I have arrived and am experiencing my first night at MIT. It's, well...
Flights were good. It was weird for me to make the Newark-Boston link, which was only about an hour in the air. Where I come from, if it's that close, you drive it, because instead of having to drive through New York and Connecticut, you drive through Iowa. The second suitcase that I have was a free gift -- an old man bag made of tweed -- but lacks wheels, and loaded down it's a bear to carry. Jumping from train to train coming to campus on the T, I had enough time to set it down. But once I got to Cambridge and had to walk to the dorm, I nearly died. I just couldn't carry it, so I finally realized I could set it on top of my larger bag and keep it from falling off. Trouble was, between the two of them they probably weighed 80-plus pounds, and by the time I got to the front door I was drenched -- completely drenched -- in sweat.
But for the love of God, there is an elevator. I live on the top floor, number six.
I am in Ashdown House, which is a size-up version of Neihardt, where I lived my first two years at Nebraska. Same scratched-up wood floors, same decades-lingering pest problems. Except there's a pub in the basement. I haven't gone tonight, and I think you all owe me some respect for that. But tomorrow, after I get my MIT ID, find a Target or something of the like and maybe walk to Fenway, I'll go.
My roommate is Jack, who I believe is Chinese, but definitely East Asian. Coming here today makes you feel like you've walked into every MIT stereotype -- they had international student orientation, so practically all the people walking around the building are Asian kids.
Unpacked and took a walk. Parts of the area are strangely dilapidated for such a nice town, but you can tell there's interesting things going on. And the smells are great. As soon as I got off the airport shuttle at the T station that odor of seawater smacked me in the face. Walking Cambridge you get whiffs of pizza and ice cream places. Come on, student loan checks.
Coming down Main St., a fairly lucid-looking woman standing alone yelled at me, "You don't come near me!" So I dismissed her as a crazy person, but then started walking and had that uh-oh feeling that comes with being out of water. "Maybe she felt threatened by me walking toward her," I allowed myself to think. Then as I walked away I heard her yell at some other people in spot-on Springfield Cat Lady voice, and I felt better.
That's what I know for now. I wonder if I'm going to have trouble fitting in with the people around here who are better with math than people skills. On the plus side, they're very nice. I'm going to take a walking campus tour on Thursday, partly to tour the campus and partly to meet nice-looking people, or at least nice people. It's cool to be in a linguistically and personally diverse place again, but I have no idea how this year is going to go. Exciting, I guess.