Californians are used to enjoying spring weather– breezy sunshine, an occasional drizzle– beginning in late February. So when Easter Sunday in Cambridge brings us a high of 50 degrees Fahrenheit and chilly winds, we have to make a little sunshine of our own….Continue Reading
You would expect the best sushi to be in New York– at least in the United States. Well, I haven’t tried every sushi restaurant there is, but one indispensable house of sushi is most certainly O Ya Restaurant near Boston South Station. Tucked away a block or two from the iconic train station, this little place is doing huge things with the best fish in the sea.
It was breathtaking when I handled these fragile letters for the first time. I couldn’t believe that what was in my hands was nearly 120 years old, not to mention a significant part of Boston’s history. This was one of the many letters Robert Woods wrote to his professor, William Jewett Tucker, during his travels to England. The two would start a social settlement together in 1893. They would see men, women, and children in poverty come together in their community; their mission was to carry the spirit of the Social Gospel into Boston’s poorest neighborhoods.
It’s funny to think I’m writing my entire thesis on this preserved correspondence (and the ideas and institutions surrounding it), when it would only amount to a couple of emails today. Somehow the physical manifestation of their conversation– the yellowed paper, the nearly illegible cursive, the flaking edges– makes it seem more significant. And it helps that the library staff watched me like a hawk to make sure I didn’t take any “souvenirs” home with me.
I suppose I’ll look back nostalgically on the many hours in the archives in summer and fall 2013, months that now feel so long ago. A thesis is quite a hubristic task to take on, if you think about it. Trying to turn decades of ideas, developments, and relationships into 100 pages of writing is not unlike swallowing an elephant. But surely this is more about my journey than theirs… I can’t presume to capture the complexities of their experience with my limited, unexperienced vision. I suppose the process will deserve some reflection, after the huge sigh of relief that will likely last the entirety of spring break.
I’m writing because there’s some cosmic pressure on my shoulders. Completing a senior thesis never occurred to me as a way to risk my intellectual confidence, sanity, and sense of identity on something no one will ever read. The irony is almost as worth writing about as the thesis topic itself.
Desperation has always inspired me to create. There’s something about that release of tension during a crucial moment, when we fight against the “oughts” and relish in the glory of just existing. After writing this brief inaugural post I’ll probably return to a pile of articles yet to be read and analyzed. But for now, I’m setting up this blog– as the beginning of a new outlet.
Who knows what’s going to be on this website, available for all the world to see? I won’t worry about it now. Maybe it will include my favorite recipes, lifestyle advice, fun photographs and nostalgic musings here and there; perhaps it will become something far more specific. The open-endedness is thrilling. Like a rush of wings over calm morning water.