Tag Archives: Positivity

Punta Cana

So far 2017 has been a weird year. I started off wanting to do it all; now I simply feel like slowing it down. I always knew I would have a quarter life crisis, just never thought it would feel this overwhelming. In May, when I went to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, I felt the need to take a few steps back, analyze and slow things down.


“Once she stopped
rushing through life,
she was amazed how much more
life she had time for.”
Unknown


For those who are not familiar with the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a resort town located in the municipality of Higüey, in La Altagracia Province. 

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I was super excited because this would be my first time in Punta Cana. I took the trip with my best friend Shakia and my sorority sister Jadira. After the ultimate struggle to book everything, we managed to find a round trip flight with Dominican Wings and stay at Meliá Caribe Tropical all inclusive resort.

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I was nervous to fly Dominican Wings because they are a fairly new airline with only one airplane. In the end, it wasn’t so bad. Other than the excessive waiting to board the plane (on the way there) and the lack of good snacks (on both rides,) we managed to get to the Dominican Republic and back to the United States safe and sound (all for a good price!)

Meliá was perfect. What I loved about it most was how true they stayed to the Dominican culture. To be completely honest, throughout the entire 7 day vacation, I felt like a true Queen. My hair was flourishing, my skin was vibrant, my vibe was chill and the world seemed to make sense (at least for the week.)

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We did two excursions. The buggy ride with Adventure Boogies and a boat ride to Saona Island.

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The buggy ride was so much fun! We all took turns driving around the dusty back roads of Macao; experienced Macao Beach as well as a secluded ranch where there was a cave and free samples of delicious hot cocoa, coffee and Mama Juana (the famous aphrodisiac Dominican drink, which we drank all throughout the trip.)

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On our way to Saona, our questionable transportation ride stopped at a gas station, which had the cutest little cafe. There, I had the best Yuca Pastelito I have ever tasted! Eventually, we made it to the dock site where we got on a speed boat and headed towards some shallow waters. Once we arrived, Shakia and I managed to hop into the ice cold water and take a few pics with some Star fishes. Miraculously, right after that, what was supposed to be a gloomy rainy day turned into a day filled with bright sunshine. Right on time for Saona.

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Saona Island was extremely touristic. While we were there, I learned that the vendors are only allowed to make a living from the tourism. I ended up buying my aunt a bracelet made out of Larimar, a gemstone only found in the Dominican Republic. It makes you really think about the importance of tourism for some countries.

My favorite part was the Yacht ride back to Higüey. Despite the music and the people getting drunk on cheap rum and coke, I felt such a peacefulness. I loved every second of it. I even enjoyed a few dances with an Argentinian man who was sitting next to me. I have come to realize that it’s the simple moments that I appreciate the mostLife is merely but an arrangement of moments, both good and bad.

While at Meliá, if I wasn’t drinking a Coco Loco, I was sipping on a Cosmo. If I wasn’t eating, then I was most likely laying on the beach or enjoying the pool. I mingled a lot with the staff and learned quite a few things about life in DR. It still makes me laugh when I think about how different you are considered if you are Dominican-American, like myself. Though the same yet different, but then again we all are different.

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Overall, it was a good vacation. It made me really put 2017 into perspective and brought into light the need to go slower. There’s still a lot I have to figure out, but you have to start somewhere, right?

xoxo
-Tiffany

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Welcome to LA

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha

It has been three months since I went to California and my life since then has completely changed.

 

It was a trip where I was able to put a lot of things in my life into perspective and remind myself that “impossible” still spells out “possible.” My trip to the West Coast played a huge factor in helping me stay determined, and continue to strive to accomplish the goals I had set for myself at that time.

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We can overcome challenges as long as we believe that it is possible.



My time in Los Angeles started with a challenge. It was a morning of revelations; realizing that what my friends and I envisioned Los Angeles to be, really wasn’t. It wasn’t a magical place where everything shines and beauty fills the streets like the sunlight fills the sky. It was a place with struggles and untold stories; a place where the sparkle of diamonds easily takes the attention away from what’s bleak and hidden.

After taking and overnight greyhound bus from San Francisco [Read about my last day] we find ourselves starring at the streets of downtown LA. It was not what we expected. The poverty was evident and it made us wonder how such a famous city got to this point. It was around 7am and the sun wasn’t out yet. We headed straight to my friend Albert’s apartment, who so generously allowed us to stay with him for the next four days. After settling in, we headed to the Grand Central Market to eat some breakfast. The market was filled with all types of delicious food! We ended up getting breakfast at the famous Eggslut. I had the best bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel I have ever tasted.

I wish that throughout our stay in LA we would of went back to try some of the other foods available at the market because I have heard some great reviews… so if you ever find yourself in downtown Los Angeles, please go get some food at the Grand Central Market. 

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After we were done eating, we picked up our rental car and parked it in a parking garage for the rest of the day. To make matters worse like if we weren’t already concerned by the poverty in the city, as we left the garage, the situation escalated when we were followed by two men. It was one of the scariest experiences I have ever encountered on a trip. Luckily, we were able to escape them but it definitely reminded us of the dangers that three girls traveling alone could easily encounter. When we arrived back to the apartment we were pretty shook and swore to stay with Albert for the rest of our stay in the city.

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Later that day we took the LA Metro to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of Los Angeles biggest and most known attraction’s comprised of all the Hollywood Stars. The area kind of reminded me of 42nd street in New York City because it was lively and busy. Honestly, I felt a bit star struck as I stood there and took in everything going on around me.

As we walked down the Walk of Fame and looked at all the different names on the stars we came across the TLC Chinese Theater.

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We didn’t go in but we inspected the outside and loved what we saw… a little reminder to go on and change the world.

After a few minutes of walking it dawned on us that we were hungry; it was time to get some In-N-Out Burger. This is a huge must do in the west coast.

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When we go in I see the biggest line I have ever seen at a fast food restaurant. However, they weren’t joking when they said In and Out. Regardless of the line, the food came out pretty quick and I must say that the burger and animal fries were quite delicious.

We had a rough start with the challenges we faced in the morning but by night time things definitely got better and we started seeing the city in a different light. After our burgers, we walked on the stars some more until we came across the Baja Beach Bar. We saw some great drink specials and just like that it was time to start drinking and time to start celebrating our first day in LA. I really loved this place because it had a nice relaxed vibe to it, a good beer selection and great service.

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Next we were off to Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. This bar was fun and retro with a cool 70’s theme all around. We walked in through a refrigerator door and I was sold immediately. The place was packed and it was before 10pm! That should say something, right?

We headed back to downtown LA and Mrs. Fish was our next stop. We ended up spending most of our night in this nightclub listening to an amazing live band. I had such a great time dancing and singing along to the songs that I knew. Even taught someone how to two-step. We left after the band finished performing straight to Perch Los Angeles, a French inspired rooftop bar. Perch has an incredible view of downtown Los Angeles.

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It was the beauty I was expecting to see the instant I stepped out of the Greyhound earlier that day. There’s beauty everywhere sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find it. 

We enjoyed the view and about an hour later walked back to Albert’s apartment. The streets of downtown LA were peaceful and in the darkness the sounds of laughter filled the skies. Before calling it a night, we went into Pellicola Pizzeria, a cute hip pizzeria that shows movies every night. The pizza was tasty and after we pleased our bellies we were happy to be safe and proud to have made it through the day.

[To Be Continued…]

Last Day: Golden Gate Bridge

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

We have reached the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge! We were so excited to finally have made it to San Francisco’s most iconic monument. [Read Here: Beginning of Day 3]

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The bridge was an impressive view; stunning. It was 1.7 miles of beauty, connecting San Francisco to California’s northern counties. It was as if we entered into a new world. The sun and warmth was no longer with us. The area surrounding the entrance of the bridge was foggy and windy. Again, we longed for a warm coat, but not enough to deter us from our adventure and making it to the other side.

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We were so excited to be walking the Golden Gate Bridge. It was one of those experiences you only dream of doing, until somehow you catch yourself living the dream.

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We were surrounded by beauty. A scenic view full of possibilities as we walked away from the city. I remember walking and thinking, if this moment was possible anything could be possible. The same smile I conjured up that day resurfaces as I reminisce. At that moment problems were nonexistent; I saw all the possible doors I could open by just starring at the vast sea.

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Slowly, the fog started disappearing and the sun resurfaced. It was magical as if we were crossing into holy grounds. However, we didn’t really know what to expect on the other side.

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Turns out that at the end of the bridge is Vista Point, a place where you can take in the beauty that is the city of San Francisco, along with the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was simply breathtaking. Vista Point is located in the town of Sausalito, CA. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore Sausalito being that it was a 15min walk into town. However, on our way towards the Point, we did receive great reviews from a friendly couple we came across.

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By the time we finished taking in the view we realized how hungry we were. It took us a bit of time to order a Lyft because Vista Point has no exact address. Luckily, we found a Lyft that was already at the Point and was able to pick us up without any hassle. We headed straight to Liquid Gold, after reading reviews, hoping for a great meal. Come to find out the place is strictly beer and BYOF (Bring Your Own Food.)

We asked for some close by places to eat and the bartender directed us towards Cordon Bleu, a Vietnamese restaurant. Cordon Bleu is a San Francisco must find. It is nothing fancy nor special but it was amazing! Think of it as authentic Vietnamese comfort food. Something you would get if you were to visit the household of a Vietnamese family. There’s nothing better than eating those type of meals on vacation. Happiness in a plate, simple as that. After stuffing our faces we made it back to Liquid Gold for our beer tasting.

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Liquid Gold is a new Bottle Shop and Tap Room in San Francisco. I’m a beer fanatic so I was super excited about finally experiencing a beer tasting. Beer tasting at Liquid Gold includes four beers (local and international beer) of your choosing from the Live Tap Menu.

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This was our last day in San Francisco so we enjoyed our beers as we looked back on our adventures. After about an hour, we started getting ready to wrap things up and head back to our Airbnb. We had to head to the Greyhound station in about 1.5 hours to catch our overnight bus to Los Angeles. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Damaris decided that she needed a San Francisco hoodie and then that’s when I decided that I needed a California hoodie. Stephany gave us the side eye, but after deliberating back and forth, we chugged the last of our beers, ordered a Lyft and headed back down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We ended up getting our hoodies from the same shop Steph got her’s. Why didn’t we just get one back then? Who knows. Once we got our hoodies it was time to head back and say bye to Nob Hill.

To be Continued…

Differences & Culture Plus A Wedding

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides” – David Viscott

Santi(Located at the old airport)

Earlier this month one of my best friends got married to the love of her life. I took a plane to Santiago de los Caballeros (Santiago,) Dominican Republic and watched my friend say I do with so much joy and happiness in her eyes. After 11 years of friendship; after all the wondering as to who would get married first, we saw how terribly wrong we were in thinking I would be the first to walk down the isle in anything other than a bridesmaid dress!

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Though I am of Dominican descent (from Santa Bárbara de Samaná) I actually haven’t been to the Dominican Republic since I was probably six or seven years old. Needless to say, that as soon as I stepped foot on Dominican ground I experienced serious culture shock.

I could go into this rant about culture and identity; what it felt like to be classified as Dominican-American or how it felt to not be considered Dominican at all but, simply American. However, at the end of the day I know who I am and what I am. So why focus on that?

Instead, I’ll focus on everything that left me in awe like the streets and it’s colors, the liveliness, the heat (love hot weather,) the poverty, the music (that I enjoy so much,) the simplicity, the crazy driving (You won’t ever catch me driving over there!) but most importantly the WEDDING!

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The streets amazed me. There was so much liveliness, it was a raw image of simplicity. Its beauty magnified with the happiness of the people that inhabited the surroundings.

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The driving was insane! I think I would suffer from anxiety if I had to drive over there. For starters I hate driving in narrow streets! I think I suffer from claustrophobia when I’m driving because I cringe whenever I drive in super tight streets. So lets imagine me driving in a bunch of narrow streets with close to no traffic lights and huge cars (oh I also hate driving big cars) I would cry! But this is what I appreciate about traveling, coming in contact with all the differences you find in the midst of all that is going on around you. Ultimately, it is what gives your trip meaning and gives you long lasting memories.

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I was only in Santiago for the weekend (Thursday-Sunday.) Therefore, I wasn’t able to explore as much as I wanted too. However, I was able to accompany Mayra (the bride) and her now husband on their pre-wedding photo-shoot which, allowed me to visit a few areas and discover some beautiful locations.

We visited three spots where the amazing photographer was able to capture amazing pictures of the couple:

1. Monumento A Los Heroes De La Restauracion (Monument to the Heroes of the Resurrection)
2. Fortaleza San Luis (St.Luis Fortress)

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3. Antiguo Aeropuerto (Old airport)

After the photo-shoot while driving back I was able to witness the poverty in the city. It’s always shocking to see so much poverty; it really makes you appreciate everything you have. People visit these tropical islands and sometimes forget that in the midst of such beauty there is a deep sadness and need within.

After the pre-wedding activities and getting to know the city a little better finally, came the day of the wedding. Everyone was super excited for the big day! We had the best make-up artist in the city turn us into celebrities and our hair came out absolutely perfect! I felt gorgeous but most importantly, Mayra looked absolutely stunning!!

The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was spectacular. It’s always breathtaking to see a love story unfold and bloom. From beginning to end the night was magical filled with lots and lots of dancing and laughter; of course can’t forget the Presidente (Dominican beer) lots of that too…the entire weekend actually!

I almost even missed la hora loca (the crazy hour) because of a quick bathroom break! Definitely one of the funnest parts of the wedding. There we celebrated the infamous carnival (Dominican style of course) with los Diablo Cojuelo. It was super cool because she had a photographer taking Polaroid pictures to pass to people as souvenirs (yes, I took one.) It fills my heart with joy that my best friend got the day she deserved and I only wish her many more blessings to come.

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Thank you Mayra for being a great friend and for the trust you enlisted in me to help make your day one for you to always remember. I couldn’t be more proud of you and I am happy to continue to be a part of your life!

Colorful Cambridge Pt.2

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself” – David Mitchell

How is it that you can easily get consumed by everything going on in your life? It feels like in the blink of an eye so much has happened! It’s exhilarating realizing that a positive mentality will eventually bring you positive outcomes.

So what do I do with all my positivity? Clean out my bank account and book myself a trip to California! Yes, I’m broke, happy and going to Cali! But that’s a story for another day…

It has been weeks since I last wrote and I never finished my story on my trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts. [Read part one]

Ah yes, Claire, Damaris, Stephany and myself just finished our trip to Harvard University and are now headed to dinner. Claire picked a nice little spot, Grendel’s Den Restaurant and Bar located on Harvard Square. Grendel has half price hours from 5-7:30pm where most items on their menu are half priced! (yes, we caught the special!) Also, the portion’s of food served are spectacular! We were all so full. I’m not sure how we managed not to take a nap right there and then.

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Damaris had a chocolate craving so next thing you know we ended up at L.A. Burdick Chocolate Cafe, also located in Harvard Square. The place was small and chic with limited seating. Luckily, we managed to score a table while Damaris ate her chocolate cake. I was super excited because as I bought my first macaroon ever (yes, ever!) there was a French couple right next to me speaking Français! Talk about the full French experience. So as any other moment when I’m indulging in French culture, I freak out and start eavesdropping; feeling super proud of myself that I understand the couple I start saying French words like a total creep. After, my moment of excitement it was time to take a bite of my hazelnut macaroon…it was perfect.

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We continued our walk in Harvard Square and decided to have a few beers at Charlie’s Kitchen. We found outside seating by the fire and our shivers from the cold wind quickly disappeared. You don’t realize how much you miss catching up with your friends until you sit down and look back at the moment. It’s a great reminder as to why the friendship exist. Distance isn’t a problem for true friendships.

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We then find ourselves at Alden and Harlow an upscale place known for its fancy cocktails and snacks. I decided to get the Common Place cocktail (Gin, Sage, Clove Honey, Lemon, Benedictine and Egg White.) I am happy to say that I ended up getting the best cocktail out of the group!
**FYI this is a great date night place!

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We ended our night in Harvard Square at Hong Kong Restaurant which, is also a lounge and a nightclub. The night consisted of a Scorpion Bowl, a dancing bouncer and an unexpected dance battle! With exhaustion sucking our bodies dry of energy, we headed off back to the apartment pleased with our great day!

Sunday arrived and so did our departure. We were truly saddened by the end of such a refreshing weekend.

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But before leaving we had breakfast at The Friendly Toast. What an amazing breakfast! Located in Kendall Square, The Friendly Toast is a superb breakfast and brunch restaurant with a hipster vibe and a unique menu. The service was amazing and the food beyond delicious! I couldn’t have been more satisfied with everything.

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Every time I travel I discover something new wether it be about the people I’m with, the location or myself. This trip helped me discover the possibility I thought I lost. It helped me remember that, “Thinking here goes nothing could be the start of everything” – Drew Wagner
I am truly proud of Claire for taking that leap into the unknown. She made a new home for herself and seemed so happy with her new life. It was truly inspiring to see her in her element. We all need to take that leap because we might find true happiness where we least expect it.

Why Be Great?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates

In the past few weeks I have been throwing around the word “great” quite often.

Be great!” “You’re great!” “Simply be great!” “Don’t be afraid; just be great!

Then I was finally asked why? Well, why not? In the past I spent too much time focusing on the old and not enough time focusing on the present, on the new. I didn’t realize that it diminished my ability for greatness. It stumped my capacity to achieve greatness and simply made me stuck. I became depressed and lived day by day wishing I could go back to fix where I believed it all went wrong.

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One day I woke up and looked around me… I realized that there is a lot that I should be grateful for. I realized that life is merely but a puzzle that I have to slowly piece together. I realized that there’s no other version of myself that I rather be than the version that is simply great and thus, this blog came about.

It’s time we all start accepting ourselves for who we are with our flaws, mistakes and failures. We need to realize that despite of it all, there’s nothing else we can do but grow because greatness isn’t defined by our accomplishments, but by our self-acceptance and belief in our potential to succeed and achieve whatever we put our minds too.

I have two quotes that I wake up to everyday:
“Write your own life story.”
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it”

So here it is: I am not telling you writing your own life story will be easy. I am telling you that writing your own life story will be worth it, if you simply believe it. Therefore, do yourself a favor and SIMPLY BE GREAT!

Colorful Cambridge Pt.1

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr. Seuss

Life is full of moments that eventually become nothing more than a memory. Memories that will bring you everything and nothing all at the same time. Memories that will bring you laughter, empowerment, lessons, sadness and maybe even tears. Memories that will make you or break you. 

About two weeks ago, I went to visit my friend Claire in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a trip filled with great weather and company manifesting into great moments.

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My friends and I arrived Friday night and immediately were ready to tackle on the city. We were so excited to see Claire, that the tiredness we felt from our drive and long day quickly went away. Our first stop of the night was Brick and Mortar. The place had a chill atmosphere, good music and Massachusetts beer; what more could I ask for? I love trying new beers so of course I tried something I never had before… Cisco Beer made right in Massachusetts. It was super delicious. For the rest of the night we laughed and danced until the bar closed at 2am.

Now, it’s 2am and Claire insist that we head over to the Clover Food Lab. We get there and find ourselves at an organic Fast Food Place! How chic is that? Here’s the best part, it’s the only food spot open after 2am! You don’t see that in Jersey! But why would we? with a McDonalds in every corner. I love these out of the ordinary experiences because they remind me that there’s more out there than what I am usually surrounded by.

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As quick as the blink of an eye it became Saturday morning. We started our day with homemade mimosas and delicious eggs (meant to be a huge omelette but instead turned into scrambled eggs.) We joked around so much we didn’t end up leaving the apartment till 3pm. However, we were worry free; time was irrelevant.

Our first stop was the Out of the Blue Art Gallery and More. Welcomed by a huge fluffy dog, we found ourselves in a place that housed the work of local artists and musicians. Art brightens the soul and encourages the mind. Why not submerge yourself in it once in awhile?

Then our race with the sun began! We were headed to Harvard Square where the famous Ivy League school Harvard University stands. When you hear so much about a place sometimes you just don’t know what to expect. You come up with these outrages notions of what things are “supposed to look like” that at the end of the day you aren’t really sure if you believe it yourself.

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So Harvard, yea, not what I thought it was. First off, the school is practically a tourist spot. I thought that was funny. It is also the least colorful place in Cambridge! Nothing stands out. Cambridge is very bohemian and colorful and then there’s Harvard right in the middle with its preppy and chic aura. Great oxymoron.

Has anyone heard about the John Harvard statue? I certainly have not. As we approach the statue of John Harvard we see people taking pictures. We ask ourselves, “why take a picture with this statue?” Casually, we overhear that if you rub Mr. Harvard’s foot you get good luck. Okay, cool! Let’s take a picture rubbing the foot!

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For the remainder of our trip I thanked Johnny for our fabulous luck! Now, today, I sit here writing this blog and decide to do a little research on “The Boston Girl’s” good luck charm! (From the moment we planned our trip, we thought we were visiting Claire in Boston because we had no idea Cambridge was its own city. We decided to keep our original group name despite the confusion in location.) What’s the first sentence I come across? “Don’t touch John Harvard’s foot!” “But why?” I ask myself. Apparently for some ODD reason people believe that if you pee on this statue’s foot you will get good luck! WHAT?! There you have it people…peeing can somehow bring you good luck. I rather not think about how my hands touched a foot that has been continuously peed on, but instead that I did not need to pee on Johnny’s foot to be given his well wishes.

Just like that we finished our visit at Harvard and went about our day.

To be continued…