Thunderstorms and Summertime

Good afternoon!

And what a splendid afternoon it is, finally. It’s been raining for most of the week, and while an improvement over the sauna weather from two weeks ago, grey clouds for more than two days at a time make me dreary. I even biked 4 miles outside today, on my new bike that Mrs. Chen helped me buy :). Thank you so much, Mrs. Chen! (We had to drive to Walmart, Target, the bike repair shop, and more—as the bike I got for free at the end of the year was so rusted it would have cost $120 to repair!)

Research is going well, as anticipated :). This week Monica and I created a 3D model of “the house” on an architecture computer program. “The house” is a standard house in the US, the floor plans of which we downloaded from So, essentially what I did was play with a fancy version of Sims all week, though it proved to be quite a bit more complicated due to the necessity of measuring exact distances (and miscellaneous issues, like the fact that the chimney still won’t show up despite my intense architectural wrestling.)  Nevertheless, a house was built, and I’m quite proud of it. Coupled with the reading Monica assigned me yesterday (skimming the Fundamentals of Residential House Construction), I have found that I know much more about house construction, and the materials and methods therein, than when I arrived two weeks ago!

Another of my activities this week has been babysitting. I have been biking out to a family’s home in Wellesley and speaking French to their 8- and 10-year-old boys, as well as attempting tutoring. It’s a different experience than tutoring high schoolers, and I’m finding it to be good for me—I’ve had to learn to make my teaching style more dynamic to match their energy! I will be starting swimming lessons too next week; I must note that it’s so odd to be on the other side of the student/teacher divide in both of these situations…

Something that I’m excited about now and for the rest of the summer are the lunchtime lectures that I’ve been attending. As you know from last week, they are composed of one of my favorite academic combinations: lectures by professors and food :). I went to the Bio/Psych/Neuro talk again on Thursday, where Professors Conway, Ellerby and Petermen presented on their lab work. Monday and Wednesday we had lectures on basic statistics—i.e. AP Stats in 3 hours: an impressive feat. Tuesday was our AGES meeting, where we looked at graphical representations of our research in the news. And the Summer Science administration has even more activities planned for us (a trip to Plum Island, GRE prep (though I’ll leave off a few years on that one), S’mores night…)! I’m attending more lectures now than I did during the school year, a fact that I am very happy about :).

Speaking of lectures, I’m sadly in quite a conundrum. On Monday, Professor A is going to take 20 of us on a field trip to the Material Science Symposium. I am psyched—except that Wellesley President Bottomly just posted the following on the website! Quoted from President Bottomly’s post: “On Monday, we will welcome to campus 49 women from around the world to participate in the inaugural Women in Public Service Institute. As part of the Institute, I am delighted to announce that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ’69 is scheduled to visit Wellesley that afternoon, and we expect that the campus community will have the opportunity to hear her speak.” … In other words, HILLARY CLINTON IS COMING TO WELLESLEY TO TALK TO US! She is very well-regarded on campus, and I’m in such conflict, because I have to choose one or the other…

Ah well, I will make a decision and hopefully have the opportunity to do them both again someday. In the meantime, I’m excited for tomorrow, when Alice and I will be taking a trip into Chinatown! Not only can we do dimsum (I love dimsum), but we shall go shopping—I’ve been jealous of the girls who have frozen wantons sequestered away in the communal freezer. I’m also thinking about doing a blood donation tomorrow, since I’ve never done one before (they told me last time my iron levels were too low.) Regardless, it will be a fun trip :).

I also have great news from my uncle Bill, who lives out in CA with the rest of my mom’s immediate family. I asked (with my mother’s help) if I could come stay with him in CA for a week this summer, and he generously offered his condo to me and some friends! I’m very excited and can’t believe how much kindness I receive from everyone around me. Makes me determined, as always, to try to offer what I can to others :).

And that’s it for this week! Sunday I’m excited to have another cooking party with some friends, and generally hang out and read books. I’m slurping up the free time of this summer, and hope all is going well with you as well!


Ps, it started raining again by the end of this post :). New England weather is so amusing.

Pps, a quick anecdote I liked from this week—Professor Griffith was presenting his research at the AGES meeting, and at one point said “You’ll all figure it out, you’re women”, “women” being accompanied by the upward arm swing reminiscent of the classic “We Can Do It!” poster. Professor McLeod laughed and repeated the motion, after which Professor Griffith added sheepishly, “you know, Wellesley women.” What was really humorous was that we hadn’t actually needed his explanation to know what he was referring to. Wellesley definitely has a culture, and it’s fun to see it in little interactions like these :).

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