Week 4 and going strong

Greetings, readers!

It’s Friday evening, and we’ve finally had a break from our 90 degree weather spell! For the past three days, it’s been scorching here—though I was reminded that I am, once again, on a female-dominated campus, as sundresses imploded onto the scene. On the other hand, it’s been great to get a break from the rain; as much as I try, it does affect my mood :).

Beautiful weather in the Arboretum: Did you know Wellesley had an Arboretum? I didn't. It's beautiful though.

Our Botanical Gardens Tour: Wellesley offers so many great lunchtime activities-- we are being shown the edible plants section of the gardens now :)

My research has been going well, even as Monica has left me for New Jersey ;). She and Liz are getting married on Sunday, so it’s a very exciting time for them! However, she has been diligent about responding to emails, and she prepared me well in our first three weeks—I can actually do a fair bit on my own now, to my surprise. But not to worry, most of Monica’s time is devoted to her wedding—and though I’m not allowed to take a road trip to NJ to attend, she has promised me one of the jelly jars the two of them made for reception gifts :) (you should have heard her story about making 11 pounds of jam from strawberries and mixed fruit!)

Food is also going well. (And yes, that is totally a topic. We’re four weeks in—it’s make-it-or-break-it chef time.) Wednesday Alice invited me to her dinner weekly get-together, and I got to feast on vegetable and noodle soup (hot-pot style) and kimchi (Alice and I had watched a movie about it earlier this summer—it’s a traditional Korean dish.) Moreover, I knew some of the members of that cooking get-together from our dimsum outings, but many of them were new, and it was great to meet some more Wellesley students. Next week, I’m expected to bring something to the table myself, so I’m deciding on what that will be before our food shopping trip tomorrow. Then too, I need to bring something to our Sunday dinners—I love my Chem 120 group dinners as well, and last weekend was no different :).

Kimchi: product of Amy's cooking and Alice's venture into the Chinatown shopping market (she helped me pick out shrimp for the first time :))

Bao (focused where she should be) and Alice (focused on her homemade coconut chicken soup) ;)

THE Kimchi: Isn't it beautiful? This is round two.

Ze chefs: Alice, Angela, Jacquelyn, and Amy

On Sunday, I decided to actually cook something (given that I had been mostly eating the first time)—and since I don’t actually know how to cook, that translated into baking something. Besides my usual pineapple (which Katherine masterfully carved up), I made and brought carrot cake and banana bread, both of which were well-received. The banana bread specifically was wonderful, and Alice asked me for the recipe. That meant I had to go type in “simple banana bread recipe” into Google and scroll through for the one I had clicked on originally—only to discover that I had added twice the amount of sugar I was supposed to, had made it brown sugar instead of white, and been a little less than scientific with several of the other measurements :). In conclusion, I don’t know if the banana bread can be repeated, but it was certainly wonderful to have made it once :).

Table Spread: I seem to enjoy getting Alice in interesting poses. Katherine's dancing in the back :)

Yum yum yum. I am happy that I know how to bake. Yay for easy directions!

The twins, as always :). Katherine took great pride in the carved pineapple-- delicious and aesthetically pleasing. Katherine and Audrey.

I have also finished up babysitting/French tutoring! Thursday was my best tutoring day yet, as it was so hot the Metcalfs decided to take a trip to a friend’s house to swim the lake. While the boys attempted to catch fish (with nets, obviously—much more fun that way) (ps, I caught one, but it hopped out of the bucket :)), Emily and Elaine (Mrs. Metcalf) went swimming—and I even got a turn to go swim half a mile or so. It was so great to swim with a buddy and in a lake—have I mentioned that swimming by oneself in a pool every day can get mighty boring? Best of all, Pam, who owns the house with the lake in the back, has invited me to come over and swim with her “Lakers” group whenever I wish! Pam’s around 60, and has around 10 people show up every day at her house at 6 am in the morning to swim across the lake. She met these people everywhere… as evidenced by the fact that I am now invited :). Now I only need to figure out how to get to her house on a bike…

So Thursday was super fun, and it reminded me of home, too :). I think this is the first time I’ve swum in a lake since… probably last summer or the summer before that. And as Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and there is a crazy amount of people with cabins on these lakes (including us for a time), it was a reminder of recreation back home. I haven’t actually met anyone who goes tubing here, or up to the cabin, or swims in lakes for fun… ah, the regional differences that one never notices until it strike one in the face (also, people honk here, which is funny :)).

My boot is also off, so I have been running, which is excellent! Sebiha and I ran around Lake Waban a few days ago (a great run, with a lot of texture.) I’ve also been swimming and teaching swim lessons—it’s fun to meet and teach some new kids :). (Humorously, I now spend more time with elementary-school kids than I ever have outside of elementary school :).) I’ve also been teaching Gemma and Chloe, Rachel’s kids, since their family has been so kind in storing my stuff, taking me out to dinner, and otherwise helping me out. Tiffany’s mom also helped me buy a new bike this weekend—my one-week-old one broke, and Tiffany and Mrs. Chen have been amazing in supporting me during that fiasco. I hold out hope that this one will last though!

I think that’s all that’s going on in my life right now, besides the “boring” stuff like work :). It’s always funny that during the school year I try to write about everything besides coursework, and here I write about most everything besides my wonderful excel files, even though those both take up the majority of my time :). Ah well—if you’re desperate, I’ll generously share my numbers with you. You’ll have to ask kindly though, with a few cherries on top.

Best to you all,

Monica :)

Weekly Sunday Dimsum: a new restaurant every time!

Erin, Alice, and I's weekly trip to Haymarket: on the way...

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