Week 4: The Ins and Outs of Beantown
When I found out I was staying on campus this summer, I was very excited—finally, the
chance to explore Boston! I consider myself a city girl, having grown up where New York City was only a subway ride away. Yet, I craved the flavor of a new town, with a different urban experience. My expertise in Boston/Cambridge locale was limited since I had hardly ventured beyond Harvard Square since freshman year (wow, time really flies by). And so, with a monthly T pass in hand, I set out to explore what I could during my weekends and after work.
The best thing I’ve discovered about the area this summer is that everything is so convenient and walk-able! During the school year, I only relied on the T subway system, not really understanding where the stops were in relation to each other. Now, I’ve been walking when I can and using the buses more often. The city of Boston is significantly smaller than the bustling Big Apple. In fact, other cities connected by the MBTA (Metro Boston Transportation Authority) have almost melded together to make up a larger “Boston.” Several towns I’ve explored so far include Cambridge, Allston, Brookline, and Brighton—each delivering a different “Boston experience.”
Another noteworthy feature of Boston is the pride and unity of its residents. I’ve yet to meet a Massachusetts local who didn’t support a team or own a jersey of some kind. Often, pubs will fill with strangers rooting for their team on the TV. Or, students on campus will gather in a common room to watch the Bruins game. It’s very different from New York or New Jersey (where I’m from), where even I couldn’t tell you the state’s hockey team name. But here, it’s not an uncommon sight to see families decked out in Red Sox gear in the subway. Boston has a unique sense of community that you don’t experience in other cities—which makes it a fun town!
But most of all, Boston/Cambridge has some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. My “backyard” is the gorgeous Charles River, which overlooks the Boston skyline. Often, you can see many people run along the river after work hours. My friends and I have had several picnics on the grass while watching the sunset. We spent Fourth of July attempting to watch the fireworks on one of the smaller bridges to Boston—until we got caught in a crazy downpour of rain. Before getting drenched, we ran along the Charles River and nestled under a bridge to watch the rest of the show. It was very beautiful. Such summer sights, like the calm of sailing boats on the river, add to the relaxed vibe of the whole city. I am very glad to be spending my summer here and thankful for the chance to explore before the busy school semester begins.
About the Blogger
Riana Balahadia is studying Human Evolutionary Biology with a secondary in Global Health & Health Policy and pre-med in Kirkland House at Harvard (class of 2014). During the semester she enjoys singing with the Veritones, a premier co-ed a capella group, and planning activities for Harvard Philippine Forum and the Undergraduate Global Health Forum. This summer she will be living in Winthrop as part of the SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) Program hosted by the Global Health Institute. Her mentor is Dr. Janina R. Galler, who has been working on the Barbados Nutrition Study (BNS) for the past 40 years. Riana's primary research will be on linking malnutrition and epigenetics to mental health, and then comparing that information with the BNS cohort in Barbados.