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Gloucester, MA

On September 7, 2014, Ed and I took our first East Coast excursion to Gloucester, MA.  Gloucester is a beautiful, quaint little fishing town 37 miles above Boston on Massachusetts’ North Shore.  Fun facts: the first schooner (a sailing vessel that looks like a pirate ship) was reputedly built in here in 1713, and “The Perfect Storm” was filmed and set in Gloucester (I hope that’s cool – I’ve never seen A Perfect Storm).

Someone once told me that many of the towns surrounding Boston have names of Native American origin, and I believe they included Gloucester in the list.  When they told me that, I was like, “Ha, WHUT.”  Because coming from Minnesota where almost ALL of the towns have names of Native American origin (Wayzata, Winona, Pokegama, Nisswa, Minnehaha, Bemidji, Chanhassen, etc. and of COURRRRSE Minnetonka), it’s pretty clear that Massachusetts has roughly zero.  Plus, I bet the Pilgrims were fairly eager to change the names of everything so the Indians knew who was Boss.  So now Ed and I are surrounded by places like Gloucester (pronounced Gloster), Portsmouth (pronounced Portsmith), Worchester (pronounced Wuss-ster), Scituate (pronounced Sitch-eau-it) and Ipswitch (pronounced…Ipswitch).  Add a good Southie Boston accent to any of those places and you get something like this:

Hi mah name is Bahbrah n’ I live on the No’th Sho’h neah Glostah.  Have you been to the Stah Mahket yet?  They got a real good bahgin on eahs ah coh’n.

Here’s a map!  Gloucester is faintly outlined in red in the upper right, Boston is down in the bottom left:

Gloucester, MA

The population of Gloucester is 28, 789; the town is known for its fishing industry and its popularity as a summer destination.  Ed and I saw plenty of mansions and expensive, fancy looking landscaping on our drive along the coast:

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There are lots of beaches to enjoy along the way as well, and our first stop was this one on our way into the town:

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That little dark spot on the horizon is the Boston skyline.  Can you see it?  Here let’s zoom in:

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Once we made it into town, we stopped at a visitors center and were stoked to learn that Gloucester has some pretty reputable whale watching tours.  They prove it with this whale skeleton:

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Don’t you love the caption under the whale head?  “Unusual North Shore Resident.”  Lolz!  Funny whale people.  Since we were too late to join a whale tour (they guarantee sightings or you can keep coming back for free until you see one), we headed to Rockport (the tip of the peninsula above Gloucester) to relax at a beach.  I got really artsy with my camera while sunbathing:

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This pic was actually quite difficult to take, I think it took us six tries. Nailed it!

 

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A sexy lifeguard was on duty

After the beach, we headed to the only other attraction we knew of – the light house and the Breakwater.  Eastern Point Lighthouse is at the entrance of Gloucester Harbor and was first lit in 1832:

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Eastern Point Light House

It sits on giant rocks and semi-successfully helped guide ships into the harbor up until 1905.  Extending out from the light house is a huge reef called Dog Bar Reef and even though ships could see the light from the light house and identify the shore, they would regularly ship wreck and run aground on the reef because they didn’t know how far it extended or didn’t even know it was there.  So in 1905 the town completed a 0.5 mile long granite jetty and named it the Dog Bar Breakwater (locals just refer to it as “The Breakwater.”  As do Ed and I, faux-locals).

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Looking out at the breakwater from the light house

The Breakwater cuts the wind in the harbor by half, protecting the boats anchored there, and successfully prevents vessels from shipwrecking on the reef.

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Boats safe in the harbor

The walk down the Breakwater is so fun – all of the giant blocks make for a treacherous hopscotch.  There are locals sunbathing on the rocks and lots of recreational fisherman.  Some men walk at the bottom of the blocks, looking for and collecting treasures from the water.  Each block in the breakwater weighs 12-13 tons.  Here’s a treasure hunter and a good view of how huge the rocks are:

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Me, still being arty

It takes about 15 minutes to walk all the way to the end:

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Mr. Massachusetts

We worked up quite an appetite for beers while exploring, so we headed back into town and found a little bar with Allagash on tap.  Allagash is like Blue Moon but one thousand times better (sorry mom).  It’s brewed in Maine and is my favorite beer, of all time.  Here’s me enjoying one:

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Ed got fancy and ordered something with fruit in it:

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We asked the bartender where we should eat dinner and she told us to go to the Fisherman’s Cape Anne Brewing Co.  We do as the locals say, so off we went.

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This place was a true gem.  The whole interior was decorated in a fishing motif, per the town’s pride, and they brew all their own beer.  We shared a sampling flight:

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How fun is that?!  We had these exotic flavors: vanilla, rhubarb, pumpkin and spruce tip.  SPRUCE TIP.  It was like tasting the magic of the forest in a refreshing glass of beer.  But better.  Had we known we’d never see it again, we would have purchased as many cases as we could fit in the trunk of our rental car.

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Arrow is pointing to spruce tip, our favorite

For noms, we had seared scallops with fancy mashed taters and some of the best, freshest fish tacos I’ve ever eaten:

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Ed’s been to this plate, which is why it is half empty

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OM NOM NOM

After we ate, we drove back to the city and that was that.  Two snaps up!

And Juicy if you’re reading this…

1) I have not seen the Cambridge turkey in a REALLY long time.  So long that I’m wondering if there even is a Cambridge turkey anymore.

2) Last week, a 1980 HBS-alum-turned-hedge-fund-magnate donated $400M to the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).  That is the largest donation in Harvard’s history.  The fact that this guy has $400M to donate at one time speaks to the volume of his overall wealth – which happens to be $11.2B.  And I have a hard time ponying up my $5 charity donation in order to participate in casual Friday at work!  SEAS was only established in 2007, so it’s a fledgling program and not very well known.  When I first heard about this, I was like, “Why don’t you just cure cancer instead?” but after discussing it with my boss (also HBS alum – no donations), we figure he probably wanted to kill two birds with one stone and position Harvard to develop a world-class engineering school to compete with MIT, and make sure the kids who get an education there eventually do end up curing cancer.

3) Ed turned 27 on June 3rd; he is officially in his Late Twenties!  He’s not thrilled at all about it, but I am.  To celebrate, I’m taking him to a Florida Georgia Line concert in September (they’re a country band), and we’ll be using Airbnb for the first time ever.  I got us a room in some guy named John’s house right on a lake so we can kayak and paddle board around the morning after the concert.

4) I read in Cambridge’s monthly newsletter that people of my generation are referred to (I’m not sure by whom) “Digital Immigrants” and people of my future nephew Atlas’s generation are “Digital Natives.”  I guess that’s accurate?  The article also mentioned that the incoming generation Z will be the smartest generation ever, and proved it by saying Harvard University accepted a record low of applicants for the class of 2019 – only 5.3 percent of 37,305 applications.  Ed said it’s a good thing HBS accepted 10% of applications, as that’s the only way he was able to sneak in.

5) I’m going to my cousin’s wedding in Minnesota this weekend and can’t WAIT!  JUICY GET READY

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Boston Based, Boise Bound

<stands up>  Hello my name is Emily and this is my blog that I’ve neglected for the past seven months.

My last post was a thorough and detailed recounting of Ed’s and my first week at HBS; it is now June and our first year at HBS is over.  I realize now that I had very high and unattainable blogging hopes last fall.  Reality has since introduced itself to me and I’ve learned that it is very difficult to be an involved partner at HBS, a top-notch girlfriend, a full-time employee and an up-and-coming blogger all at one time.  So, no blogs.

However!  I have found true Japanese mind feng shui in the past few weeks and my blogging hopes have returned.  Are they unattainable again?  No one knows yet, it’s like living on the edge!  The only thing I do know is that Ed is in Boise for what feels like years and I have extra time to kill and watching Dateline is definitely not a good way to use it.

I guess we’ll reacquaint ourselves with the basics: I am living in our same Harvard housing apartment this summer and Ed moved to Boise, ID on Sunday, May 24th.  He’ll be there until mid-August working at Albertsons on the Albertsons-Safeway merger.  I will consult with Ed about what that means exactly and give a laymen synopsis at a future date.  Need-to-know facts: Albertsons and Safeway are grocery stores and Ed is a VIP intern at their headquarters.  Headquarters has a full-size tree indoors.

When we first learned that Boise was the location of this internship, we pictured something remote, something a little desolate, something full of potatoes, something like this:

Now, that’s not a bad view, but it’s not fair to Idaho.  Our ignorance of the state before Ed’s move was vast,  much like the vista above.  My prior judgements of Idaho now feel like others’ judgements of Minnesota when I first arrived in Chicago for college.  I remember being asked “are there real buildings in Minnesota?” and “is it just moose and pine trees there, or what?”  I thought they were losers for asking those things but just look at that photo above.  What do I know!  As it turns out, Boise is actually like this:

Boise

That’s downtown Boise, a thriving, outdoorsy city nestled in what the locals call “the foothills.”  The two things non-residents seem to know most about Boise is that 1) Boise State has a football field with artificial blue turf called Albertsons Stadium and 2) Sun Valley is absolutely beautiful, which is a ski town that is not near Boise at all but is still in Idaho.  So really, people only know one fact about Boise and one fact about another town in Idaho.  One other thing: despite Ed seeing a young male get arrested right in front of his apartment this past weekend (underage drinking manhunt turned successful), in 2006, Farmer’s Insurance ranked Boise as the #1 most secure place to live.  How great!

Here is a picture of the exterior of Ed’s apartment:

1202 Oakland Ave

He’s renting the studio apartment above an elderly woman’s detached garage, and that is his private staircase to heaven.  The two car garage underneath it is all his, in which he parks his silver company car.  In the remaining car stall, he likes to sit with a Coors Summer Brew and watch the neighborhood activity unfold (there is little).  Sometimes he switches it up and sits on that front porch in front of the top door.  The only character in the neighborhood of note so far besides the fellow who got arrested, is the guy who lives directly across from Ed – he’s a large Hawaiian man who wears a do-rag, name currently unknown.

Last week the Blackhawks were playing and Ed doesn’t have a TV so he wanted to go to the local bar and watch the game.  Prior to leaving, he called Crickets (the bar), and made sure they were willing to play the Hawks on one of their TVs.  The bartender answered and said no problem, come on down.  Ed journeyed the three blocks and watched the game in the company of the bartender, as he was the only patron in the bar the entire time he was there.  Shortly into the game the bartender told Ed that if he wanted another Coors, just come outside to the alley and let him know, he was gonna go hang out with a buddy back there.  Guess who that buddy was?  The Hawaiian do-rag-wearing neighbor.

And because I can’t be left out, here are two sunsets Ed and I were #blessed with before he left for Boise:

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Snapchat translation: Sunset on the banks of the Charles River

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Sunset off of our balcony, overlooking Harvard Square

For cute!

E

 

 

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Our First Week at HBS, A Photo Series, Part II

It’s been almost two months since Ed’s and my arrival to HBS/Boston/Cambridge/New Life and it seems like years and only days at the same time.  I look back at the pictures and am constantly surprised at all the things we’ve done, and how cool we’ve become.  KIDDDDINGGGGGG we haven’t done that many things.  Kidding again!  We are just kind of cool.

This post is going to be lots of little stories that don’t go together, except I guess you could categorize them all under the umbrellas “FUN” or “AWESOME” or “NETWORKING”.  Is anyone else blown away that I just used the word “networking” without wanting to die?  I literally hated that word from 2007 – 2013.  Now I’m like, “Networking? WHERE LET’S GO.”

But for real, this is a long post so go get a snack or something.  Maybe a glass of wine?  I’m going to talk about parties.

We’ll start with the time Ed and I went to a cute little bar/grille in Harvard Square and enjoyed a beer.  Here’s me, psyched about life:

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The only reason I’m including this story is to internet-shame our server and show off my sweet Harvard non-hoodie.  What happened: I had an Allagash and Ed had some other beer, and our bill was $20, which was definitely wrong.  The server charged us for his two most expensive beers thinking we wouldn’t catch it, and when we called him over to point out his error, he acted like the computer did it.  I’ve been there, buddy.  No dice.  He tried to pull his trick on the wrong penny-pinchers and now he is SERVED (pun).

Next on our agenda was RC Field Day.  RC = Required Curriculum, and that is what everyone calls the MBA first years.  EC = Elective Curriculum, and that is what everyone calls second years.  This first year Ed doesn’t choose any of his classes himself, his schedule is given to him, and he sits in the same seat in the same room for every single class while the teachers rotate.  Next year, Ed will elect the classes he wants to take and be mixed with students from all sections (there are 900 students in his class, with ten sections of 90 students each, labeled A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J.  We are in Section D!).

Each RC section is given a color (Section D is green) and every student was given a sweat headband in their section color at the beginning of school.  We were told to wear our section color and gather next to the Harvard stadium to play silly games during a beautiful Cambridge afternoon.   Here’s the scene:

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Snapchat translation: Field Day, we are winners, sports, balls, games, BULLSEYE

I realized on Field Day that there is a reason little kids have such regimented schedules, are told where to sit, and play games that force them to interact with other people.  HBS would be much harder if we weren’t pre-grouped together, weren’t told where to be and what chair to sit in, or required to play foolish games with our new family of strangers.  We showed up and HBS was like, “Here are your new friends.  Go have fun.  You don’t have a choice.”  Ed and I had pretty much no clue who our other section-mates were on this day, and looking back at the pictures is great because now I know them and it’s funny to see everyone just trying to survive.  Here’s the whole bunch after we didn’t win first place, second place or third place:

Field Day

Can you find Ed and I?!

We started the events with the limbo, which is HARD when you aren’t seven years old.  There were several near-catastrophes as people saw how low they could really go.  I saw some buttcracks.   Which is why I did not participate, I just watched and took this pic:

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Next we played a game where people threw balls at trash cans while three other teammates linked their bodies to help get the balls in, but they could not use their hands.  Lots of arching and jumping and falling down and whatnot happened during this game:

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Dizzy Bat was next, which is now my all-time favorite field game to spectate.  I nearly peed my pants it was so funny, because nothing is better than adults spinning around in circles and then trying to run in a straight line as fast as they can.  I have a video of the highlights, which I plan on watching 102345098135 times.  Here’s Ed taking his turn:

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The day ended with wheelbarrow races (below), and an award ceremony.  I don’t remember what the awards were, since we didn’t get any.  Overall, I’d say Field Day was a total success, some participants got pretty bad sweatband sunburns, and I would like to do it again now that we know each other.  Wait a sec.  I just realized I didn’t participate in any of the games…  Emily!  That’s poor.  I guess I would wheelbarrow race if given a second chance.  Next time!

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After we cleaned up from Field Day we got our party outfits on and headed to Casino Night in downtown Boston.  We were bused from HBS to a fancy hotel where an entire mock casino was set up and we were each given $2000 in fake money and two drink tickets upon entrance.  Below is a view of the hotel-ballroom-turned-casino; that’s Eddie in the right-hand foreground, networking:

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I was determined to (fake) win big, so Ed and I hit up the Roulette table pretty hard:

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Snapchat translation: MONEY MONEY MONEY I’M WINNING GO AMERICA MONEY MONEY MONEY

Despite the fact that I had so many chips I could barely fit them all in my purse, drink tickets were in short supply so we were forced to purchase our own at the bar.  Martini’s were $18 – $18!!!!!! – we ordered cocktails instead.  Mistake:

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Snapchat translation: $24. Who the HELL does this hotel think they are.

I learned two lessons this night, and the first is three-fold: a) Never purchase drinks at a Boston hotel, b) quickly identify non-drinkers so you can have their tickets, c) understand the importance of The Pregame.  The second lesson I learned was from a fellow female partner and involves wardrobe.  I wore dark jeans, a white chiffon tank, a white blazer, a statement necklace (thank you Erienne Lee), and cobalt blue heels.  I thought I was looking on point.  I even took a selfie in the bathroom because I thought my hair game was so good:

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Snapchat translation: I’m taking a selfie in the bathroom per usual. Don’t judge me. Clap your hannies if you like my hairdo.

So I’m walking around, winning chips, paying out the nose for cocktails, and thinking I look like however many chips I’ve won.  Then a female partner comes to chat with me and says, “You know, you can totally tell who’s a partner here and who’s not.”  Me: “Oh yeah?  How can you tell?”  Her: “Because all the partners here have on super boring shoes or flats.”  Me:  “OH REALLY.”

Of course I breathlessly told Ed this story, and he assured me that my footwear was not boring.  Who knew my 3” closed toe would be so telling!

Ed and I ended the night at a poker table in the back room, in the good company of the HBS Latino contingent.  Our dealer was super nice, and helped me accumulate as many chips as possible before we all turned into pumpkins.  Here he is, counting out my winnings from one hand:

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And here’s Ed, proud of his woman and her full house:

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Once the dealers shut their tables down, we caught the bus back to Julie and Sim’s, exhilarated and exhausted from Field Day and our first official HBS party:

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Snapchat translation: Nightypoo don’t poo in your nightie

The following week we got dressed up again (yes, I had on “partner” shoes) and hit the club for the Latin America Club’s Great Gatsby party.  The universe was on my side, because for absolutely no reason other than “I might want this?  Probably not.  But I MIGHT,” I had decided to pack a top covered in fringe while packing in Chicago, and then poof, I had a 1920’s themed party to go to.  THANK YOU UNIVERSE.  The club was completely shut down for us (although, it was a Wednesday so that’s actually not that cool) and it was PACKED.  Are you ready for this?!  It’s insann:

IMG_1393Da club in purple hue

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Snapchat translation: I’m at an HBS party and can’t stop sending snaps of the exact same crowd over and over and over because it’s blowing my MIND

Da club in white hue

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Selfie with da club

Pretty coooooool, right?  Here are some shots of people you don’t know that were at the Gatsby party:

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Do you see all the props in that pic above?  Those were all thrown from the stage in the middle of the evening and were the best props I have EVER SEEN.  Latinos sure know how to ramp up a party mid-way through a party that is already at level 10.  Here are some parting shots of Ed and I enjoying our over-sized party favor (which we still have – you never know when a giant inflatable mic will come in handy):

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Future (current?) superstars above and below

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Omg, are you tired yet?  I hope you’re enjoying whatever snack you chose in the beginning.

After all these events, Ed and I needed a little us time, so we ventured out to the Barking Crab for a date night.  We thought the Barking Crab was a pretty good seafood joint, but have since been told by New Englanders that it’s “just ok”.  Well!  Could have fooled us.  It’s a restaurant right on the water, nestled in next to a bridge:

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IMG_5581 Snapchat translation: Get in my belly fish, shrimp, seafoods, beers.

The interior is under a yellow and red striped tent with open-air sides, a bunch of kitsch everywhere, wooden picnic tables, and a live reggae band:

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The meal was fabulous (are food pictures interesting?  Not sure):

IMG_1364Beverages: Mai Tai + Margarita

IMG_5587Lobsta roll: fresh lobster marinated in butter, sometimes with mayo, sometimes with celery, always on a hot dog bun

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Since there is construction all around the restaurant, they spray painted little crabs along the pathway so you know you’re headed for seafood bliss:

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For cute, right?

The next batch of photos are from daily life here in Cambridge.  I’ll blurb under each of them:

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 First small group Section D dinner.  We have these scheduled intermittently throughout the year so people can get to know others in the section better.  It’s nearly impossible to get to know anyone when you’re raging with an inflatable microphone, so these are really nice to have, and in those first couple weeks, ANYONE I knew and could wave at or say hi to made it a good day.  It’s funny how normally you wouldn’t hug your friends every single time you see them, but at HBS, even if I remembered your name, we would hug.  It made me laugh out loud a couple times because it felt ridiculous, but at the same time, it was needed because people are (literally) clinging on to all relationships in the beginning just to stay afloat.

The restaurant we were at is called “Gourmet Dumpling House” and is a staple in Cambridge.  We had plenty of food this night and I believe Ed and I each paid $12 including tip.  What a deal! We’ve been back several times since, once with Joey and Sissy, which was the best time.

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This is a selfie from the night Section D threw section-mate Alex an impromptu bachelorette party.  We wore my buttons from Julie’s bachelorette party in 2011 (#whenhoardingpaysoff) and played the newlywed game in one of the dorm common rooms:

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Bachy

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Snapchat translation: My bus is sitting right in the middle of the train tracks!

One day I was riding the bus from Julie’s to campus and my bus just stopped right in the middle of the train tracks.  I couldn’t figure out what was happening so I turned on my ipod radio and wouldn’t you know, there was a five-alarm fire the next block over.  It took forever for my bus to detour around it, and when we finally got to the street it was on, I saw massive flames coming out of the top floor, licking the sky.  It was unbelievable!  Turns out a resident dropped a cigarette (speculation), or, as others think, someone’s meth kitchen got out of hand (more speculation).

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But for every meth den fire, there’s a beautiful rainbow!

Ok, last party.  A week after the Great Gatsby party, the Euro Club hosted an 80s party.  We quickly learned that every party at HBS is themed and requires a costume.  Ed and I set our costume standard at this party and have outdone ourselves each time, culminating in our Lego costumes (future post).  Here we are, 80s-style:

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We didn’t go to the “big” party at da club downtown (Gatsby was enough), but we did go to the pregame at Jimmy’s apartment.  Jimmy appreciates all my costume ideas.  Here are his fridge magnets:

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Here’s a group leaving the pregame and heading either home or to the big party:

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PHEW!  That covers everything from our first couple weeks at HBS.  Our opinions during this time in our adventure can be summarized in a quick list of pros and cons (originally sent to Ed’s aunt Annie):
Positives
Ed: I haven’t flunked out yet!!
Emily: Ed hasn’t flunked out and I am still employed after one week!
Ed: Everyone here is smarter than me! Even the undergrads. So I feel like I’m learning everyday!!
Emily: Ed is actually smarter than everyone else, he just doesn’t realize it!
Emily: All my shoes fit into our closet(s) and Ed didn’t break up with me after I laid them all out in a giant row
Negatives
Ed: Everything is more expensive in MA. We only have channels 2, 5, 7, 9, 32 for television. I feel like I’m back in gram’s back patio with the rabbit ears.
Emily: Ed told me one pair of shoes I had “only an elf would wear…are you serious right now” so I threw them and nine other pairs out
Both: Where the hell is the microwave
Ed: No cats allowed (Positive perhaps?! Don’t tell Emily)
Emily: We both miss Juicy terribly, and Ed won’t stop talking about cats and how much he loves them and wishes he had several
I’ll leave you with one final photo – Ed’s view from the SkyDeck:

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If you read that whole post and looked at all the photos, god bless you.

Love,

Emily

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