It was obvious the moment I walked out of the airport that I was nowhere near Texas. The relentless heat of Houston had been replaced by a cooler, more forgiving breeze and the aroma of newly fallen rain. This was to be my home for the next seven weeks. Luckily, Cambridge, Massachusetts was one of the easiest places to fall in love with. Harvard’s dorms were cozy and for the duration of the Summer School Program which I was attending, I lived and breathed the rich culture that surrounded me.
The Harvard campus itself was straight out of a collegiate fairy tale. Graceful breezes danced in and out of its prestigious libraries while the squirrels scurried back and forth around my feet. Daily I could see buses of tourists unloading into the wrought iron gates and filling the Harvard Yard with a whirlwind of languages. Yet, somehow, there was an omnipresent placidity that covered the campus, facilitating the intellectual aura.
On Harvard Square, among the hustle and bustle that is Massachusetts Avenue, the city came alive. Restaurants with open windows sat amongst the multitude of bookshops and teashops. It is in one of these, Tealuxe, that I had my first Boba, or Bubble, tea experience. Incredibly popular in the area, freshly brewed flavored teas come with rubbery, yet delightful, tapioca balls in the drink and an oversized straw with which to obtain them. In a city like Cambridge, I had to be fearless and try anything and everything. I lost myself many a day wondering through the plethora of used record eccentric people. Never being able to be contained, I was always on the move.
A few simple stops away by the mass transit (called the “T”) I found a completely different environment of intellectual prestige. MIT, a flagship of science and architecture, is hardly a stone’s throw away from my Harvard dorm. It is from this fact that my roommates and I christened Cambridge’s squirrel population the “Smartest Squirrels in the World”. At MIT, the most notable and captivating aspect was, without a doubt, the creativity that flowed from the design of the buildings. From the funhouse mirror appearance of the Stata Center to the circular chapel, the campus was filled with mind boggling displays of some the most brilliant architectural artists.
Cambridge was able to satisfy every odd mood or whimsical feeling imaginable. Ancient Egyptian literature? Harvard’s libraries. Chinese food at 3 A.M.? Harvard students’ favorite: Hong Kong Restaurant. Feeling adventurous? Hop on the T and to find myself in Boston. I found myself assimilated into the very fabric of this amazing little city. I began to recognize the streets’ many performers. I realized that instead of Mass. Ave’s ice cream staple, J.P. Lick’s, I could meander down side streets to the healthier and less crowded frozen yogurt shop, Berryline. I knew to find the cheapest coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts on the Square but to find the best coffee in a smaller plaza at a place called Peet’s. Cambridge had become my town and I loved it. I even considered dropping my Texan accent for that of Boston turning “Harvard” into “Havahd”.
I spent the entire summer before my senior year among the amazing sights, sounds, and people that make up Cambridge. It was here that all impossibilities became possible. I felt I had seen, and conquered, the entire world. I had come fearless. I was leaving amazed and in awe. In seven weeks I found that this was the place that intellectuals came to study and the rest of the world came to fall in love with.
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