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One of the activities that has kept me busy in each of the last three summers has been hosting students from Iraq who are in the U.S. for a program on leadership. The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program lasts about a month, including a week in Vermont, a week in Washington, D.C., and about two weeks in home stays in one of several American cities, accompanied by U.S. students. My daughter, Kayla, participated three summers ago, and interned with the program this year. The students just left Boston yesterday, following a farewell meal we were able to arrange for the 12 participants and five host families at Tufts on Sunday evening. (The program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the Embassy in Baghdad.)
During their month in the U.S., each of the students is asked to consider writing a blog post, and this was the entry of one of the Boston-based students, though not the one who stayed with us. I thought blog readers might be interested in this unique view of the area’s history.
Is it possible that I have not yet waxed rhapsodic about the farmers’ market this year? I went, as I always do, to the Davis Square market yesterday and there was a real August-worthy bounty awaiting me. The piles and variety of produce increase week-by-week until there is truly more variety than a shopper could need. The market is located close to campus but, more to the point, convenient to the parts of West Somerville/North Cambridge where students tend to live. For those in other neighborhoods, there are markets all over the area. In fact, there are several other markets that I could (and sometimes do) shop at, but the one at Davis is my favorite.
The vegetation wasn’t the only highlight yesterday. I also ran into two Fletcher friends — Elke, a PhD candidate, and Lauren, a recent MALD graduate. Such a treat to catch up in my favorite Wednesday location!
Because I haven’t managed to post earlier this week, and prospects aren’t looking good for tomorrow, either, I’ll run through a quick update.
♦The Admissions Office will soon be back to full staffing. We have spent a lot of time interviewing jobs candidates and I look forward to introducing blog readers to our newest colleagues soon!
♦The pre-session starts Monday! Required for incoming MIB students but available to interested students in other programs, the two weeks of the pre-session are filled with serious study in a somewhat relaxed summer atmosphere. Here’s the description of their course:
The pre-session folks tend to cross through the Hall of Flags without drawing much attention, but we know they’re there — and that the full crop of incoming students will follow only two weeks later.
Tagged with: Davis Square
Summer time is construction time on the Tufts campus. I stepped out of the office to capture the projects closest to Fletcher’s front door. Happily, there’s not as much disruptive activity this year as there was in July/August 2011, but it’s still not hard to find a piece of construction machinery. If you happen to be Tufts President Anthony Monaco, the construction is your front lawn.
Though Gifford House is only marginally accessible at the moment, the objective, once the project is complete, is to improve accessibility for all.
Walking down the brand new sidewalks for a few more yards beyond Gifford House, and we have the redesign of the intersection of Packard Avenue and Professor’s Row. Because Tufts is not walled off from the surrounding community, anyone driving or biking in the neighborhood might travel on one of these streets. A new raised intersection should improve safety.
These and the other projects on campus are due to be complete before Orientation, meaning more eyes that those in Fletcher Admissions are watching the calendar to be sure we’re ready for the return of students.
What’s better than talking about my weekend? Talking about my vacation, of course. Last week, I was blog-postless while enjoying some time on Cape Cod. Not being a Massachusetts native myself, I don’t have stories of generations of family all vacationing on the Cape, but we’ve started our own tradition of occasional summer visits to Eastham. People often compare the shape of the Cape to an arm making a fist. Eastham is well along the arm, but south of the fist itself:
I would describe Eastham as offering just the right amount of nothing. That is, there are several restaurants and a couple of motels, but when Kayla wanted to find a public spot with Wi-Fi access, she needed to bike to Orleans, the next town to the south. What Eastham does offer is beaches along Cape Cod Bay, ocean beaches that are part of the National Seashore, and a few fresh-water kettle ponds. Making it easy to go from one to the next are two great bike paths — the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and a path to Coast Guard Beach. Could we need anything more to keep us busy?
We entertained a small but shifting cast of characters in a rental house for a week, and managed to take advantage of all the things that we consider attractions, in addition to the usual beaches. We went to Wellfleet twice — once for the Wellfleet Drive-In, and once to walk through the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp at Marconi Beach. (Marconi having sent the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission originating in the U.S.)
Americans usually learn that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, and Plymouth certainly played its important role in U.S. history. But, in fact, the Pilgrims first landed at the tip of the Cape, near Provincetown. Our week included two treks to Provincetown, where we mixed a bit of shopping with trips up the pier to drop one of our visitors at the ferry.
If you’re at Fletcher this fall (or a future one), you can easily experience a bit of Cape Cod with a day trip. An hour’s drive will take you to Sandwich, where you can bike along the Cape Cod Canal. Or perhaps you’d prefer to relax on the ferry to Provincetown. If you bring a bicycle onto the ferry, it’s easy to get around Provincetown, though even traveling on foot allows you to cover a lot of territory.
My week’s vacation is behind me now and it took me all day yesterday to clear the email and other stuff that awaited me. I’ll return the blog to admissions topics later this week.
Well, I didn’t get it together this week to report on my weekend. But, with service to my readership in mind, I’ll just mention the restaurant we went to. You may be looking for an interesting meal this weekend, and I wouldn’t want you to go hungry (or uninspired).
Much as I love going to the beach, the visit is undeniably enhanced by a good dinner. So last Sunday, when it was quite hot, we went to Revere for a little sea/sun/sand, and some Cambodian food. First, we checked out this year’s sand sculptures (always creative and odd at the same time).
And then we headed off to Thmor Da, our favorite Revere dinner venue. Not just us — the Boston Globe likes it, too! (Personally, I could eat the papaya salad every day.) If you’re making a plan with friends tonight, consider taking a ride on the Blue Line to Thmor Da. Or, if you’re not in town, file this away in your mental restaurant directory, and make the trip when you’re at Fletcher.
Tagged with: restaurants
The fact that I didn’t write about my weekend yesterday or on Monday may have had you breathing a sigh of relief. Alas, I’m not giving up so easy on my favorite blog topic — I just didn’t have time to do it justice. Even today, I’m only going to mention two activities that were a little different from my usual. The first was a bike ride on Sunday morning to Torbert Macdonald Park in Medford. As we were riding through the tall reeds by the side of the Mystic River, Paul said, “It’s like being in….” I couldn’t hear the end of his sentence, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever he may have said, the point is that riding along the park path is certainly not like being close to a major roadway across from an auto dealer. Our ride took an hour and a quarter, including some diversions, but it could easily be done in an hour or less from campus.
On the opposite end of the activity spectrum (earning calories, rather than burning them), Kayla and I made a pilgrimage to Verna’s Donut Shop in North Cambridge. The Boston area has a high donut to population ratio, this being traditional donut country, and Verna’s takes you back to kinder, gentler donut days. Plus, Verna’s donuts are delicious. After drinking our coffees and eating our donuts (one plain, one glazed), we headed for the door, but not before indulging in an additional purchase, a whoopie pie.
That neighborhood of North Cambridge — given the way Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford nest together — is only a mile from campus, and it’s loaded with great little restaurants. Walk over to Verna’s for a donut, and pick a place for a future dinner, too.
Summer blogging is easy when I convince myself that writing about my weekend gives incoming or prospective students a glimpse of what’s happening around town. Although Paul and I have our roots in larger cities (London and New York), we have lived in the Boston area for a long time, and I love the range of activities that are so easily accessible. With that, I will now proceed to tell you about my busy weekend.
I was off from work on Thursday and Friday, and I’ll start my weekend rundown with Thursday. After dropping my bicycle off to be tuned and running a few more errands, I headed over to Yoshi’s (Japanese food at moderate prices, right near campus) for lunch. There, I met Helen Anderson from the Office of Career Services and another old Fletcher friend for a reunion. The three of us hadn’t managed to get together in a long time, and we only barely managed to eat while maintaining a lively conversation covering all relevant topics.
After lunch, I went over to Hanscom Air Force Base to attend a ceremony honoring a friend and her work. She has been a civilian with the Air Force for many years, but now she’s off to new adventures. I have been near and around the base before, but never on it — a new adventure for me.
Friday was taken over by domestic chores, but after dinner Paul and I met up with Kristen and her family (husband Sam and daughter Lucia) at the annual Cambridge Dance Party. Little Lucia has some really special moves! But she also has an early bedtime, so off they went and Paul and I circled around, meeting up with a few friends. We stayed long enough to see City Hall covered in lights.
On Saturday afternoon, we hopped on the T and walked along the Boston waterfront, viewing the tall ships that were in town for the Harborfest.
It’s a particularly big event this year, including both Navy Week and the tall ships with OpSail Boston, and coinciding with the bicentennial of the War of 1812. I particularly liked this little boat. If he eats well, he can grow up into a full-sized tugboat:
You see those people through the front window of the building? Here’s their view:
Dinner was in Brighton (a neighborhood of Boston) with my cousin and my cousin’s cousins, including a two-week old baby whose mother is a double Jumbo (undergrad and Friedman).
Sunday morning, bright and early, Paul and I dashed up to our favorite beach in Revere. I am Revere’s biggest fan — I love the ethnic mix on the beach whenever we’re there (primarily Russian spoken in the morning, Portuguese in the afternoon). We grabbed breakfast at a local restaurant where I can always count on seeing a big group of long-time customers in the midst of lively conversation.
After lunch, Paul took Josh out to shop for appropriate clothing for his new workplace, and I took Kayla out to find the extra-long twin sheets and other things she’ll need for her college dormitory. Back home in time to see Spain top Italy in the Euro 2012 Football Championship. A busy weekend-plus, which supplied me with a blog post, and which I hope gives you a sense of how much can be done within a short distance of Fletcher.
Tagged with: Boston
It is hot hot hot today, but on another day, when a walk outside would be more enjoyable, I’m going to saunter over to the gallery at the Aidekman Arts Center to check out two new exhibits. The first is The Boston–Jo’burg Connection — interesting art with an interesting back-story.
Rounding out my cultural field trip will be a second exhibit — photographs by university photographers. Though most of the pix are not closely linked to Fletcher life, I like to imagine that our students get out into the greater community now and then.
If you visit Fletcher this summer, consider leaving a little time to wander around the Tufts campus and check out the Arts Center. But if you don’t have time to cross campus, you don’t need to go culture-free. The Fletcher Perspectives exhibit of student photography is conveniently located in Ginn Library.
Perspectives is a student-run organization and it has just emerged from a year’s hiatus. The photos currently on display represent a variety of styles and locations, including this one from Turkey.
No plans for a visit this summer? Check out the complete collection online.
As someone who can fall victim to distractions, I’ve always valued the slightly-out-of-the-center-of-things location of Tufts. Students can focus on student life while on campus. Or they can wander a short distance from campus to surrounding neighborhoods with food, services, and fun. A short distance further off, they’re in the broader academic community of Cambridge. Or, with little fuss, they can take advantage of all that Boston has to offer. For starters, from Fletcher, it’s about a 15-minute walk to the subway (which we all call “the T”). Bus lines broaden the territory covered by mass transit (and make it easy for students to find housing with easy access to campus). Here’s what our options look like:
Buses 80, 94, and 96 actually come onto the campus, and the 87, 88 have stops five minutes from Fletcher. (Curtis Street and Packard Avenue bracket Fletcher on the Tufts campus. You can find the full map here.) So transportation links are pretty easy.
But what if all these multicolored noodles of bus and subway lines make it seem that traveling to Boston is a major expedition? Well, if you have a little time, you can always choose to walk or bike. Here’s one suggested route, for a day when you want to ice skate at the Boston Common (or, in summer, join the crowd of children splashing in the spray pool):
Sure, it’s five miles, but five miles seems like a nice balance — a quiet campus that’s only a long walk from everything.
Planning to be in the Boston area this week? Take advantage of this once-in-four-years opportunity to attend the Los Fletcheros Leap Day Extravaganza. Fletcheros and fans will be gathering Wednesday, February 29 at Johnny D’s at 8:00 p.m. Fletchero press releases claim that the “The Los Fletcheros Leap Day Extravaganza Event is one of the most highly anticipated events of Davis Square’s quadrennial celebration!”
Blog readers, don’t be disturbed by the Fletcheros’ tendency to overuse articles (“the” and “Los”) in English and Spanish. And do consider attending.
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