Wednesday, October 21, 2009

In JFK!!

Hey guys! Last contact from me for a bit. I'm sitting in JFK airport about to board onto AirFrance. Soo exciting! What a whirlwind the last 24 hours have been. I've met my group of 38 new friends that will be traveling and training with me. They're all super nice, super adventurous, and it seems like each person has their own great story. I'm so lucky to get to share in this experience with great people. Orientation and Yellow Fever shots, I'm now officially a PCT (peace corps trainee) and ready to go. I love you all. Thank you for the goodbyes and well wishes. I'll be writing, especially if you write me!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Boston and beyond!

Brace yourself- this post is a long one. I'm terrible at recapping. I'm sure I'll hone those skills while abroad but please endure for now.
So, I went to Boston last week. It was amazing. The weather was gorgeous- like a glorious mid December day for south Florida but it was September.
I spent Friday walking all around with my cousin Amy. We saw Beacon Hill, Newberry Street, the commons, a man doing tai chi in the gardens, and flocks of old people passing through Harvard's undergrad campus.
Friday night I met up with the most amazing people. I'm so thankful Danny came in from NY, and that CC, Lea and Neil were there too. They made my visit so special. I haven't seen Neil in probably 4 years so that was so cool! CC was the champ of the evening, enduring a crazy change of bars, finishing off my first crappy drink, and walking all the way back to HBS with me. Thanks CC!
Saturday, Matt and I went apple picking with the Rubins of Braintree and we got ice cream at the most bizarre ice cream shoppe/ family fun park ever in Harvard, Mass. It was great to spend time with them. Saturday evening I got to see some Bike and Builders! Rachel made the trek in from NY. Spending time with her, Matt and Anahita was a blast! Especially since we got to watch some pro-cycling. The B and B gang along with Matt's friend Robert (who witnessed me befriend a subway full of people in 10 mins- awesome!) met CC, Danny and Neil (and Neil's posse) Saturday night over beers and $1 hotdogs.
Sunday morning/afternoon brought the first of my rough goodbyes ("see you later"s actually). Danny had to head back to NY after the gang brunched together. Danny if you read my blog- I expect mail in the form of awesome cartoons. I'll need them! I spent the rest of the afternoon chillin' with Lea. Sun night my brother, his wicked awesome roommate, and another of their friends met the bike and builders and some of Anahita's friends at a restaurant called Algiers cafe. Algiers happens to share a border with Niger, so it was perfect!
Monday I sat in on a HBS class with Matt. I read the case the night before so I understood and really enjoyed the class discussion. Everyone that spoke said something relevant, succinct, and intelligent. But what else is to be expected from a grad class at Harvard? Matt and I also, unintentionally, wore matching shirts. I reveled. We caught 3/4 of a classical piano concert on campus and then I headed over with Lea to bother CC at work. We sat there without ordering because of the fast and were a complete distraction. I broke fast that night with my brother and family in Braintree. Kugel, bagels, salad and tuna- can't beat it. My aunt also made apple coffee cake from the apples we had picked on Saturday. Mmmm.
Tuesday came too soon but was the end to the perfect trip. Lea, CC and I got lunch (I saved my sandwich for the plane ride- delicious!) and shared some blackberry ice cream. I met Matt on campus to have lunch with Matt in HBS's main dining hall. It looked like it belonged in the magical school of Hogwarts- the hall was gorgeous and the food was delicious.
Boston was great and I'm so happy I got to go visit before heading off to PC.

Since Boston, I went mountain biking with my friend Jay. Terrifying and exhilaratingly fun at the same time, though I certainly did wuss out quite a bit. Thanks for taking me Jay!

Jillian came down from Gville and Laurin came up from Miami (with Kimbo in tow!) ad we hung out Friday night. I miss S167 like crazy, so it was nice to be reunited with my roomies again. Laurin spent the night at my place and hung out for a while on Sat before heading back south. Glorious!
Both of my brothers came in for the weekend too! All 5 Tollivers together in one household for the last time in the next 2 years. I love my family so very much. My Mom hosted a dinner bash for my family and close family friends on Saturday night. I need a new synonym for great/wonderful/glorious but it really was just so special to have everyone over.

It'll be strange to come back in two years and my cousins will have shot up like weeds. As will my neighbors' kids. Even my younger brother still has some growing left to do. My older brother will have an MBA from Harvard. My younger brother will be nearly done at FSU. Jillian will have her MSM. Lynn will be done with OT school. Hopefully the Gators will have won at least one more championship (Go Gators) :)

Today both my brothers left to head back to school. I won't see them again for a long time. That's really hard to handle, but I have to. I love you both so very much. You mean the world to me and I hope your academic endeavors prove to be fruitful as well as fantastically fun. You better write back to the hundreds of letters I'll be sending your way.

Goodnight for now and salamu alaikum!