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MIT student blogger Anna H. '14

Up by Anna H. '14

The last of the post-finals, pre-internship adventures.

On June 1 (where my last post left off) I hopped on a plane and left Boston for the summer. One fistfight later*, I landed in DC, fully resolved to pack every minute of the weekend with something awesome. No summer seconds to waste.

*Not my own. While I waited for my connecting flight in New York, some guys decided to beat each other up in the main concourse, right in front of the departure gate boards. Maybe they were upset that their gate got moved? It was pretty dramatic; employees and passengers alike ran over to watch. Really, though? Fighting in an airport terminal? These people couldn’t pick a better place for that?

My friend Spencer picked me up from the airport. Our first stop: Walmart. Not exactly the best start for a “pack every minute of the weekend with something awesome”, but preparation was required for our various adventures. We bought (in order of decreasing importance) marshmallows, hot dogs, hot dog buns, a lighter + lighter fluid, and a sleeping bag.

This is where we spent the night:

This picture is misleading, because it makes it look like it was sunny, warm, and dry, all of which are absolutely false descriptions of the tent setup experience. It was pouring when we arrived. With a tarp, extra shirts, loud voices, and a robust sense of humor, we propped the car door open and used the tarp to ferry materials back and forth. When we finally got inside the tent, it was perfectly dry: success! And there’s nothing quite like being inside a tent and listening to the rain try in vain to gain access to your…terrain.

The next morning, Spencer dropped me off with my best friend from Middle School, Monica. She left London after 8th grade, and since then I’ve only seen her twice, but both times it was like no time had passed at all; despite not keeping in touch that regularly, and despite growing up in entirely different countries and attending entirely different high schools and universities, with entirely different groups of friends, it seems that we’ve grown up in parallel.

That afternoon was her older sister’s graduation-from-the-Naval-Academy party. This made me feel unspeakably old, since I have a very strong memory of that same sister’s graduation-from-eighth-grade party. Monica spent most of the party running around the room playing hostess, and I tagged along because I knew approximately six out of the hundred people present. Just as Monica and I started to reminisce about Middle School, when EVERYONE asked whether we were twins or sisters or cousins:

Random family friend: Monica! How you’ve grown!
Monica: Hello!
Random family friend (to me): And you must be…a first cousin?
Me: …Nope.
Random family friend: Wait, really?
Me: …Yes.
Random family friend: You and Monica look like TWINS!

If I had four hands, I could show you the number of times this happened. The last instance:

Random family friend: Monica! How you’ve grown!
Monica: Hello!
Random family friend (laughing): Oh, you two look like TWINS!
Me: Haha, yeah, we get that a lot.
Random family friend: I can imagine. You’re what, first cousins?
Me (assuming that she was joking): HAHAHAHAHA! hah! haha! yeah! first cousins!
Random family friend: …
Me: …
At this point, I realized she was serious.
Me: NO! WHAT? NO! WE’RE NOT EVEN THE SAME ETHNICITY!
For your reference:

Thoughts? I think it’s the glasses/hair combination.

Anyway, after lots of hugging, Monica and I parted ways and Spencer picked me up. Pictures describe what we did at 4am the next day better than I ever could.

In case you haven’t figured out what this all means yet: a sunrise hot air balloon ride. 150,000 cubic feet of gas suspending five people above the ground for an hour and a half.

In the afternoon, my post-finals pre-internship adventure was over – Spencer drove me to Charlottesville, VA, where I am right now and where I will be until the middle of August. I’ve been here for three and a half weeks. I spend my time with new friends instead of old friends, in an unfamiliar city instead of Boston or DC, but still with that resolve to treasure every summer second. That mindset makes the summer pass way more slowly. My theory is that, this way, my brain has more to remember – if I did the exact same thing every day for a week, seven days would blur together into one. Doing something new or different every day, whether that means adventuring around Charlottesville or riding a tube down a river or going out to eat or watching a new movie or reading a new book or just being goofy with friends, gifts me 7 full days of memories per week.

Goal for each day: exercise your medial temporal lobe. Give it something to remember.