11 Things About Boston

I just submitted my last exam for the first semester forty minutes ago, and I’m leaving for New York in about sixteen hours with my luggage still unpacked. But look at me, having the sudden urge to write about my many trips to Boston. Is it a couple of weeks, months, too late? Sure. But hey, let’s just roll with it.

Boston is just an hour away from Concord.

Or maybe I should say Concord is an hour away from Boston, if we're going to be taking on the point of view of a tourist (which sometimes I feel like I still am, despite having been here for five months already). It's my port of entry when I first got here last July, after all. The nice thing about it being just a bus ride away is that whenever I feel suffocated about the small-town life, I can always run away and find peace in the city. Okay, the irony is not lost on me. Yes, I'm a city girl through and through! I grew up near an airport, on a busy street! The city is more comforting to me! I wouldn't have seriously considered a law school in Concord if it was actually in the middle of nowhere. Having Boston nearby makes me feel a little less homesick.

A large part of that is knowing that my grade school/high school friend, Nica, lives there too. Last time we saw each other was 2018 when she went home to Manila for a visit. Having one of my closest friends just a 45-minute drive away is super comforting! She picked me up from the airport, would treat me out for lunch or dinner, purchased Uniqlo HeatTech for me using her employee discount, bought me drinks for my birthday, invited me for Thanksgiving - basically being my extended family while I'm here. And it's nice to actually spend time with her (and her mom and sister) again after all these years. All the gossip and the stories, in Filipino? Do you know how happy that makes me???

Plus she brought me to a Filipino store, which is the best thing that's happened to my taste buds since Portsmouth's lobster mac and cheese

Boston is a university belt.

Pahk the cahh on Hahvahd Yahd! 

Everyone knows the Boston/Cambridge area is where Harvard and MIT are. But there are numerous other institutions around within the city including Boston University, Boston College, Suffolk University, and Northeastern University. It's actually pretty wild that they could all fit in one city - I had the impression that Boston was pretty small. Then again, I think of Manila and I realize how naive that assumption is. A lot of these universities don't have one closed-off location. They're pretty much open and integrated well within the city itself, so it's easy to find yourself inside one campus and then the next with just a little walking.

UNH Law is in a different location from the UNH main campus in Durham so every time I visit Boston I try to soak in as much of the "campus feels" that I can. I walk through their grounds, I ride the trains that pass through them. I enjoy seeing students getting lost in their thoughts (or just generally lost, lol) if only because it makes me appreciate my time as a student even more. 

I've been to Harvard Law - or more specifically, I've walked past the Law Building - twice. I thought I'd feel goosebumps when I actually came up to it up close, the same way I did when I went to Dartmouth or UC Berkeley. I've memorized every single line in Legally Blonde and actually went to law school because of Ally McBeal. But I don't know, it just didn't happen? Maybe I really didn't belong there. My bones knew I didn't have the chops to walk inside its hallowed halls. (Or maybe, I just really missed UP. Which, let's face it, is very much the annoying habit that most UP students carry with them until they grow gray and old. It's #AllAboutUP even when you're in freakin' Harvard. Ha!) Anyway, I quite liked the campus. I liked their bookstore and the famous cafe right across from it, Tatte. 

I quite enjoyed MIT too! I visited their store to buy merchandise for Papa, who is also an MIT grad - sadly just the Manila version of it though. Every single week in patent class, when I feel lost and confused about all the technical concepts that pop up in our cases, I always end up wondering, "What if I pursued Engineering?" My high school career test showed an Engineering course in my first 5 options. I used to enjoy physics and a little bit of math. (I did get a 1.25 in Math 2 back in college!!) Maybe I would have excelled as a STEM graduate? Maybe I would have earned more in life if I were a STEM patent lawyer?? But alas, the chips didn't fall that way. I ended up dating engineers instead - which, to be fair, is the next best thing, I guess. Shout out to Louie for explaining in excruciating detail every single concept I cannot comprehend from my textbook. That's true love right there. As they say in Boston: "wicked smaht." 

The Museum of Science has the world's largest open-air Van de Graaff generator.

Just because I'm not a STEM major doesn't mean I don't have a deep fascination for science. Like I said, I enjoyed it in high school so much that even our career counselor seriously considered recommending a science course for me. I made it my personal goal to go to as many museums as I can, if only to satisfy that little kid in me that always wanted to be an astronaut. 

After almost 2 years of the pandemic, I finally got to visit a museum again!! A ticket to the Museum of Science was one of the first things I booked when planning this quick trip to Boston. Science museums always make me feel like a kid again - like I'm seeing and learning about the world for the first time. It's nice to get out of the "adult" headspace for a bit and get in touch with our natural history, how things work, and how we've managed to survive. That feeling of fascination is something we need every once in a while.

There was a lightning show!!!! Lots of activities at the engineering lab!!! Giant dinosaurs!!! Replicas of the Apollo Lunar spacecraft and the Mercury shuttle!! Bears! Basically everything you'll ever read about in a science almanac!

The Van de Graaff lightning show was the highlight of this trip if only because I was so psyched to be in a room that generated actual lightning bolts!!! How cool is that?!

The biggest art heist in history happened in Boston.

Aside from science museums, I am the happiest when I get to visit art museums too. Seeing that Boston has quite a number of very famous ones, I made it a point to visit them when I get the chance. One of them is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 

We discussed the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in our Art Law class, as part of the section on art theft. The biggest art robbery in the world happened in this very museum in 1990, where 34 paintings and artwork amounting to $500 million in value were stolen by still unidentified suspects, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Manet. The paintings are still missing. The frames where they were once hung remain in the room where the robbery happened. (There's a Netflix documentary and a bunch of podcasts on this too, if you're curious!) It is so fascinating. Peak true crime content, if you ask me.

But there's a lot of other valuable artworks that are still present in the museum, including religious paintings by Botticelli and Raphael. The courtyard at the center of the building is in itself a sight to behold too, with poinsettias in full bloom in time for the holidays. (Perfectly matches with my coat hehe ❣ #RedEra #KarlasVersion)

Boston made a lasting impression on Monet.

A few weeks before my birthday, I made time to visit the Monet exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as it was supposed to end on October 17. The exhibition showcased 25 masterpieces that chronicled his early paintings, his fascination with Japonisme and his body of work alongside Rodin & Miller, two artists whose Impressionist work was also admired by Monet.

I also got to see some Van Gogh, Cezanne, and other magnificent works too. (Like the Seventh Plague of Egypt by John Martin, which just might be my favorite of the day, aside from Monet's Valley of the Creuse paintings.) 

Boston has amazing Asian food: dumplings, Korean barbeque, poke bowls, and boba.

One thing I definitely miss? Asian food!!! My friends and I would go to Boston just for Chinatown, and to be honest it's worth every single penny. Honestly, do I need to explain more? Or do I just let the pictures do the talking? 

You can get free hotdogs outside Fenway Stadium if there's a weekend game.

I'm not a huge baseball fan, but as a big pop culture gal, I know enough buzz words to sound legit when I found myself outside the Fenway Stadium one weekend. Home of the Red Sox, baby!!

Nica and I were shopping around the area when we saw a bunch of hotdog stands being set up outside the Stadium. We don't have tickets for the game, but we got the next best thing: free food! It was great finally seeing things getting back to normal-ish again. The only games I've ever been to are basketball games (UAAP games, to be exact) but I think the excitement leading up to each one is just the same. The energy is palpable no matter the crowd. It was nice to get swept up in all the hype - seeing people randomly cheering on the streets, "friendly" trash-talking people in line, families all dressed up in the same colors - that whole thing.

This was also when I realized that Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" is an unofficial theme song for the Red Sox! The more you know. 

Boston architecture is steeped in history.

Boston was founded by Puritan settlers who came to America from England in the 17th century. As one of the oldest cities in this country, its buildings are a reflection of America's storied history and development. 

Some of the historic places that I tried to check off my list are the Boston Common, the Massachusetts State House, the City Hall, South Station, and Faneuil Hall. 

More modern structures including the Prudential Tower and TD Garden (home of the Boston Celtics!) were must-sees for me too. 

Boston is cozy and cool and chill.

For Halloween, my friends and I decided to party in Boston - all dressed up and ready to forget about school, of course. We basically just ate and drank that entire weekend. As far as Hollywood Halloween traditions go, I think that was pretty par for the course!

I dressed up as my Spotify top artist for three years in a row now. Can you guess? :P

Boston + Books = Best: Boston Public Library & Boston Athenaeum

Can I just live in these libraries forever??????

Boston Public Library

Boston Athenaeum

Chris Evans, love of my life, was born and raised in Boston.

Chris Evans, if you’re reading this I am free on Thursday night. If you would like to hang out I am free on Thursday night when I am free to hang out. I am free to hang out on Thursday night so if you want to hang out on Thursday night, I am free.

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