Monday, June 29, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Day 7

I was very tired when I woke up this morning. Somehow I remembered that I'd had some very strange, vague dreams, but I couldn't quite make sense of them. Oh well. Annette went and got the Metro paper by herself while I slept in, and then we ate bananas and strawberries for breakfast. This time Annette and I decided we were okay to walk around the reservoir, but we mixed it up a little by separating and walking different ways by ourselves. That was fun, getting some "me" time. I listened to the iPod for the first half, and hardly anyone was around, so I was able to sing along as loudly as I wanted and dance around too. (One was a Stevie Wonder song that since watching Happy Feet I can never stand still to, so I half walked, half "tap-danced" with my sneakers. That was pretty fun. ^,^ Whoops, now I'm embarressed that I told you guys. ;P) When my twin and I met up in the middle, Annette got the iPod for the rest of the walk.

When we got home we had some Joe's Os to snack on, then we left for our AIB tour. That stands for the Art Institute of Boston. We had to wait for the "B" train to show up for such a long time that we walked part of the way near the tracks before the train finally arrived. Then we forgot all about the fact that the "B" makes a lot more stops than the "C" does (the C is the one we usually take). So this made us a little late. Plus when we got there we got a little lost and had some trouble finding the school. Luckily we found a local Barnes and Noble nearby, so we asked a guy behind the counter if we were near the school. He said yes and pointed us out in the right direction.

I'd have to say that the tour was... okay. We missed about ten minutes of it, but that was no big deal. The tour group was quite small (which, to me, was an indication of how interested people were), the tour guide girl leading us spoke very fast (went over my head part of the time. Perhaps my mind was on other things) and the rooms we visited, to me, were pretty boring. (Well, this was an art school, and Annette is the one interested in art, not me, so what did I care?) Nevertheless, I reached the conclusion that I would most likely never attend AIB, and that out of the three colleges we'd visited thus far, UMass, Emerson and AIB, I liked Emerson the best. It was the most entertaining, anyway.

Once done with the tour, we headed back for the Barnes and Noble we'd found and *yay!* hung around for a while to read. I had a great time! I found the YA section and, after much searching, spotted a copy of The Hunt for Dark Infinity! (For those who are not James Dashner literate, this is the second novel in the 13th Reality series, which I love, that I've been looking forward to reading for ages, since it opened in March or something. I was really excited for this book!) I sat down in a... well, not quite a comfy chair, but it was a chair... and read ten chapters straight! Incredible, huh? It was quite awesome to read! James has definitely done it again! I knew we had to do this again sometime soon.

When we left the bookstore we were kind of hungry, so we started looking for the Cheesecake Factory, a restaurant we knew was somewhere in the area. I'd never been to a Cheesecake Factory before, so when we found it, I was quite impressed with it. It was a lot fancier than I expected it to be (well, it's got "factory" in the name, so I thought there would be much humbler surroundings, but it's really a great place for fine quality dining!) A very nice ambience of dishes and conversation buzzed in the background, and I kind of felt like I was in a movie. Our server was very nice too. It was quite funny, me and my twin eating in a fine restaurant by ourselves for the first time! Made me feel a little extra grown-up. ^,^ We ordered a big, fancy lunch of, to quote the menu, a Luau salad (hold the chicken), Evelyn's Favorite Pasta, and a slice of Craig's Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake (Try saying that 5 times fast!), split between us to share. Delish! Of course, since our parents weren't around, we were the ones to pick up the tab. But it was still cool.

Finally, full and satisfied with our meal, we went home and were able to relax. We decided to go on YouTube for a little while, but little did I know that we'd actually be on for a long while! Like, for two hours worth! What could we have been watching, you ask?

Animaniacs cartoons!

I would like to say a big thank you to a good blogger friend, Rainy.Roni, for actually reintroducing us to the Animaniacs with Yakko's World. I think that set off the whole thing.Those characters are absolutely hilarious, you have no idea! Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner. I am now obsessed with them! (Unlike my friend J. N.'s obsession with Sweeney Todd, I have to see a new Animaniacs cartoon every time, because it's never enough!)

Later in the evening we were so laughed out that we decided to send our brother Adam an email with some Animaniacs cartoons that we particularly enjoyed. These are the links that we sent him:
"The Kid in the Lid"

These all made Annette and me crack up! Please watch them (all of them!), and tell me that they don't set you off on an Animaniacs spree yourself! Needless to say, I went to bed happy and grinning. ^_^

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Day 6

For some reason I woke up slightly later than usual, I think 9:00-ish, so I broke the 7:00 spell I guess. By this time I'd decided it was okay to check my friends' blogs (I'd been trying to resist for a while) and this morning I saw that Graham had Chopped about Pendragon! He did an awesome job. ^_^ Here's the link, for those who are curious about that. Anyway, Annette and I talked to our parents and Adam for 25 minutes, which made that our longest Skype conversation ever!

We had mango for breakfast, and then we went to the kitchen and cut vegetables for our bagel picnic. See, all the summers I'd been to Boston before, our family had made a tradition in which we'd head down Beacon Street to this small bakery place, Kupel's, and get some bagels and cream cheese to share at this fun kids park that seemed to have three distinct play-areas, one of which had a couple awesome tire-swings! I loved getting dizzy on those things!

So Annette and I walked all the way to Kupels and bought half a dozen sesame bagels plus a couple apple turnovers as treats. But you know something that incredibly shocked me? There used to be a Barnes and Noble very close to those three parks, and now it's gone! The building was completely empty! I just could not believe it! Well, how would you feel if one of your favorite bookstores went out of business and you were the last to know about it, and books were your lifeline? Pretty darn peeved, like me, I'd imagine. Well, we ate a couple of our bagels, but 6 bagels seemed to be an awful lot for just two people, you know. We watched little kids play on tire swing. I wanted to go on too, but we were full and didn't want to get cramps or anything, plus the weather didn't look too good. And anyway, I guess it would be pretty silly of two teenage girls to be playing in a kiddy playground.

Since Barnes and Noble was gone, and we wanted to relax in a place with books in it, we decided on going to the Brookline library. Remember, the one that wasn't closed for renovations, but our cards don't work on it? Now that was a long walk. (What else is new?) It's a little funny now, but when we finally got to the door, we were annoyed to find that the library was closed on Sundays! Why didn't we use our brains? Grrrr! We had to walk all the way back and grumpily take the train home. Needless to say, we were quite disappointed about how the first part of the day had gone. No B&N, no library. *pout* So to cool off we watched YouTube for a while, trying to search for clips of the videos we'd tried taking out from the library the other day. Mainly we saw Marx Brothers clips. Here's a couple links to the funny ones:

Eventually we got back on the train to go to the Museum of Science. We were looking forward to catching an educational IMAX movie there. I tell you, this was a much more successful trip, and I enjoyed this part of the day very much. We were not late at all; in fact, I think we were half an hour early! So we bought the tickets and while we waited outside we examined this cool exhibit full of "interesting rocks." They sure were interesting. There was the U.S.'s oldest rock, a rock taken from the highest and lowest points on Earth, I think a rock that weighed a couple tons (I'll bet they needed a lot of help getting that one there!) and also this cool pink quartz rock. Annette and I had quite an awesome time examining and feeling the rocks for their different textures and reading the plaques that went along with them.

Eventually it was time for the show, and it was really cool because instead of a normal, flat, rectangular screen, they have this strange kind of dome thing in front of you that covers the edges of your peripheral vision when you look at it. When the movie started, they first did a cool sound demonstration with the guy who played Spock (Leonard Nimoy) and how the sounds were all surrounding us. Very complex and awesome. And then the movie itself was just incredible! What a show! The visuals are so interesting; because it plays on your peripheral vision, the film makes you think what you're seeing is real! It was all about DaVinci, risk-taking, and a lot of sky-diving and jumping off of cliffs. It was so exciting! (I fancy myself jumping out of an airplane someday. I don't know, you guys might think that's scary, but to me it sounds ultra-awesome!) It was funny, when the movie started, it made me think I needed seat belts for the ride or something! The music that went with it just made the adrenaline pump big time! I mean, wow. If all movies were shown like that...

So when the movie ended, we had a couple more bagel sandwiches on a picnic bench nearby (we didn't finish them, remember?) and later we took the train home to Cleveland Circle, though before that we stopped by at a market called Trader Joes, to get a box of Joe's Os, a cereal we really like that you can only get from that store. Another old tradition of ours. Anyway, we stopped and had the remaining bagels on the green of this empty baseball park close-ish to the apartment. It was very peaceful there. While eating, my twin and I reflected on how the day had gone by. Sure, the morning had been kind of sucky, but thanks to the Museum, we agreed it hadn't been a complete loss. I mean, every day is comprised of bad times and good times. I guess you just can't let the bad parts get you down too much. (Though the "death" of my favorite bookstore really made me sad at the time. ~,~)

At home we finished the leftover pasta from Friday (delicious), and then we blogged and researched a little on Google Maps. (We had to go to AIB in the morning, you know.) Finally, completely pooped out, we went to bed. There. I hope you were entertained with my day. (And you better check out those Marx links. They are funny!)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Day 5

For some reason, Annette and I always seem to wake up just before 8:00 in the morning. No noise wakes us or anything, we just... get up. I wonder if there's any significance in that. Anyway, we lay in bed for a while longer, until we remembered that it was our Grandpa's birthday today, and Shira had suggested that we send him an email wishing him a happy one. So that's what we did. (Out of respect for his privacy, I will not disclose how old my grandfather is today. ^_~)

We relaxed a lot today. Well, it is the weekend. We just took our sweet old time, and then got ready to go on the Freedom Trail. We took the train and started at the Boston Commons. (Which is funny, because that's where we were yesterday!) The trail was easy to find: It's just a red bricked line in the sidewalk.

Follow the red brick line, follow the red brick line, follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the red brick line...

He he, sorry. Oz moment. ^,~
Anyway, we had a lot of fun walking along the trail, and we saw lots of cool statues and plaques and landmarks on the way. A memorable place we hung around was the graveyard where Paul Revere and a host of other 18th century people died. It was pretty cool, though a little weird too. I don't believe I've ever been to a graveyard before. (If you don't count the one I saw near the Haunted Mansion in DisneyWorld when I was 10. That was silly.) I wasn't creeped out or anything, but I was strangely sad for all the people that had been buried there. We looked at some of the headstones and saw that lots of people hadn't lived very long, which was a shame. Hmm, graveyards. They make you think pretty deep. I wondered about how many lives in total have graced the planet over the years...

Oops, don't want to go on another tangent. Anyway, we followed the line a long way and saw familiar sights, such as Faneuil Hall and the Hay Market. We passed by them quickly because we planned on returning there later. We saw North End, also known as Little Italy, a quaint neighborhood, and crossed over the enormous Charlestown Bridge. By this time we were getting quite tired, but we had to continue walking if we wanted to reach the end. Which, at last, we did. We reached the end of the trail, right in front of the Bunker Hill Monument. (The Freedom Trail actually ends in two different places; the other end goes to this harbor with a ship called the U.S.S. Constitution, but we thought Bunker Hill would be cooler.)

Bunker Hill Monument is basically this huge stone tower on a hill. It looks boring, but it's a great tourist trap because it dares you to climb 294 steps to the top. Well, although Annette and I were already footweary, we couldn't take that lying down! So we climbed. And climbed. Boy, did we climb up those steep stairs! You might think taking roughly 300 steps is nothing, but we were taking them up, in a spiral direction! In a poorly lit tower, and not really knowing if we'd ever make it to the end (though the steps were clearly marked by their number every 25 steps or so). It almost made the Freedom Trail seem like a piece of cake! Okay, you get it. Very tiring climb.

Obviously, since I'm back and writing this, it's safe to assume I got to the top. (Well, I sure wasn't gonna be a wimp, give up and go down again after everything!) The view was pretty nice, but it was worth it for the short video I took of Annette all tired. I was as tired as she was, but I was the one filming, so... I tell ya, even going down that thing, though more fun than going up, is really the workout! Anyway, once safe on the ground, my twin and I celebrated by having a sandwich picnic. Very relaxing.

Reluctantly we picked ourselves up and walked onward to the nearest "T" stop, (which wasn't very near, by the way! ~,~) We had to rely quite heavily on our map to know where to go. Then we took the train to the Haymarket station. (Remember I said we'd go back there? The Haymarket is a place one can get very low priced fruits and vegetables that's only open a couple days out of the week. Just thought I'd explain.) So we got off the train, and we had no idea where we were! Turns out that the actual Haymarket is not particularly close by it's so named train stop. It was simply infuriating. Oh, and it was very dark and gloomy and the clouds seemed to hang very close to the ground, so it was more than a little chilly. (Not weather I'm very used to.)

Again though, it's quite aparent that we didn't remain lost for long, and we finally found the market. We also found "the Famous One," which is a pizza place that is, well, famous for it's cheap pies. We ordered a big pie to share between us, and while we ate we switched turns getting lots of low-priced produce. I was very proud of how I handled myself on my turns. It's very different from going to a supermarket, because like, people are shouting all the time, because they're hoping to be the ones to get your business.

At last, we got all the stuff we needed and took the train home, though let me say that our groceries were quite heavy! We packed the food in our little corner of the fridge well enough, I must say. While we stuffed everything in, Leroy the dog came in and licked our faces. I liked that. ^_^ Then we rested for some time, relaxing our bodies. And then later that night, since it was nice and dry and hadn't rained in a while, we thought it would be cool to check out our initial tree, even though it was getting dark. We climbed the tree all the way to the top, and it was so much fun. Climbing a tree is soooo different from climbing a tower! ;P We hung around for a while (ha ha, hung around) and when we got bored we went back to the apartment and watched YouTube for a while until bedtime, though what we saw, I haven't a clue anymore.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Day 4

I woke up at 7:30ish (always wake up around that time for some reason!) and felt really tired. Annette and I decided we could skip the reservoir walk that morning. I think we worked on each of our blogs for a while and then I got us our simple breakfast. An apple and banana again. (Hmm, why do I bother telling you what I had for breakfast? Well, I guess I want to remember everything.) Later we took the "T"to the Star Market and got a bag of grapes, a jar of mayonaisse, and some spaghetti and sauce that we'd make later that evening. Once again, the train took much too long to pick us up (what is wrong with the transit system these days, huh?) so we walked all the way home. In our sandals, too. We left a message for Tamara at a payphone, saying we'd try meeting her and her kids at the Frog Pond in the Boston Commons. It was a shame we couldn't reach her and make a definite plan, but we knew we'd have a good time anyway, even without them.

In the apartment we snacked on half the grapes we'd just bought and the rest of the cereal box. I was at last able to finish the Thin Threads book (I'll probably write about it in my book club later), so now I don't have any reading material on hand, unless you count the Metro. You know, that newspaper had Michael Jackson's death all over the front page? How sad. Sorry to go off on a tangent here, but I'd just like to pay a small tribute to him. I really liked his old music, especially when he was a kid. I didn't especially like or understand why MJ had to change his skin color or his face and hair, or all those weird rumors about him, and I didn't really pay attention to news about him in recent years. I understood he was the butt of several jokes in movies, like in Men in Black and Click (It's too bad. Now Michael won't live to see the day when he's the first person to clone himself 7 times and sues himself for molesting himself). But I'm glad everyone will remember Michael as the brilliant artist he was and not as Wacko Jacko or whatever.

Around noon we decided to set off for our scheduled college tour at Emerson. You know, Emerson is just right near the Boston Commons? I think that's pretty awesome. On the long train ride I brought the iPod along to listen to. One of the songs I listened to was a Jackson song. ~,~ Anyway, Annette and I got to the Boston Commons and tried looking for Tamara, Joe and Adrianna, Kailen and Toniann, but they weren't anywhere. Well, while we waited we had another sandwich picnic like yesterday at UMass. Very nice. Later though it got a little windy and looked like it would rain soon, so we packed it up and went looking for shelter. It's strange, because it sure didn't look like it would rain that morning, so we didn't bring an umbrella. So we held the newspaper over our heads to protect us.

I had to go to the bathroom, so we took shelter in a nearby Starbucks, only you had to be a customer to use the facilities. So we looked at what they had to offer and decided to get a couple of these big, awesome looking cookies, Outrageous Oatmeal. They had colorful raisins on top. ^,^ We asked the guy for two of them, and he got the cookies for us, only he forgot to ask us to pay for them. As I stood in line for the bathroom (it was a bit of a long line), Annette and I debated whether to do the right thing and pay up or just walk away with two free cookies. I figured it would be better to be honest (ha ha, I'm the little angel!) so Annette said to another worker, a girl, "Excuse me, I'd like to pay for two cookies." The girl must've been a little distracted, because she took out two more Outrageous Oatmeal cookies and charged us for those. So I guess we got two for the price of 1 each! Incredible.

Annette went to wait outside while I remained in the bathroom line. I noticed a little boy and his mom waiting behind me, and when the bathroom was finally free I let the kid go before me. The mom seemed pretty grateful, so that made me pretty happy. Another cool thing is that after I came out of the restroom, I saw a woman do the same thing for another young kid, offering their place in front. So today I learned that good deeds are contagious! ^,^

It was still raining a bit, so we found a Barnes and Noble to hang out in, although despite my being surrounded by books, I didn't enjoy myself. It didn't seem to have a proper fiction section. Luckily it didn't rain for too long, and we were able to enjoy our Outrageous Oatmeal cookies at a bench nearby. They sure were sweet and tasty! Hey, they were kind of like how I enjoy regular oatmeal, with some raisins in it. Cool! We shared some cookie crumbs with a tiny bird that perched on the table sometimes. So cute. By the time we were finished, it was time for our Emerson tour to begin. We found the office easily enough, but strangely it turned out that we'd been scheduled for the 1:30 tour, not the 3:30 one! Oh well, the lady at the desk was nice and let us go on the tour, only this one skipped the info session. What a strange coincidence! No info sessions on either tours, not yesterday or today!

I enjoyed the Emerson tour very much. Almost more than I did UMass. Lot of famous entertainment people were Alumni there and it's a great Liberal Arts place. Theater, acting, T.V./ Film, Writing, Photography, lots of cool stuff I'm interested in. There were two girls who acted as our guides, and they seemed a lot warmer and friendlier than the UMass guide. They actually asked me questions about what I wanted to do. Saw a big theater and a little sample dorm room and other stuff. What's really cool is that everything is so close to the Commons. (Wait, I already mentioned that, right?)

After tour, we stopped by at the local Boloco's and I got Terriyaki this time, just like I said I would. My burrito was nice and warm. Once done with that, we found a quiet place to sit in the Public Gardens (big difference from the Boston Commons, though they are often confused. The Gardens is the one with the swan boats and pretty gardens.) and fed the squirrels and pigeon some peanuts for a couple hours.

OMG, what an experience! Annette and I are really good with animals, and we've fed the squirrels and pigeons many summers, but I certainly didn't expect what happened. The animals there are very tame and expect humans to feed them, so they just walked right up to us and didn't mind eating right out of our hands! We were soon surrounded by pigeons, and they trusted us enough to start flying on to our laps and even on our arms to get our peanuts. Good thing we were wearing longsleeves! And the squirrels, oh! I have a certain love for squirrels, they're so cute and furry. They just came up and plucked the nut from between our fingers and ate right next to us. Even better, I tried scratching their heads while they were calmly nibbling and they didn't flinch! So much fun! Of course, they ran away once they were done with the nut, but came back once we offered some more. I will never forget that feeling of peace.

Even ducks came by and tried nabbing at the peanuts. But I don't think they were meant to eat that, since they're more suited to bread and stuff, so we tried shooing them away. They kept coming back anyway. I think at one point I got a little bite from a squirrel, but it isn't bad. I've got a good, healthy immune system, so I'm not worried about any diseases the squirrels may carry. Which I don't really believe in anyway. It was such fun when other people would pass us by and smile and say things like, "Ooh, look at those girls feeding the squirrels and pigeons! They're like bird people. Those animals are very trusting!" It was especially fun when a family with little kids (perhaps tourists) would watch us and the kids would try feeding the critters, but they didn't know how to be patient and stand still enough for them to come up to them. Still, I bet they had fun watching us do it!

Finally, when the peanuts were almost all finished, we packed it up and reluctantly tore ourselves away from our spot. I can hardly wait to go back there again! We took the long train back home and called our parents on Skype. It was really fun recounting our day to them. ^,^ After we were done talking to them, we made our first home cooked meal in the apartment, spaghetti and sauce! Remember we bought it earlier in the morning? It was delicious. Especially knowing that we'd made it and it wasn't from a restaurant or something. I ate my portion with some chopsticks we found. *chopsticks, yay!* It was nice eating spaghetti without having to think of sharing it with Benny or Adam. It was just for us. We couldn't eat it all though, so we saved the leftovers for another time. And we went to sleep full and happy. I like that feeling, full and happy. Very pleasant. ^_^

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Day 3

When we woke up, both Annette and I were extremely tired in the legs. Must've been all the walking we'd done the previous day. Well, we weren't about to stop walking. Somehow we roused ourselves to get dressed and take another long walk 'round the reservoir, only this time we went the other way. This made Annette and I even more tired, but it was lovely exercise.
Plus, the weather had improved an amazing deal, so I couldn't help being in a good mood. It didn't rain at all, and we could see a tiny space of blue sky in the thick blanket of clouds above. It's funny, because yesterday, because it had been so cold and rainy on our first walk, we'd prayed to God in our own impersonal way for warm weather, and now we'd gotten it. Pretty neat.

When we were nearly through with the walk, we ate breakfast: an apple and a banana each. Then we walked towards home, but on the way Annette felt like using a pay phone to call our friend Tamara (remember, the woman whose family we flew with to Boston?) so we could make plans to meet with them in the future, maybe to hang out at the famous Public Gardens or something. I went to get the Metro, but there were no more papers left in the bin, so I went back to Annette. Though on the way I did do a good deed and throw away some littered trash on the ground. That made me feel good. ^,^

Annette said she didn't talk to Tamara, but she'd caught Joe and he'd said that they'd already been to the Public Gardens, but they could meet us at the Frog Pond the next day. So that was nice. When we got back in the apartment, it felt good to relax for a while. I got us some cereal to eat out of cups for a snack. While in the kitchen I met Leroy, Jake's Weimaraner dog. He was very sweet. He licked my face when I bent down to pet him, and he didn't even know me very well. I'll admit that I am a fan of big, lickity dogs. ^,^

So we had this college tour thing at UMass, or the University of Massachusetts, scheduled for 3:00, so we had most of the day to plan for other days ahead (I'm not telling! You'll read about them later anyway!) and blog as much as we could. Finally we figured it was time for us to go. We took an incredibly looooong train ride, so we did some crosswords on the way. At one point we had to switch from the Green Line to the Red Line, but eventually we got to our stop. We then had to wait for the shuttle bus that would take us to campus. We waited at that bus stop for a long time, so long that we were a few minutes late for the tour. Finally the bus showed up and quickly took us there, but we were about 10-15 minutes late or something. We asked directions for where we had to go from this campus police guy (he wore an official looking uniform) and he pointed us out to the admissions office or somewhere.

We found the office, which looked quite nice, and the lady at the desk said we'd only missed the info session and we could wait for the people to come out for the tour to start. Phew! So we hadn't missed anything important! (In my experience, info sessions are slightly boring affairs. You just sit at a table while someone talks about the school. At least you're up and seeing it when you're on the tour.) We signed out some form and took a small Reese's chocolate from the desk.

The UMass tour was quite interesting. It's hard to describe everything the tour covered, but the part that most stood out for me was their excellent cafeteria. They don't exactly have a meal plan, they just charge for the food there. The tour guide was nice. After it was over, Annette and I lagged behind, sat at a nearby picnic table and ate cucumber and tomato sandwiches. Very nice. (Oh, wait! I totally forgot about mentioning us going to the Star Market earlier in the day to buy the sandwich stuff! Oh well. I guess it's not that important.) When we were all done, we cleared the table and went to wait at the shuttle bus stop. For some strange reason, the bus took a really long time to get there, so we decided that we wanted to go see the nearby JFK museum. (As you would guess, that's a museum dedicated to John F. Kennedy. ^,~)

I'll make this story short: we took a nice, beautiful walk near the bay, though it was very long and tiring and we didn't quite know where we were going, and when we finally got to the museum, It had been closed for several minutes already, so we were too late. GRRR!!! That's so upsetting. But I didn't let it get to me, because you know what they say: "It's about the journey, not the final destination." Something along those lines, anyway. Luckily the bus came in front of the museum a couple minutes later, so that's divine timing for ya. The train back was long. We used the "B," so we stopped right in front of the house. We marveled at how little money we'd spent that day, just 10 dollars on the sandwich supplies.

Basically we lazed about the remainder of the day, and I actually finally finished writing about our first day. Went to sleep to Jake's cool music again, but then around 11:00 or so we got a sudden Skype call from Benny and Adam that half woke us. Well, half because we weren't all that asleep. It was nice talking to them, (hadn't heard from them all day), but they gave us the sad news that Michael Jackson had died that night. (More on that tomorrow perhaps.) We finally ended the long conversation, quite tired, but we fell back asleep easily enough.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Day 2

Sorry about last text post. That was a lot to take in, wasn't it? I promise that I'll try hard not to be quite so prolific in future, but if this does happen to be long, just know that I can't help myself. I want to be honest here, and make anyone who reads this feel like they experienced what I did.

On the morning of June 24th, I woke up around 7:00 and felt really well rested. I'm not even sure what made me wake up. Had enough sleep, I guess. We brushed teeth (still need to get used to manual!) and got dressed quickly, then took the long walk around the famous reservoir (really a trail around a huge lake. It's near Chestnut Hill Park.) This was one of the top things I'd been looking forward to on this trip, and it was exactly how I pictured it. The only thing I didn't count on was how mist-rainy and cold it would be. Again. I could sometimes see my breath in puffs of condensation. But Annette and I still enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. It was refreshing, taking a walk and huddling for warmth, rather than feeling sweat rolling down your body in the hot Florida sun.

On the way back we picked up the Metro newspaper, so we could do the crosswords later. When we got home, we saw that Benny and Shira had tried calling us while we were gone, so we called them back and had a fun 10-minute conversation. We miss them so much. After we were done talking, Annette and I took it upon ourselves to take care of the hazard area known as the kitchen ^_~. I washed the pile of dishes in the sink while Annette took out the garbage and cleaned the floor. The work was very meditative, and I found I didn't mind cleaning a stranger's mess. Of course, there was this one pan in the end that had so much crud on it that I didn't even bother with it. It dirtied up the sponge. But anyway, I hope the boys were pleasantly surprised when they found an empty sink and trash. As long as they don't leave a mess again tomorrow, I'll know they appreciated our hard work.

Right after that we had to hurry out the door, because we wanted to catch UP at a different theater and the movie was at 11:00. We took the train to Chestnut Hill Station (which is nowhere near that park, so try not to get confused), but then we realized we didn't know where to go after that. We picked a direction and walked there, but it seemed to be a residential neighborhood, just houses, so we turned around, defeated. We went back to the stop and took the "T" back home. As you would guess, my twin and I felt pretty stupid, leaving somewhere without properly knowing where to go. Before we went home though, we cheered ourselves up by investing in lunch: burritos from the restaurant Boloco's. I had a Bangkok and Annette had a Teriyaki. They were very tasty. We shared a couple bites of the other's burrito, and I think next time I'll get a Teriyaki myself. So anyway, we researched directions to the theater with the help of Google Maps and realized what we'd done wrong. While we were at it, we looked up how to get to UMass, the college we're going to visit tomorrow at 3:00. I hope that turns out good. I'm not expecting anything.

Annette and I decided to give the theater another try, even though the tickets would cost a little more at 1:30 rather then 11:00. We went back to the station and took the correct route to the theater. While still feeling quite silly for getting lost the first time, I was so relieved to have found the theater. We saw a bakery close by, so after we got the movie tickets, I sent Annette to get us something while I went to save us seats. She came back with two peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. Sweet. The previews before UP were interesting. The Princess and the Frog, that new animated Disney film, looks like it will be very cute and good to see. Like those good old-fashioned Disney films. There was also Shorts, directed by the same guy who did Spy Kids and Sharkboy + Lavagirl. Kind of silly and childish in my opinion, but okay. Also Planet 51 looks funny. Never heard of either of those two movies before today, so that was pretty cool. It was a bit strange, but even though UP is a Pixar film, they didn't show a Pixar short like they usually do. They just went straight to the movie.

Oh boy, what a movie! I went in expecting to be mildly entertained, with the idea that nothing Pixar did could top Wall-E, my favorite of all their films. But believe me: within the first 5 minutes of the movie, I think it was, I was moved to crying. And when I cry because of a scene in a movie, it's just gotta be good. It was amazing. Already I had invested myself in the characters and cared deeply about them. I don't want to spoil the story and say what I was crying about, so you'll have to trust me when I say that this movie is a must-see. Let me also say that I know now what James Dashner was talking about. It was an incredible story. Cute and funny at every turn. It was very engaging and had my full attention. It honestly made me forget about my world for a couple hours, and when it was finally over, I found it hard to believe I was still in Boston and having the time of my life. I walked out of the theater feeling quite happy. Another sign that the film is really that good. We talked about the movie enthusiastically on the way back to the station. (Turns out Annette didn't cry in the movie. I guess I'm more sensitive than she is, because I've cried from movies like Click and Marley and Me, and she didn't those times either.) (Wait, she did cry with me from Wall-E, when he got crushed and then Eve fixed him and he didn't remember her anymore. That was sad.)

Moving on. We went back to the train station, but instead of going home, we decided to go to the Brookline library. There are two libraries we're familiar with in Boston, Brookline and Brighton. I used to love going to Brighton, because it's small and cozy and has my kind of books, but it closed for renovations and won't be opened until 2010 or something. Grr. So we wandered around looking for the Brookline library. I wasn't quite sure where that was, so I was afraid we'd get lost again, but Annette seemed to know where we were going and I kind of trusted we would eventually find it. Which we did, after some time. So we hung out for a while, looking for dvds and books to check out. I found The Wish List, something my friend Graham recommended to me, by Eoin Colfer. For fun, but not to check out, I relaxed and read this funny how-to comic book called 99 ways to tell a story. It showed this one story in a variety of different comic formats. Quite funny. Finally we got in line to check everything out, except we weren't able to. The librarian said our cards didn't work with that branch. Dagnabit! So we put all the stuff back and went away without borrowing anything. Oh well. I guess it's one less thing to worry about.

At the next "T" stop we came to, it took too long for the train to come, so we walked the rest of the way to the Star. This time we had a notebook with us, so we wrote down all the prices of stuff we liked for future reference. (Smart, huh?) We also actually bought some bananas, a bag of peanuts and a box of cereal. It felt nice buying all that stuff when we'd only gotten apples yesterday. The train took another long time to pick us up, so we walked on with our groceries in hand. It wasn't too far to walk. Remember, Boston is a big walking town. When we were nearly home, we stopped at the Eagle's Deli, an old old favorite of ours from when we were little. It's known as the second best place to "pig out" in the world (I don't know what #1 is) and is where, many a summer, we always ordered these mountainous plates of french fries to share with our family. We ordered a large plate of fries, but I don't think it looked as big as it used to be. Maybe because we're older or something. But hey, it was a warm meal, and we walked out of there feeling full and happy. Though I don't think we'll have the need to go there again. Fries are kind of bad for the body, all that oil and stuff. Not healthy. We just did that for the sake of tradition.

At last, ultra-tired from walking the entire day, we shuffled into the apartment, and we heard someone working in the kitchen. Curious as well as needing to put away our groceries, we looked in and saw our roommate Brad frying something in a pan. It smelled, and I think he was burning whatever he was making. He thought so too. Soon there was a bunch of smoke, and the fire alarm got set off. I don't think I'd ever really heard a fire alarm until then. But then he went out in the hall and flipped some kind of switch that turned the alarm off, so that was good. Around that time, another guy came in, and introduced himself as another of our roommates, George. George had red-orange hair, which reminded me of Seth Green.

Yes, that was a cute little episode, but after that we lazed around the rest of the day. Researching stuff on the computer, reading, talking to our family once again. (Thank God for Skype. I am in love with it! Just being able to hear our loved ones voices puts me at ease.) As we got ready for bed, you remember our neighbor, Jake? Well, he started singing and playing the piano in his room, probably writing a song or something. (I think he studies music in college.) It was really relaxing, and cool to know that we were getting a private concert from him. He's got some good talent. Soon, we fell asleep to his lovely music...

Thank you for reading about my second day in Boston. I think I'll take down my picture slide-show post, since it's a little confusing and I don't think I'll feel like putting up separate picture and video posts for each day. Maybe at the end of this trip I'll put up the best pics on Picture Perfect, but I'll just simply write about what happens. So I might as well take "text" out of the titles...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Boston Trip ~ Day 1

Sorry it's taken me so long to publish this. I wrote so many notes down and had so little time to blog that it kept piling up! But now I've got some time. I'll start from the very beginning...

I woke up 10 minutes before the alarm was set to go off at 4:30. While I waited quietly in the dark, I said silent good-byes to each of my old stuffed animals. (Yes, I still sleep with a couple toys. Got a problem with that?) A little later, when everyone else was up and ready, we had a quick breakfast of freshly squeezed OJ (thanks, Shira ^,^) and some oatmeal with raisins in it. Oatmeal is such a comforting food, don't you find? Well, it calmed me down a bit. At the table we reviewed everything important Annette and I needed to know before we left, making sure we didn't forget a thing. Now that it was time, I didn't feel so scared like I had been all week leading up to it. More excited. It was really happening. Annette and I were going to be independent!

We threw our four carry-on bags in the trunk (we weren't about to spend extra money on any checking luggage, no sir!) and drove over to airport, which took a while. Then we hugged and kissed our parents and Adam one last time, and entered into what could only be described as... the Great Unknown.

But it wasn't so bad as all that. Security was much easier than I thought it would be. All we had to do was show our boarding passes (the lady was nice and noticed our twin-ness), take our shoes off and pull our laptop computer out of it's case. We didn't set any alarm off. Yay! We weren't terrorists! Walking on, we immediately saw Tamara's kids waiting outside the gate of our plane. We had a nice time talking to them for a while, and then Tamara and her husband, Joe, showed up with donuts for their kids. We were okay with eating the apples we'd packed. We waited with them for more than an hour. We talked a little, told jokes, and watched as the sky outside grew lighter. Before it was time to board, Tamara was nice enough to take our picture, as well as one of us with our friends.

The plane was pretty small. Not like I expected. I guess they save the humongo airplanes for international flights. Oh well. Tamara and everyone sat at the front of the plane while we were assigned seats the back, so we couldn't hang out with them. But that was alright, as long as my twin and I sat next to each other. When the plane finally started to seriously move, it took off almost like it was a theme park ride or something. It was really fast! It was fun watching the land rapidly shrink before our eyes, even though neither of us got a window seat. There was a dude half blocking our view. Soon after the land disappeared, we saw the clouds up close. So puffy. ^_^

My ears popped almost half an hour after being in the air. I soon got bored of the novelty of flying. I snacked on trail mix, read stories from Thin Threads, and switched off listening to the iPod with Annette for 3 hours. Listening to the iPod was particularly engaging and passed the time quickly. I noticed a young girl next to me who looked air-sick, holding a barf bag. Her brother next to her seemed to like looking out the window. A mom a few seats ahead played with her smiley little baby. I can remember thinking about my family, and the last picture I had made of them in my memory, of them standing together and smiling and waving at me and my sister. I almost felt like they were still with me, like they were a couple seats in front of us or something, but we couldn't see them. Just a safe kind of presence was near us. Must have been our angels or something...

I had to go to the plane bathroom a total 3 times. The last time I went, we were probably an hour or so from arriving, so I looked myself in the mirror and gave myself a kind of pep talk, reminding myself to enjoy every single day of this trip, no matter what happens to me. I felt a little silly, but also felt good. It must have been all those Thin Thread stories getting to me.

I never got to finish my trail mix on the plane. I left only the raisins. We started our descent, and the backwards ear-popping was uncomfortable, particularly since I was listening to the iPod at the time and the earbuds were in my ears. We noticed how our empty water bottle got crushed from the pressure of going down. It was funny. I guess there's some sort of science to it involved, but I'm not sure what it was. The windows shone brightly, as if we were in Heaven. Then we went below the clouds and it got darkish. I hoped the weather would be alright down below. Then I saw the city. It looked amazing!

I wanted to take a movie of us leaving the plane with my camera, but I didn't get the chance. Maybe it was just as well that I didn't. Tamara and her family were kind enough to wait up for us, and even let us use their phone to call Benny and Shira and let them know we'd made it to the airport. They were so happy to hear us, and we told them we'd call them later on Skype when we got to the apartment. We left our friends and took the free shuttle bus to the "T" stop and then got a ticket for the train. While waiting for it, I felt the cool Boston air for the first time, and it was refreshing and cool. Quite unlike the muggy Florida weather. Though it did look kind of dark and gloomy. As soon as we got to the Government Center stop, just when we were wondering when the "B" train would arrive, immediately a family pointed to each other and said, "Look, is that the B? Yes, we can just catch it!" So it was like we were in the right place at the right time, or as I like to call it, divine timing. When the train got out of the tunnel and into the city, there weren't many passengers, so we could relax and we took a few pics and vids for the fun of it. At last, we arrived at our stop, right in front of our beloved building. The neighborhood looked just as I'd remembered it, as if we'd never left the place at all. But then we went inside...

There didn't seem to be anybody home at first, but when we got to our room, the first thing I noticed was a small, chihuahua-sized dog, sitting on our bed. It growled at us. Spooky! It was weird because we'd been told that one of the room-mates had a dog, only they'd mentioned a big, Weimaraner dog, not this tiny thing. In fact, it was really weird, because the room looked like someone was already living in it. There was a video game station nearby and a mess of clothes on the floor. In the kitchen we saw a sink full of dirty dishes. Those typical boys! The fridge seemed like a crowded mess of food as well, and it didn't look like we'd have much room for the food we might get. We decided to get the Internet running in the kitchen (didn't want to bother the dog) and call our parents with Skype to give them the lowdown of it. What a relief it was to hear from their voices again, and for them to hear us, too! We told them everything and chatted idly a bit, like 10 minutes, and then we heard someone knocking, so we hung up. There was Brad, a tall guy who looked nice enough, and this other guy Jake. Jake was in the room next to us, and the small dog, named Chico, belonged to a friend of his. Another guy came in who must have been his friend. I'm sorry to say that he immediately gave me the impression he was gay. Like, really gay. But Jake cleaned out our room quickly and made it look as if the mess had never been there. After that, we were left quite alone.

We unpacked and put most all of our stuff in this big drawer. We made up the bed and got the computer back online. Now we were all set! But Jake and his friends in the next room (as well as the gay guy I think there was a girl) were loud and talked an awful lot. They probably had no idea we could hear them and were annoyed by them. As you could see, we wanted to get out of the place as soon as possible, so we made a plan for our first outing: First we'd buy our week-long Charlie Passes at the local 7-11, then get toilet paper (our bathroom was out of it) and a pair of scissors (couldn't take them on the plane, and I need a pair for my scrapbook.) at the CVS, and then shop a bit at the Star (super market). It was really nice walking to the Star. It rained lightly on the way, but we barely even minded it. The raindrops were very small and misty, almost like it was snowing. Though it was still quite gloomy, this was my kind of weather.

Unfortunately, we couldn't buy anything from the store because we'd forgotton our Shaw's rewards card, which allows one to make huge savings on groceries, so all we got was a bag of apples. It would be enough to stave off our hunger, and it would be good for the next morning. We like eating fruit for breakfast. We caught the train back towards home and on the way we went to check the Circle Cinema theater, where we hoped to see the movie UP later on, but, alas, the theater was closed. Not just for the day, but permanently! It was all empty, and looked like it had been that way for a long time. I was quite sad. ~,~ When we got home, we relaxed for a while and I started writing the rough draft for this blog. Then I read my book Thin Threads while Annette wrote in her blog.

Some time later, we made a plan to walk to this beautiful foresty area, I think it's called Chestnut Hill Park, and check out this special tree that we'd carved our initials into last year, to see if they were still there. We did, but it rained some more. I think slightly harder, but it still felt like a cool, pleasant mist. The tree was quite wet when we climbed it, and our hands got real dirty. We could just see our carvings. On the way back, we decided to go out for a pizza pie at one of our favorite places, Presto's. We shared a small mushroom pie that yielded 3 slices each. Soooo tasty!

As you could probably guess, my twin and I were really tired by the time we got back to our little room. By a stroke of luck, Jake's weird friends left a bit after we came back, so that was nice. I read some more, and then Benny, Shira and Adam called us again. It was nice to talk to them. ^_^ It was late then, so we changed out of our clothes and into p.j.s and took out our toothbrushes. An interesting thing is that I'm used to an electric toothbrush, and for this trip we packed regular manual toothbrushes. So now I've got to get used to that! Anyway, Annette and I shared the one double-bed there was in the room, with me closest to the window. We were warm with two layers of blanket covering us. And finally, we went to sleep.

And that was just our first day!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Intro to Boston Trip ~ Day 0

Wow, I can barely believe this is happening to me!!! I am just several hours away from starting a short new life for myself! No more lazing about at home, reading fantasy books, or dreaming I had more adventures. Nope. Tomorrow I'm embarking on what could be described as the greatest adventure of my life! (Thus far!)

I am all packed up and ready for me and my twin sister, Annette's, flight to Boston, Massachusetts. *squeal!* We will be traveling all by ourselves, with no Benny or Shira to guide us, and no little bro Adam to tag along. (Benny and Shira are the first names of my parents. My sister and I don't call them Mom or Dad. Ooh, we're so different and new age! Yeah, uh-huh. Sorry to sound tough, but deal with it.)

Of course, we will be meeting up with Shira's friend Tamara and her kids Adrianna, Kailen and Toni-Ann, who are taking the exact same flight to Boston as we are. So we won't be completelyby ourselves. But still, come on. This is me and my twin's adventure here. Not theirs. Besides, Tamara and family are only staying until Saturday, whereas we'll be spending 2 whole fun-filled weeks in Boston. Whoo-hoo!

I have to wake up really early tomorrow morning, like at 4:30, so we have enough time to get to the airport. Why do you have to show up so early? The air industry is just madness! (As are a lot of other industries, but I don't think I'll go into that.) Luckily I've got plenty to keep me occupied on the wait and on the flight. A book, my iPod, a camera, some trail mix, a pad I'll use for writing down notes that will remind me what to blog about in the future...

So you may be wondering... How is there a Day Zero to my Boston Trip? Well, I thought it would be a good title for a little pre-journey. You know, give you some background info. I don't think it would do to surprise you and assume you know everything about my trip. Yeah. I know. You don't know anything about my trip. That's my point. Plus, it would be a lot of work for me, having to remember everything that happens as well as explaining myself.

So here's the lowdown. At least the short version of it: Annette and I are flying to Boston. (This you must have gathered by now. ^,^). We'll be staying at the apartment our parents rent out to college students, though we are not college students ourselves, but who knows? The apartment has 5 bedrooms, and 80% of them are occupied. So if you do the math, my twin and I are going to share a room together in a living area with 4 strangers that are close to our age. Yikes. Even better, try 4 strangers of the male species. Meep.

For at least the first few days, my twin and I will visit a few college campuses so we can find out which school we might think about going to. We are still quite undecided about what to do with our future, so this might help a bit. But mostly we'll be having a bunch of fun! There's this awesome concert thing on July 4th, Independence Day, at the famous Hatch Shell. I bet that'll be incredible. That's just one of the things we'll be doing. Oh god, it's just so exciting.

I don't think I have any more to say, so I guess I'm done here. See you in Chestnut Hill Ave.!


Hello. My name is Bettina Levy. I am 17 years old now, though I'll be 18 in September. Normally I live in Florida, but this isn't going to be the case for long. This is My Travel Journal.

I guess you knew that from the title, huh? ^,^

Perhaps some of you know me from My first blog... ever! or Bettina's Book Club? Or maybe you've stumbled upon me by accident? If so, that's okay. (Just make sure to read up on me so you can get a better picture of me.) You all might as well know that I'm not necessarily going to write like the same person who writes those other blogs. See, you may think you know me, but you don't know this side of me. In fact, I don't think I even know this side of me. Well, I won't unless I do some serious blogging.

Okay. This is a Travel Journal, right? (Right.) Well, this is going to read somewhat like a journal, I expect. I'll be very thorough, totally honest and never leave anything out, because I want to remember everything that happens in any adventures I have in the near future. (And I do plan on having ADVENTURES!) So I guess, basically, you're going to be reading a total ME ME ME blog. ^_^

I'm really just writing this for myself, because I don't expect, or even necessarily want, a large readership here. This is a travel journal, after all. You're free to read me if you want. Comment me if you feel so moved. Just know that I will not immediately notice whether you do or not. I shall be completely oblivious to all comments and not participate in any comment conversations until I return from a given trip. Then I will be pleasantly surprised about who chose to follow me along on my adventures. But even if no one comments, or doesn't read this blog at all, I'm okay with that. This is just a corner of cyberspace for me to post my memories.

I plan to write three types of posts on this blog: One with words, one with pictures, and one with embedded videos in it. I will try my best to relive most of my memories with lots of descriptive words, since I love writing nearly more than anything. But you know what they say: A picture tells a thousand words. I consider myself quite the competent photographer. I love taking pictures of things. I might take many pictures on any given adventure-filled day, so I think it's best if each day's photos get their own seperate post. Hmm...I wonder how many words a movie tells? Well, whatever. I love taking movies too. Whenever I can, I'll post video clips of however many movies I take during the day, so you'll kind of be able to live the adventure out with me! Of course, I'll only give you the best clips.

(This might prove difficult though, since the camera I use may not take super-quality movies. Oh, I wish I owned a camcorder. The footage I could take... *sigh*)

I think that's just about all you need to know. So are you ready for adventure?
I said, are you ready for adventure?!

Then read on. ^_~