Summer Postcards 2013


MYSTIC, Connecticut—The lights on the Charles W. Morgan glitter softly from across the Mystic River as the hulking black ship rocks in the evening light. In the distance a whistle blows, signaling that it’s time for the drawbridge to go up, and for a cluster of white sailboats to cut across into the deep blue Atlantic.

One World, One Dream

GABORONE, Botswana—There are two emotions that will forever spring to my mind whenever I recall my arrival in Gaborone, Botswana to conduct HIV/AIDS research. One is of an unbearable excitement to set foot on the African continent for the first time and embark on what promised to be a hugely transformative internship and adventure.

The Purpose of a Place

CHENGDU, China—Although Chengdu is only the fourth largest city in China, and not well known in the Western world, it is at the center of the massive urbanization and modernization occurring throughout the country.

The High Table

CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom—At the back of the dining hall of Trinity College, Cambridge (we just call it “hall,” with no article—as in, “I’m going to hall for dinner!”) there’s a raised platform. Unlike the raised part of Quincy dining hall, the tables on this platform face the rest of the tables in the dining hall at a right angle.

Eat, Pay, Live

BOSTON—Life has been prodding me in the general direction of "adulthood" for some time now. Sometimes it even succeeds. After all, I’m already like 19—and what better assurance of adult status could I have than the knowledge that I’m only two years away from legally purchasing alcohol?


DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania—The city rose half-built along the coast. Enterprise and resources somersaulted over each other, tripping and colliding in their haste to erect the next gleaming structure.

Never Say "Kekko"

NIKKO, Japan—There is a Japanese saying that goes, “Never say kekko until you’ve seen Nikko.” Kekko means magnificent, splendid, wonderful; as I stood surrounded by gold leaf-covered buildings, I could certainly understand what the phrase was driving at.

Kuvuza Umutima / Talking to the Heart

I had never thought of the language I speak being such a critical part of who I am. Kinyarwanda, however, is spoken in so limited an area that its speakers see it as a big part of their shared identity—and the foreigner who makes an effort to learn gets some respect for it.

A Tale of Two Cities and a Soccer Match

At dinner, our conversation was regularly punctuated by cries of local supporters. Soon, however, the people at the small hole-in-the-wall diner next door erupted into cheers: the final score was 2-0. “Somos campeones, otra vez,” they chanted. “We are the champions, once again!”

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