I will never forget my experience at Harvard Summer School. I still remember the day my father dropped me off at Thayer Hall with my younger sister. We flew from Ho Chi Minh city and stayed in Hoboken New Jersey to see my uncle for a bit. Then we left to New York to do some more sight seeing before arriving at our final destination, Cambridge Massachusetts.
The first day at Cambridge was rainy and gloomy. I have never been to the East Coast before. This was my first time in the Boston area and the first time for me to be in America! I felt like I was in a whole new world. So many things to do and so little time. I was afraid that summer time would not be enough for me to experience all of Cambridge.
Overall, I thought the East Coast was really charming and romantic. So many cute little shops, very good food and lovely bookstores that you could spend the whole day there just reading and not having to buy a book when you leave haha!
Cambridge, MA was very different from Vietnam in terms of the infrastructure and architecture. Cambridge had a lot of public transportation which I thought was refreshing and accommodating for the locals and tourists. And Harvard square was a lot of fun just to walk and people watch 😉
For me, I felt that the East Coast people enjoyed dressing up, showed an interest in fashion, and wanted to know more about other people’s culture.
I found that most people in Cambridge wanted to have intellectual conversations and valued education. That was very nice. It reminded me of some of the Vietnamese values I was brought up with.
Before I could move into my dorm room for the summer, my dad, sister and I stayed at a nearby hotel. We also had the best Thai food which was a few mins away from the hotel. I am trying my very best to remember the name of it but I think maybe that place has closed 🙁
Just thinking about that place last night made me want to share with you a couple of my favorite restaurants and places that I often made trips to after class.
- Spices Thai Restaurant: https://www.spiciescambridge.com/.
- Otto Pizza: The person who sold me pizza there was very nice. And the pizza was good and close to campus so I didn’t have to walk very far.
- Shopping Newbury Street
- American Repertory Theatre: I took my Shakespeare class here. The professor was sweet, kind and soft-spoken. Just thinking about the professor and his teaching assistant makes me smile. I am also thinking about my classmates who took that class with me. I am not sure why I did not ask for their emails :(. I wish I could have stayed in touch with them all these years. They were kind, down to earth and very fun to be around. I think I was the youngest in that class and I always felt welcomed. I think my classmates were actually theatre majors and I was just there for a summer class for fun. We practiced Twelfth Night together and then had dinner at one of the girl’s place. I think I made Vietnamese fried rice that night for them to try haha. I don’t think it was that good because I was missing a lot of vietnamese ingredients. I could not find any asian market near Harvard. We often spent time at the Harvard Yard after class to go over the script and try to memorize Shakespeare soliloquies. Towards the end of the course, the four of us went to a party at the Oberon which was a wonderful evening. I really miss you guys! I think I am tearing up as I am writing this.
- House of Blues: I went to see Ellie Goulding with a friend. I think that day I had a choice between Fenway Park to see the Boston Red Sox or House of Blues. I picked the concert because I was not a fan of American sports. Haha. I was able to find a video of her singing at the concert I was at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcZUulp98MM And Bag Raiders opened for her. The song “Shooting Stars” is my favorite song 🙂 Listening to it brings me back memories of Harvard SSP. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=feA64wXhbjo
- Time Techo Watch Store: I think this place changed their name and is now Swiss Makers. I went to this store after class and I remember looking at this one watch with a mickey mouse on it and leather wristbands. I thought it was very chic and elegant. At the same time, I thought it was so cool because there was mickey mouse on it. I thought to myself, I had to have it! After walking by this store so many times, I finally decided I would buy it.
I have so many other places I want to recommend but I just cannot remember the names of the store. This was 9 years ago. Time flies by so fast. Who knew I would end up in LA and not the East Coast that I had originally envisioned.
Thank you for reading this blog post. I had so much fun writing it 🙂
Goodnight from Los Angeles