Once again, here I am blogging instead of studying. I got out of my midterm OSCE last week, thanks to my bad back, and so I've got it tonight instead. Yesterday, I ended up finishing up season five of 'Friends', then watching another four episodes of 'Lost' season one (just four episodes left), and then went to sleep instead of studying. This morning, I got up early, came to school, got coffee, and now here I am instead of studying. So, I'll make this a quick post.
As promised, I am now going to report to you the things that I most miss about Boston. Let me start with a story: it's an unhappy story about the state of Calgary ice cream affairs, so skip to the next paragraph, if you don't want to see it. Me, I'm an ice cream lover. In undergrad, I used to love having ice cream and apple pie for dinner, since ice cream could be had for $1.00 per litre, and pie was ultracheap (under a dollar) at the end-of-week baked-goods sellout at the local IGA. Eventually, I discovered Greg's Ice Cream, which was pretty awesome. It made for the occasional tasty treat during my years there, and set me on my path of searching for the finest ice creams possible. I found myself in Calgary last summer, and so began my search for the best ice cream in town. I started with a place located right near my apartment, that I was told had great ice cream. Atmosphere was nice, but the ice cream was nothing special at all. Next, through discussions with classmates, I was told that the best ice cream in town was at another store, a short drive away. I went there one evening in November, and was overjoyed to find a fantastic selection of flavours. I bought a tub of chestnut, taro, and some other flavour, now forgotten. That night, I began with the chestnut. I love chestnut purée and chestnut pudding; this ice cream was nothing like that. Instead, it was bitter and flavourless. The next night, I moved on to the taro. I love taro; there was this chinese delivery place in Toronto that used to know me as the guy who ate a bucket of taro with every meal. This taro ice cream was atrocious, having only purple in common with that awesome root. Yuck. To top it off, that night, I was pretty sick. Refusing to believe that ice cream could make me sick, I tried it again the next night. The flavour was as bad as the previous night, and I became sick once again. Just to make sure, I had it again the next night, and got sick again. Well, by then I had finished the taro, and moved on to the last flavour. It was gross too, although I can't remember what it was supposed to be. I threw out the rest. I never throw out ice cream, so that was a first.
Anyways, that brings me to my list of things I miss about Boston:
1) Ice Cream. Ah, Boston has two spectacular ice cream places: Toscanini's and Herrell's. I loved both of those places, and have many happy memories about both. The flavours, the friends, the good times. My sister had a high-school friend living near San Fransisco, who married a guy who had gone to MIT. He would have their favourite flavour shipped in on dry ice from Toscanini's. Anyways, both of these places are located near...
2) Harvard Yard. No place in Boston has the atmosphere that Harvard Square does, and no place feels as good to walk through as Harvard Yard. How terrible to work at Harvard, and be located at the medschool, instead of enjoying the trees and grass of the yard, the activity of the square, and the pleasantness of the undergrad residences. The Harvard campus is definitely the best thing about Boston.
3) Boca Grande. There was a location not far from our Harvard lab, and another close to the apartment I lived in for a couple of years. Both were great. A lot of Bostonians liked Anna's, but I have no idea why. I have found nothing mildly resembling Boca Grande here in Calgary.
4) Pho Pasteur. I know there are a lot of good Vietnamese places in Calgary, but I guess I just liked the atmosphere of Pho Pasteur. Again, on Harvard Square, although I liked the Newbury location too.
5) Korean food. Three places come to mind: Café Han River at St. Mary's, Korea House in Chinatown, and best of all, Buk Kyung II in Alston. At that last place, I was introduced to jajang myeon, which was spectacular there. Interestingly, one day while in İstanbul last summer, I succumbed to the urge to eat jajungmyun, and walked from Taxim across to the only Korean place I knew in town, in behind the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet. I had my jajang myeon (coincidentally with a Korean family from Boston sitting at the next table), and then headed home, stopping by an internet café on the way; that café stop was where I found out that I had gotten into medschool. So, medschool and jajang myeon are now forever linked in my mind.
6) Walking everywhere. I guess I miss living in a town where I walked pretty much everywhere. Partly that was because I disliked the mass transit system, but still. Calgary is a car town, no doubt about it.
Hmm, that's all I can think of! :) Anyways, if I was to make a list of things I love about Calgary, public health care would be near the top. You know, I was thinking that I wish that I had watched more 'Friends' before moving to the US. I would have had a better idea of what a dog-eat-dog world it was out there...