Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Boston - Day 1

It has been an awfully long time since I've written anything on this blog - mainly because much of the academic year has been taken up with teaching US History 1850s-1980s - something I loved and which, I believe, went pretty well.

However, as someone with just the barest toe-hold on an academic career at the moment, it didn't seem right to be writing about the course or the students - not least because one or two might stumble across this. But lectures are now over, both class assignments are marked and returned and there's just the exam for us all to look forward to. Once that's out of the way I will have time to reflect properly on an immensely interesting teaching experience - made all the richer by the parallel corporate work I was doing on Adecco's Unlocking Britain's Potential initiative.

Anyway, enough of that. I'm back in the US for the first time since June 2010 with research days booked in at MIT tomorrow, the JFK Library and the Eisenhower Library all next week. So this is the first of what I plan to be a 'Dear Diary' of the second of my three planned research trips across the course of the PhD research.

It's 6.10pm here but I'm already flagging fast after a long day travelling. I left home about 16 hours ago for a pretty uneventful journey - other than standing next to Sir Jackie Stewart on the Terminal 5 Transit at Heathrow. He was off to Bahrain for this weekend's race. The BA 747 was pretty packed. I had an older gentleman sat beside me who spent the whole journey leaning on my control buttons - my reading  light kept going on and off like a 70s disco while on four occasions he managed to pause my film - the interesting but slightly slow (and a tad shallow??) J Edgar. meanwhile an even more vintage grandma managed to recline her chair so far that she was almost in my lap for the greater part of the journey. Still the journey from home to a brown stone (looks more like red brick to me) house in Boston's South End was all pretty easy.

It's nice to be in a part of town that seems to have a real sense of community. This is quite a mixed neighbourhood - some trendy shops and cafes mixed in with some social housing, some gentrified streets and a massive catholic cathedral - and all just a few blocks south of Copley Square. I had thought of walking about a mile west tonight to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, but I'm just too tired. their game starts at 7.10pm - after midnight on my UK-clock. It's just a non-starter really, especially as I have a full day at MIT over in Cambridge tomorrow. I've been given what seem to be quite complicated travel instructions for a journey that looks not much more than a mile. I'm seriously thinking of walking - but does anyone walk over here - and is it even possible to cross the river on foot? I guess I'll find out in the morning.

Anyway, tonight's reading is Wiesner's Report to the President Elect on the Ad-Hoc Committee on Space - not that I really need anything to send me to sleep right now!

No comments: