Boston and Harvard dreams…

My parents have been to many US cities but have never been to Boston. So in November of last year, we decided to go and visit. When Joshua found out about our plan, he wanted to go wih us just for the purpose of seeing Harvard. Josh is now a sophomore in high school at Jesuit College Preparatory Catholic School. One of his goals is to apply to an Ivy League school (of course we are well aware of the difficulty of getting accepted). We have visited Columbia University in New York and he fell in love with it. He always thought Harvard was his (out of) reach school and perhaps he has a (just a tad) better chance at Columbia.

Since we were there for just a few days, we wanted to do a Harvard tour on our first day. Walking around Harvard, I didn’t expect that the campus was so spread out. Looking for the admissions office was quite a challenge.

at Harvard

at Harvard

When we found the office, we were directed to a room where they were playing a previously recorded video of Amy Poehler’s commencement speech. We also watched Matt Damon and Jeremy Lin sharing their Harvard experience. There were more videos of Haravard students, past and present.  We were seated and waited for the information session to start. More high school kids came in with their parents, all looking tensed and excited at the same time. The admission officer entered the room, together with two current Harvard students, introduced themselves and talked about the curriculum. As expected, getting admitted is not a walk in the ballpark. Joshua will have to work twice as hard to make it in. For this year, they admitted only over 2,000 students out of the 37,000 who applied. After an hour of the information session, we were broken into different groups to tour the campus.

touching John Harvard's shoes for good luck

touching John Harvard’s shoes for good luck

After the tour, we walked around Harvard square and bought a couple of Harvard t-shirts. Joshua was now convinced that this was the school for him.. He didn’t want to leave Harvard so we ate lunch around Harvard Square. We went to Cafe Sushi but wasn’t too impressed with the quality of their sushi. I actually read that sushi in Boston wasn’t up to par with the sushi in New York City. It’s hard to believe that the city of Boston, surrounded by water and known for its superb seafood, does not have good sushi. After lunch, we walked towards Charles River, took photos until we noticed it was starting to get dark. The sun sets before 5 pm in Boston and so it is important to start your day early when touring around Boston.

The next day, we took the train to Prudential Center and went up to the observation deck/tower.
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My dad, who’s 76 years old, was very tired from all the walking we did the previous day. Because he was used to a hot climate, walking around in cold weather wasn’t very appealing to him. We finally cave in to those trolley tours just so he could relax and fully enjoy his limited time in the city. It actually turned out better than I expected and recommend this type of tour in Boston especially if you only have a couple of days there. Our tickets were good for two days, and the tour goes to all the major tourist sites. I regretted not doing it sooner.

The Old Town Trolley Tours stops at major sightseeing points such as Faneuil Hall Marketplace, New England Aquarium, Boston’s Little Italy, USS Constitution, Copley Square, Prudential Center, and many more. It was definitely worth the $37 ticket we paid for, especially in our case, where we had my dad who was elderly.

Joshua and my dad inside Faneuil

Joshua and my dad inside Faneuil

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We ate lobster and the lobster roll at Tia’s and had clam chowder at Faneuil Hall. The lobster roll wasn’t spectacular but it was still good. Eating out in Boston is very expensive and unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to find good deals. The one restaurant I really wanted to try but failed at each attempt was the Union Oyster House (dubbed as the oldest restaurant in Boston).
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lobster roll

lobster roll

famous clam chowder

famous clam chowder

Our flight wasn’t until 2pm so we took the trolley tour again in the morning (it had a hotel pick up which was a bonus). We went for dimsum in Chinatown at Hei La Moon. The restaurant is huge, loud and action packed! The fun part of dimsum are the carts being pushed around bringing every delicious delicacy to your table. The selection at this place was gigantic. We had dumplings, noodles, bao, and many more familiar dimsum foods. They were all good but I wish I could’ve stayed longer to try the other not-so-familiar foods they had.

Boston is a beautiful city. But perhaps next time I’ll pick a warmer waether. I do love autumn though especially when the color of the leaves are starting to change. What a truly magnificent sight that is!  If Joshua makes it in to Harvard, then I will have all the excuses to visit every season. But for now, that is just a dream….

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