily better and I was able to memorise the last two verses surprisingly fast! I mean, I didn't get it all in one go. I kept tripping over words and forgot some countries, but I got them in my head.

Let me say that the beach was nothing short of amazing! Well, then again, maybe I'm exagerating. It was a beautiful beach, to be sure. The water was calm, the sand was soft, yellow and fine, and the wonderful blue sky added to its beauty immensely. But... it smelled very fishy. Literally, like fish. There was lots of brown, icky seaweed on the shore that gave a weird odor. But it wasn't so bad, easy to ignore. I didn't let it spoil the day. We enjoyed making bagel sandwiches and talking and enjoying the day. You know, it was really fun because it was the first time Annette and I had ever come to any beach completely by ourselves! All the other times had been with our family. Huh. We changed into bathing-suits and tried out the water. You would probably expect it, but nothing can prepare you for how cold the ocean is!!! Even dipping your feet in! Brr-r-r! Still, I was determined not to be a wimp, and so was Annette.

We went in up to our belly-buttons, and I spotted a bee drowning nearby. Maybe you'd find it extremely weird, but I love all animals and creatures, so I saved that bee. I scooped it out and stood very still. It was a little on the big side for a bee, and I didn't want to bother it and let it sting me. The bee buzzed its wings a bit to dry itself off and started cleaning his face and legs and, well, have you ever seen an insect do its little cleaning routine on an educational movie? It's fascinating. I stood frozen like a tree, even though the water was still very cold and my inaction made it a little harder to bear. I would estimate with my logical mind it took ten minutes for the bee to get dry, but it sure felt like forever. Finally it seemed to feel well enough to fly off of my hand and far away.

I felt really good about saving a life, even a seemingly insignificant one. In my imagination, I bet the bee was pretty grateful to me and will probably tell his bee buddies never to sting me, because I saved him. But then again, I don't think I've ever been stung by a bee anyway. Oh well, it's good to make sure. (Mosquitoes, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. I've been bitten plenty of times by them. Oh wait, I'm going off on a tangent. Darn.)

Um, let's see. We ate bagels, I repeated the song over and over, I went into the water up to my neck (oh, my arms felt like they were absolutely on pins and needles, it was so freezing!) and later we packed everything up and went for ice-cream. The last part was pretty spontaneous. We both got it in a bowl this time. I had Reeses flavor and Annette had strawberry-banana. (Those who know me well might wonder why Annette went for the pink flavor and I didn't. Interesting pattern here... I had carrot cake and candy flavors and Annette's had fruity flavors. Huh.) I think that was kind of it for the day, 'cause I don't remember anything else.

July 6: So on this day, the big thing I remember is that we went on another college tour. Berklee College of Music. (Not to be confused with the Berkley from California. It doesn't have a "y.") My dad Benny went to this school, so we wanted to visit it. Even though I'm not all that interested in a musical career, Annette and I thought it would be cool to go see it.

And I'm glad I did! I would have to honestly say that, since this was the last college tour we went on in this trip, out of all the schools we visited (excepting maybe Emerson), Berklee had the best tour ever! The two tour guides were both guys, for one thing. (Well, the MIT tour guide was a guy, but he doesn't count because he was handling a huge crowd. And I guess one of the tour guides at Emerson was a guy, but we didn't go with him, we went with those two girls, remember?) One of them had a cool hair-style, but spoke a little quiet, though he was still nice. The other one was really friendly and had a clear voice, confidence, and a sense of humor. Unsurprisingly, this guy stands out in my memory. His name was Alex, and he said he liked Mountain Dew a lot. (I just go with regular water myself. I just noted his Mountain Dew addiction because an interesting trait makes for interesting people.)

These guys sure showed us what a cool school Berklee is. I'm sure that if I was at all interested in music, this would be the place for me. Fun facts: Did you know that music is the second most lucrative business after computer related stuff? And that Quincy Jones and Alan Silvestri went to Berklee? Pretty neat. When the group separated, I was glad that we went with Alex. Near the end of the tour, he took us to this neat recording room, and a friend of his talked about her experience at Berklee. She was kind of into business and production. Really a nice personality. (I think later Alex said that he had a crush on her that she'd never know about, but I don't know if he was telling the truth or teasing.)

After the tour, Annette and I went to a pizza place we remembered going to one time with our family, Little Steve's Pizza, or something. We just ordered plain slices. It was weird though. The guy running the place was a big Italian guy and had... I don't know, a gravelly voice? I'm not sure how to describe it, but he had a voice kind of like the Godfather. And it wasn't like my voice was, because I was sick; this guy had that Italian sound. I don't know, for some reason after leaving that place, I was pretty relieved to get out. The guy scared me a little. (Don't worry, I didn't show that I was in front of him.)

I'm not really sure what we did after that, but I know that later that night Annette and I started seeing Michael Jackson's old music videos on YouTube. I hadn't seen any of them before besides Thriller. He is really a great entertainer. Er, sorry. Was. I mean, I knew it already because I love his music, but it's so cool to see how he danced and acted in those short movies. He pretty much invented MTV! Um, I don't really have a closer for this, so I'll just go to the next day.

July 15: Er, he he. It looks like I'm unintentionally being extra prolific in this post. Well, why should I be embarrassed about it? This is my blog, isn't it? And I'm sure I'm not the only one who writes blogs this long. (Of course, I haven't really read any of those. I'm not sure who would, come to think of it...) But lucky for you, I can honestly barely remember this day.

I do remember that Annette and I had wanted to go back to the Arnold Arboretum, but for some reason it looked very gloomy and rainy again, just like how we'd come there. We didn't want a repeat of last time, so we didn't end up going. ~,~ Too bad.

One of the things I know we did was that in the evening, we went to Presto's Pizzaria, and instead of pizza we ordered their spaghetti. The servings were very generous! And they gave us yummy garlic bread too! I love Italian food so much! Especially pasta! Give me pasta any day and I'm happy. (Though not every day. I like variety.) And during the day, I finally got the whole Yakko song and Annette and I had fun seeing who could do it faster, like Yakko does.

I also think Annette and I climbed up our special tree some time in the day and sat on a thick branch, just talking. Like now that our adventure was soon to be over, what were we going to do with our lives? Very deep stuff like that. I love those kind of talks with my twin. Oh, and while we were talking, this guy came by with his dog, saw us up there and gave a chuckle, saying he didn't see a lot of kids climbing trees anymore. Pretty inspirational, he said. Then he went away. Huh. Maybe he's right. I love climbing trees. Too bad not many other people do too.

Besides those things, I can't be sure of anything. The whole day was like a dream. Um, we got a little started packing for the way home, putting away all our clothes, except for the ones we were going to wear tomorrow. That's it. Now give your eyes a rest before you have to read my next post. You deserve it. (Especially if you read this whole thing in one go! ^,~)