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MIT student blogger Ana V. '15

August, Airplanes, and why not throw in Spring Break, too? by Ana V. '15

My traveling styles. And, I don't even know, maybe a catch-up thing?


Welcome to the unfiltered stream of my consciousness. Please pardon the incoherentness.

Right now I’m at an airport, watching my Terrascopers from Mission 2016 bond as we await to board a plane to Houston, then to Las Vegas, then a bus to somewhere mountain-ey. (Look they did awesome things (including making this website)– I’m so proud of them!) We’re going to see mines and things related to Mission 2016, which was focused on rare earth elements, to be brief (more info in website!^^)

If you want to see awesome pictures of the American Southwest and read about what we’re doing on this trip, YOU SHOULD VISIT THIS BLOG. (Written by the awesome ’16s.) If you want more pictures and gems from her travels, visit Lealia ’15’s photography blog!

This past week was more intense than a monkey complaining about not getting grapes, like the other monkeys. I actually just got out of a thermo test, and now I get to ponder about it some more once I hear the jet engines whirlin’. :) But for now, some people are sleeping (I really should join them), some work, some eat, most have laptops open including me.

Conversations are everywhere. Two little girls are drinking from the biggest blue poweraid bottle available. It’s cute. That reminds me. There are children outside of the college bubble. How and when did I ‘grow up’ ?

I once saw a toddler at an airport trip right into a stranger, and I laughed with everyone else that was watching because that was cute too. That was in December, only 2 hours after my last final. Except that day they had cancelled my flight because there was a storm coming in from the west. Not cute. Luckily, I had my passport, so they put me on a plane to Montreal the next morning, and the funny thing was that after almost getting to my gate, right before checking in, they told me that it was illegal to go to Canada without staying there for more than 4 hours, so they delayed my arrival time in Chicago yet again. Time couldn’t go by any slower. I just wanted to go home! (Now that I think of it, NOW, time is going by too quickly. I haven’t even blogged about this whole December airplane trip. Or about August, but I’ll get to that. Once I feed myself some food. I’ll be back.)

~close laptop~

Just kidding I wasn’t that hungry. Just got a smoothie instead because it’s tropical, unlike the weather. Hey at least it wasn’t an expresso. Sabina 15′ and I literally smelled our way to the food because we can’t read signs apparently. Anyway, you should be proud of me, because I resisted getting Starbucks. In any case, right when I was beginning to think that I’d never get home in time for Christmas (this happened on the 23rd), I met Joe ‘(Grad Student) on my flight to Montreal, and soon enough time started to pass by a bit more quickly . I soon learned that Joe was a grad student in course 16 <woot, woot!> and also hailed from the Chicago area, and so we chatted about course 16 things on a plane. (Now that I think of it, my most intense conversations about my major have happened on an airplane how wonderfully fitting! ^_^)

Once in Montreal, we got through cutsoms and had to wait for maybe four hours at the airport before our next flight. Joe and I stepped outside for a bit, just to claim that we indeed were on Canadian soil…

It was so windy, and my hair was such good friends with it, that Joe thought I resembled Syndrome from The Incredibles. xD


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We had a lot of time to kill, and it was an airport, so… take pictures of model airplanes and learn about Montreal we did! (Joe even found a typo, can you spot it?) The montreal sign thing was from a display in the airport. I was looking for more proof that I actually went to Montreal. Believable, ay? ….minus the fact that you could see a reflection…

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Hello again. I slept a lot. And I’ve hiked a lot by now, too—I feel like a champ. Now we’re in California, and we’re passing through lots with super old stoves and antique shops somewhere near Mojave. It’s crazy-in the desert there’s a such thing as it feeling warm yet cold at the same time.

So to finish my Canada story, after going through security again, Joe and I were waiting to board our plane to Chicago when he says,

“I’m really glad we finally get to go home, but part of me wouldn’t mind staying in a hotel for the night, that’d be nice. If our flight gets delayed they’ll have to pay for it.”

No more than 10 minutes later an announcement was made. Our flight was cancelled again. Just ours, though. All of the other flights to Chicago were fine. I wanted to start laughing at our luck, but people around us literally started crying. We later learned that our plane had a mechanical failure. So to a hotel we went! On the bus to the hotel, people were speaking French, et je pensait, “Bon c’est une opportunite pour pratiquer!” But all I did was smile because I was too excited that there were real French speakers to listen.

Look what I found in the hotel!

NITROGEN ICE CREAM (those of you coming to CPW, prepare!)


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And this lovely, quite situationally fitting poem on a mug. It reads:

The power to shape the future is earned through persistence. No other quality is as essential to success. It is the sandpaper that breaks down all resistance and sweeps away all obstacles. It is the ability to move mountains one grain of sand at a time.

 photo 487045_10200434961657647_743613641_n.jpg So Joe and I ate dinner, watched a basketball game, and eventually, finally, after persistently convincing security in Canada that we were not crazy, we made it home. I was a HAPPY child adult thing. I ate pozole almost every single day, was reunited with the young’uns, and played some dama China.

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^I GOT TO SEE MY NEPHEW!  Why is it that little kids can grow so quickly and I’m still 5’0? :P


OH MY… there are tons and tons of wind turbines out here look… is this what aliens look like?

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Sorry. I need to gape at the window now.

3/30 or 3/31 depending on the time zone.

Things I learned on the Terrascope trip…

  • Respect Geologists. And Geology. Always and forever.
  • You can’t take pictures that will ever completely capture a valley/mountain scene.
  • Lucky Ana gets to go on trips with such amazing, talented freshmen, utfs, TAs, profs, people.
  • Drink water. Unless the grand outdoors isn’t a suitable enough bathroom for you. In that case, don’t drink water, but don’t die, too.
  • Only go on trips to canyons and mountains with geologists. It’s the best way.
  • More info here.

Basically our trip is over (all that’s left is the plane ride home). Why do trips end so soon?


Over the summer, I once missed a bus to Washington D.C. because I wanted to visit a friend I met through MITES.  I had just finished teaching for STEM, and had a week before I would go on to China. Rather than be homeless in Boston, it was time to pay Sukriti a visit. :P

But like I said, I missed my 8am bus due to time mismanagement <– (will be a word today is actually a word), so I would have to either wait until 12am for the next one or see if the bus at 12pm had any room. After hearing these options and sitting in south station pondering about them, I went up to the counter and asked for “ANY OTHER OPTION”. The other option was going to New York. The good thing was that there are busses leaving south station to NY every hour for relatively cheap. The bad thing was that I needed to navigate my way through NY to find another station entirely once I got there.  Sure, this is a relatively simple thing to do. If you have the internet.

Once I got to New York, after blasting this song over and over on the ride there, I prepared to find the new station. Usually when I’m in these situations, walking around in a certain direction until I determine it’s either right or wrong works. I had like 3 hours until the bus left anyway. Thankfully, Starbucks gave me some internet, and at least now I had some sense of direction. (This is when I realized why having a data plan might be worth it.)

So on my way I stopped and got like 10 postcards because they were on sale. Whenever I want an excuse to send a postcard to someone, I just tell them the story of how I got the postcard, and it ends up taking up most of the space to write anyway, plus an “I miss you” or something along those lines.

Did I mention I was carrying a 15 lb bag with no wheels? (I should never buy a duffel bag without wheels.)  Also, the other station was three miles away. Also, if I’m too cheap to get a data plan, by default I couldn’t have gotten a cab, so I ruled that one out. I considered using a year-old metro card I had from NY, but I would without a doubt get lost on the subway, and no, no maybe I’d come back to NY one day and actually need the card. -__-  I needed the exercise after a whole year of sitting down to do psets, right?



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I felt like a champ when I got there. It was worth it. There was nice scenery. It wasn’t raining or anything. But at some points I’m sure people were wondering why I was hugging a bag and waddling like a penguin without stopping. There was a sense of, I have no idea what will happen, but let’s take it as it comes. :) Part of me thinks  I definitely enjoy getting lost/ encountering challenges while travelling. If I were talking to you right now face to face, I’d show you my biceps, 50% of which probably come from carrying my luggage in New York, oh that concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

When I got to the station, all I had was my super broken-screened ipod to show that I had indeed bought a ticket from Boston to NY. I had to explain what happened, and that the counter people at South Station told me this was a legitimate course of action. I’m pretty sure they let me on the bus 95% because of pity and 5% because of the determined, crazed, I-just-walked-3-miles-for-this look my face.

After getting on the wrong train in DC and booking it before they closed the subway, I was able to be reunited with Sukriti since summer 2010. YAY (A shoutout to her and her folks for letting me stay and giving me food <3 and being awesome. Dhanybhad!!!)

I had so much fun getting to know DC,  going to Old Town Alexandria, and the National Air and Space Museum!

Blackbird. is. hot. and. space shuttle. Can’t speak in sentences here, take my pictures, instead.


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I don’t take credit for the following picture. It comes from here.  :’)

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The rest of these I took… :DDD

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I contributed to the piece of artwork above (sadly I don’t mean the Shuttle or Blackbird..) ^

That’s Sukriti and I below. Like my temporary tattoo? (of a flower). It was just as temporary as my 5.0… *_*  I found a picture of it as I was looking for these photos lol.. Here’s a solid tribute to the importance of grades, but not getting too obsessed over it to the point that it defines you… *salute*

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Thanks again Sukriti! :)

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And that brings us to the second half of August. (My birthday month :D) It also brings us to tomorrow in both Boston and Nevada.

3/31 Officially.

If you can handle any more of my August here goes…they have hazlenut coffee here, so I’m not stopping.

On my birthday I was on a plane to China. Don’t worry, I was spoiled by (Rebecca+ Jaya+Lealia +Rob) (’15)

Proof: (Thanks to all of you too!!!) Yes, that is an arch of balloons you see in the reflection on the window. XD

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Shortly after this celebration, I hopped on a plane to LA, then to Beijing, then to Shenzhen– a total of 23 hours traveling. (Interestingly, I did not get lost from Boston all the way to my final destination…) Somewhere in between was my official birthday, so that was interesting. Why was I going to China?

I was a mentor for the Service Leadership Program– a 10 day program for high schoolers in the city of Shenzhen. They went through activities that focused on entrepreneurship, community service, communication, education, team building, and culture (since the Chinese education system may not focus on some these things at all). It was also meant as a program to help them practice their English.

As of today I know one sole, lonely sentence in Chinese because the kids patiently taught me it (the way I’d pronounce it:)  Wuo de John When bee knee how: I know how to speak Chinese better than you. : 我知道如何说中国话比你更好的。<– (Thank you google translate?) I felt like I grew so much with these kids, and I got to know awesome MIT undergrads as well. I also learned how to use chopsticks to the degree that I won’t be ashamed to use them in public any longer. The trip was largely subsidized by the China Development Initiative at MIT.

We were playing a game in which the last person to laugh was the winner:

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And here they are building bridges and helping me sport a moustache.

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We grew pretty close in those 10 days… the kids made these: (the one on the right is a drawing of me by one of the students!)

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There was all kinds of beauty on that trip. I learned so much, and once again was surrounded by so much talent and spirit.

Your gut feeling telling you that I got lost in China is right.  Ask Arthi ’15 about it. We were able to get help without even knowing Chinese. What would a trip be without some forced exploration?

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Well, it’s pretty late here and I’ve got a plane to catch in the morning. I hope I’ve somewhat caught you up on what I’ve been up to.

(heh… Yay...August)

I’m not going to lie, this is how life at MIT is. I’m always trying to catch up with time. If you’re a 2017..(omg 17)…, come to CPW and check out all of the events planned simultaneously, you’ll see. Time is pretty persistent too, but nonetheless, you’re still given what you’ll have. And it’ll be way more than enough to take away knowledge and good memories.

On to tomorrow, now. Goodnight.


*meme, map, and the awesome picture of the Blackbird were taken from a simple google image search*