It has been a good minute since my last post, so I am really excited to check in and update you on my status this summer. I didn’t have the chance to share my summer plans with you all before I went on hiatus in the spring, but I am happy to share that I am spending the summer in Cambridge and working at the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau until August. I could not be happier with my decision to stay close to campus. Cambridge is my home away from my real home (Fairfax, Virginia) so for me, Summer 2012 is all about embracing the familiar.
Embracing the familiar is a far cry from last year’s summer break. Instead of staying close to home or on-campus, last summer I participated in the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Program in Barcelona. It was my first time spending any substantial amount of time in Europe, and I am so appreciative of the experience. Even though it was a Harvard program, I met a lot of new people and formed lasting friendships. As a group, we really took advantage of our weekends and used the time outside of class to travel. I experienced a lot of previously unfamiliar cities (Madrid, Granada, and Seville to name a few) and took in some truly amazing sights. Just as importantly, I became more comfortable communicating in Spanish in the classroom, and the street signs and side conversations throughout the city served as my (brief and superficial) introduction to Catalan. All in all, last summer was a stimulating adventure. Looking back on it now, I would not change a thing, but leading up to this summer I was definitely looking forward to something different.
That being said, living in on-campus for the summer does not mean that I am not experiencing new things. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the past, during the school year I live in Pforzheimer House, which is one of the three houses that are located in the Radcliffe Quad. As a Quadling, I am used to having some distance between my home and the hustle and bustle of Harvard Square and the center of campus, but this summer I’m getting a taste of life on the (Charles) River. I have summer housing in Adams House, and right now, I am loving the convenience. I can walk out of my room and have a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee in my hand in less than 5 minutes. The Quad commute is not as big of a deal during the school year, but during the summer the central location of Adams saves me from the oppressive heat and humidity.
As I am writing this entry, I am realizing that even though I am in Cambridge at the moment, elements of my Barcelona Summer are still present. At the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB), part of my work is to serve as a translator for Spanish-speaking clients. The lectures and assignments for the course I took in Barcelona were entirely in Spanish, and I am not sure that I would feel comfortable in this position, if I didn’t have last summer’s experience to assure me of my capability. On top of that, I met my summer roommate, Tessa, when I was in Barcelona last summer. Tessa wasn’t in the same program as me, but she was working in a lab in the city so we got to know each other really well. Tessa and I are also in the Crimson Key Society together, but we became good friends in Barcelona. In the name of platitudes, I guess you could say that the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. No need to roll your eyes at me, because I already beat you to it.
Nothing concludes a post like a cheesy saying, so that’s all I have to say for today. I hope that everyone is looking forward to a relaxing Fourth of July!