Monday, June 25, 2012

Panorama of Events


I apologize for not blogging in the previous days. An unfortunate event occurred on Friday evening in which I had misplaced my Brown ID. I didn't notice until I got back to my building from dinner. I searched every single pocket in my backpack and still couldn't find it after ten minutes. Did I forget to mention that the concrete floors outside were flooding with rainwater, the sky was pouring, the weather was hot an humid, there were distant sounds of rumbling thunder, and that shots of lightning were bombarding me every second? Luckily, one of my floor-mates came down and opened the door for me.

I slugged up the two flights of stairs, trying to make my shoes squeak as little as possible. I knew that without my ID to get back into the building, I wouldn't be leaving my room much tonight. Instead, I decided to start blogging and get more sleep for Newport the following day. Just as I thought my day couldn't possibly get any worse, my laptop decided to go brain dead on me. My files did not load, and my screen remained blank. I stared at that blank screen for over half an hour, wondering why of all times my newly bought laptop would break down on me. As a result, I haven't been able to type up my blogs online for the previous days. However, Don has talked to me about the problem and has graciously volunteered to send over one of his laptops to me. Once I receive the laptop on Tuesday, I promise I'll be up and running again. 

I'll basically be posting the blogs from Friday - Sunday in one whole blog. I'll try to make them seem as interesting and short as possible. So please, bear with me.


Jamming on my homework
Friday was kind of a blur for me. Because of the dim and wet weather, I didn't really go exploring much. We did, however, have a very interesting day in class. It was very different from the other days. A few days ago, Professor Coleman had given us a worksheet and told us to define them. Today, we went through the terms but also related it to some of the recent economic events that link to it. For example, we talked about credit default swaps (which are sort of like "credit protection" policies) and how it was related to the AIG crisis. We also went through some important questions like "how do banks get money" and "how does investment work". I always used to ask my dad silly things like "Why don't we just get rid of money and we just trade items for other items?" After Friday's session, I finally realized that the economy is not as simple as it seems. You can't simply leave banks to bankrupt, or else there will be no more investing or borrowing. How will people buy houses then? If people can't buy homes, how will the government get their land value tax? And if the government does not have money in their banks, how do we expect ourselves to get school funding, or get that bumpy highway fixed? No. Economics are a much more complex puzzle. However, for every minute I spend in "Introduction to Macroeconomics", a bit more of that puzzle is solved. 

I mostly stayed in my dorm for the rest of the day starting on my new homework assignment and catching up on some rest. The rest of the day was mostly just me stressing over my Brown ID and my laptop.


Soaking up some sunlight in the park with Ms. K
Saturday was a pretty leisure day for me. I woke up at 8:30 AM to the roars of the buses that would be taking most of the Summer@Brown students to Newport. I was full of envy because I really wanted to go to the beach with everyone else, but I had to make sure I solved (or at least attempt to solve) my ID and laptop problem first. Tired of the revving engines, I decided to wake up and start of the day with some early breakfast. I called Ying-An over and we walked down to the V-Dubb together. Thayer Street was emptier than usual (probably because all the students were at Newport) so the walk was surprisingly quick. We got to the dining hall in about 7 minutes. As I walked towards the counter and began thinking of how to explain my lost Brown ID problem to the lunch lady, there it was. My ID, with my name and face on it, was lying on the counter. The lunch lady had seen it on one of the tables while cleaning up and held on to it for me. I was so grateful and glad that I wouldn't have to pay an extra $10 for a new ID. 

Ying and I met up with Ms. Kaplan at Starbucks after breakfast. She came over to help me with my laptop and ID problems. We discovered that the laptop couldn't be fixed here, and I had already found my ID. So instead, Ying and I decided to take her downtown to see one of the events that I found online. Unfortunately, the time online was wrong and the show wouldn't start for another 5 hours. Since we were already here, we decided to go to Macy's. I bought myself a blazer for the dinner at Boston we'd be going to a few days prior to our return back to California. I had left my suit jacket at home and it would've been to much of a hassle to have that shipped over to me. On our way from the mall to the car, I also saw Professor Coleman. We talked for a while (since we walked in the same direction) and got him introduced to Ms. Kaplan. 

One of the historical houses on Benefit Street
Since Ying-An and I didn't have any plans for the rest of the day, we decided to just cruise around Providence with Ms. Kaplan. On our way to the grocery store, we passed by some of the most historical houses in Providence. Every house had their own golden plaque with the year it was built and the names of the original owners on them. Some of the houses there even dated back to the late 1700's. We actually even passed by the house of Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones. She was considered as the greatest African American woman soprano singer in the late 19th to the early 20th century. In fact, she performed at the White House several times for President Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt as well as the British royal family. [This was all on the plaque outside of her house.] Ironically, Benefit Street (where the houses were on) was one of the most "unhistorical-looking" placed in all of Providence. It's hard to believe that so little of Providence's history is exposed to the public. I'd expect the house of Matilda Jones to, at least, be referred to as an interesting spot to stop by. In retrospect, I'm very glad that Ms. Kaplan took the long way to the grocery store. Otherwise, I would have been like many others and missed out on the history of Benefit Street. 

Feeling the summer breeze and smell of grass at my  new favorite place in Providence
Ying-An's residential adviser invited him to the park later in the afternoon. I decided to tag along. It was a nice 20 minute walk and definitely worth it. It was a very nice spot next to the water, full of excitement and people. My favorite part of the park was the consistent wind that kept blowing even as we played handball in the hot summer sun. 

Waterfire with the people of Providence
We also went to Waterfire that evening. It was a really great experience. The show alone wasn't what I expected it to be, but it was totally worth my time. I'm very glad I went to experience some of the Providence culture. We had a lot of fun that evening, especially Kelly (who ran across to the other side and back just to get a white flower). I had a very great day exploring the history and culture of Providence, and every new building or piece of art I see makes my love Providence even more.


The highlight of Sunday was our trip to the RISD museum. Nick and Emily were busy doing homework, so Ying-An, Kelly, Tayler, and I went to RISD with Ms. Kaplan. RISD was full of wonderful works of art and antiques, all lined up on their little glass shelves. We saw a giant Buddha and a hall of paintings. My favorite part within the whole museum had to have been the gift shop. It wasn't the shopping itself that was impressive. Rather, it was the fact that all the products sold in that gift shop were made by students at RISD museum. It was insane. They had amazingly designed ties, rainbow makers, and even toy bug robots. I've had such a great weekend exploring Providence. From historical streets to the creative minds of the students, I've grown to love Providence so much. I don't think I want these two weeks to pass by so quickly anymore.... 

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