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MIT student blogger Chris M. '12

Montreal a.k.a my awesome birthday blog a.k.a the end of IAP by Chris M. '12

Photo's! Adventure! It's like a comic book, but real!

Caffeine is in the air my friends, pencils are writing, printers are spooling (unless you’re the one I tried to print to in the Student Center….grumble grumble), and all this can only mean one thing.

The MIT machine is back in gear.

If you truly have no idea what I mean, we here at the ONLY institute of technology went back to class for reals on February 3rd. Before all this, (or at the same time if you’re Dr. Manhattan) the graph of awesome vs. IAP remaining looked something like 1/x^4, culminating in a spectacular finale not seen since the likes of 4th of July.

Days left vs. Awesome. (What’s the derivative of awesome?)

See, the nice thing about being around such awesome, motivated people is that when you say something like “Guys we should go to Montreal”. It happens. What follows are the hilights of the spectacle that will forever be known as:
Bad Decision 2009:Montreal (It’s an inside joke, but we’ll get to that)

So the day we’re supposed to leave, Thursday Jan.29th, I have my Physics final. Since the only thing I hate more than studying is packing, I studied up until I left to take the test. I’ll spare you the exciting details of me doing breakneck calculations to derivate the coefficient of friction on complex surfaces and sum it up as: Physics-0 Chris-1.

So I raced back to my room to throw all my things into a suitcase and head for New Hampshire with my friends. Once we arrive, there is a wonderful surprise inside : Vicky ’12’s mom cooked ribs and baked beans and coleslaw as a birthday dinner! At first I was nervous about how this was going to compare to the “mana-from-heaven” that is Texas-style BBQ but, dare I say, it was actually really good.

Scanned from the Texas History textbook

After stuffing myself full of BBQ, there was another surprise:

Not just any cake my friends, yellow cake with chocolate icing, the only kind of cake I really like!

Our only wish is that no one will see us weeping in sadness once dinner is over

So after dinner we did generally relaxing things like Wii Tennis, Halo, Mario Kart Wii etc. until shouts and laughter gave way to silence punctuated by the occasional snore. (I don’t know who was snoring, but whoever it was, this is me calling you out.)

Bright and early we were on the road headed for the frozen north, a.k.a Montreal.

We’re smiling because none of us has homework to do.
Aurora, the group mascot
you reached this sign reading much faster than I did driving

Before we knew it, we were at Customs on the border. Turns out, you’re not actually supposed to take pictures of the border security, so here I’ve artistically rendered what it looked like.

That’s pretty much exactly what we saw

It didn’t take long before we knew we had really left America. (Seriously, this sign is like 30 feet down the road).

and stuff like this doesn’t really happen in America:

Buses went on both those lanes next to us. In the other direction.

After driving through the most barren wasteland I’ve seen since the last barren wasteland I saw (I know, you’re impressed with my eloquent description), some scary bridges and the horror that was a stick-shift in a hilly frozen city; we arrived at our hotel. And what a hotel it was.

Let’s pause for a side-story. Being the broke college students we are, we wanted the cheapest possible hotel, so after some searching we came upon the “Exclusive Celebrities Hotel” in Montreal. Collectively it only cost us $40 for 2 nights. Ok, maybe now you know what to expect better than I did.

that does look…..exclusive

After, err… “admiring”….the room for a while (no joke, one of the handles on the sink was just a bolt. And our shower had luxurious plywood paneling). We unpacked and felt the familiar pangs of hunger. Google thankfully had made a suggestion for where to eat, and we were off. Now Montreal averaged about 10-20 without wind chill while we were there, so the girls made the wise decision of wearing high heels. And Michelle’11 wore a skirt. (Now you understand why we called the trip “Bad Decisions”). Needless to say, several people felt compelled to indicate to us how silly it was to wear heels in the snow, as if we were all wearing heels. (NOTE: I honestly can’t decide if that would’ve been worse). But once we settled in to eat, everything was fine. There was a live band, laughter; a nice break my usual social events. (*cough* psets *cough*)

The next day, we went “La Fete des Neiges de Montreal” or, in English “Crazy snow sculptures and lots of little kids.”

Maple Taffy!
Artic Ninjas!
The Canadian Prime Minister!” (Not really)
Snow Sculptures!

After the festival we retired to dinner and recapped our favorite parts of the trip so far. The next day we had crepes, and visited Mount Royal, the church the city is named after. On our way out, Wesley ’10 led us out of the city a slightly different way. We got onto the highway and were headed home.
Or so we thought. Soon the roads began to look unfamiliar, and we were crossing the most barren wasteland I’d seen since the last barren wasteland I saw (which you’ll recall was coming into Canada.) Turns out, Wesley didn’t realize he was still the navigator once we got on the highway, so we passed our exit by a measly 50 miles. -_-. A quick rest stop and driver swap (Vicky ’12 had been driving up until this point, and she was a little tired) put me behind the wheel and us in the right direction. (I won’t say these two events are related but, well you make your own conclusions). So we headed back into Montreal so that we could leave it. On the way, Hawkins ’12 thought it would be a good idea to dare everyone in the car to only listen to “500 miles” by The Proclaimers for the entire trip back in honor of an episode of How I Met Your Mother. We made it to about 15 or 16 before we couldn’t take it and the dare was off.
Eventually we reached the familiar barren wasteland (you know, the second most barren one….) meaning we were nearly back to the border. Getting back into the US was a little more intimidating than leaving it, but before long we were on the road and on our way. Since our trip took us through Vermont, we decided to see where the best thing to come out of Vermont is made. Due to a slight (actually, major) misunderstanding, we looked around the wrong small town for the factory for a long time, until Michelle’11 confirmed that we were in fact in the wrong city. A quick correction and some awesome driving (Ok, not really but I just like to pretend that I’m an awesome driver) and we wound up at the factory 10 minutes before closing. We got back to Vicky’s house just in time to watch the last quarter of the superbowl (which, if you missed it, is how the game should be played). Then to cap off the weekend of awesome that we’d had so far, we decided to go midnight sledding on the mountain near Vicky’s house, which was awesome. Unfortunately, due to the covert nature of our operations, you’ll have to settle for this artistic rendering:

Monday we all relaxed from the awesomeness that was our epic road trip and gave it and IAP the farewell they deserve by eating some delicious food at a place called Common Man. As I went to sleep that night, I did so with the knowledge that if ever there was a way to celebrate my birthday and the beginning of the spring term, that was definitely it.

27 responses to “Montreal a.k.a my awesome birthday blog a.k.a the end of IAP”

  1. Justin says:

    Is that a snow sculpture of a lego? Legos ftw!

  2. Sara '13 says:

    Nice Watchmen reference, I can’t wait for the movie next week!

  3. I didn’t catch the Watchmen reference.

  4. Divya says:

    gold cake with chocolate icing is my fave too!!

  5. Kiran '13 says:

    PostingAsAnon: Dr. Manhattan.

  6. Edward says:

    Would it be much to ask a blogger to write an entry about the department of economics(faculty, student culture, beyound MIT, job placement..who knows, surpise us!)? I already know what’s on the site, and that it’s the best in the country, but that’s not enough (I feel) to decide to go here as opposed to, let’s say, the school down the street.

  7. Ivan says:

    Great post.

    Sounds great to be able to talk about a travel idea and then a while later actually doing it, even when you still have psets.

    obs: Not sure if it’s just my browser, chrome, but it’s pretty hard to read the notes under each of your photos.

  8. jimmy '13 says:

    The derivative if awesome is 1 is awesome is being derived w.r.t awesome, in all other cases, IDK

  9. Ahana says:

    Yay Chris is back!!

    Aurora is so cute!

  10. Oasis '11 says:

    Ooooh did you eat putine? (haha I have no idea how to spell it). It’s the best thing I had in Montreal wink

    And I love the “SIGNALISATION METRIQUE” sign. lolz. I actually flew to Montreal so I didn’t get to see all these things =p

  11. Anonymous says:

    the derivative of awesome is the rate of which awesome is becoming awesomER I think
    dy/dx awesome = super awesome maybe?

  12. Fiona says:

    Wow, that’s really cool. =) Snow!!

    So how was the Ben and Jerry factory?

  13. deng says:

    o ben and jerry’s
    could use some right now

  14. Anonymous says:

    oh come on. you luk much beter in the car…..the blog picture is nerdy….and your hair’s a disaster

  15. Anonymous says:

    i second that…but the blog pic isn’t that good

  16. Anonymous says:

    How rude…
    I happen to like my blog picture?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Aurora IS cute. Somebody really awesome must have found her.

    You’re pretty cute too, blog picture and in the car.

    …just saying.

  18. dios mio! the post above mine is kinda nasty.

  19. Chris M. says:

    I agree, but in reality you’re free to think whatever you may of the way I dress or the way I choose to style my hair. I fortunately have better things to worry about.

  20. Liz says:

    I like the clever pictures and the “How I met Your Mother” reference made me laugh, even though I have never seen the show. Brilliant!

  21. Anonymous says:

    your eyes are beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. JLAB '13 says:

    “See, the nice thing about being around such awesome, motivated people is that when you say something like “Guys we should go to Montreal”. It happens.”

    That is why I want to go to MIT.

  23. Anonymous says:

    @ people talking about the derivative of awesome

    I think if you really look at the nitty gritty calculations, you would be getting the change of awesomering.

    Also, what do you get when you take the integral of 1/x from 1 to cabin?

  24. Clara '10 says:

    Dear Chris,
    Hilly frozen cities are the reason New Englanders like stick-shift cars. They (the icy hills) are typically not any easier in an automatic which will usually skid even worse. My Jeep will be very sad if she hears that you have failed to recognise this. And I, in turn, will be sad, because a sad car makes life (and driving) a bit more challenging. On the plus side, it’s seriously awesome that you managed to assemble a group of friends with multiple people capable of driving stick-shift. Even finding people who have a driver’s licence can be surprisingly difficult.
    It sounds like a great trip, and definitely enjoyable reading!
    PS-Wesley can explain….