Sunday, July 10, 2011

R&R&R&R (Rest, Recuperation, Running, and Ridiculous Movies)

Today, I enjoyed sleeping in until 8:30 in the morning. After we got ready to go, Julia, Alex and I walked to the Philadelphia Diner, which is a few blocks away from our dorms. There, we met with Mr. Miranda to check in and plan upcoming excursions. I ordered the French toast, and when I ate it I was once again surprised at how good the food was. During our meal, we discussed when we should meet to visit two more colleges, Swarthmore and Princeton. While I’m enjoying my stay here a lot, touring college campuses has been a highlight of this trip, so I am looking forward to seeing more. After our delicious breakfast, we headed back to our dorms briefly, and then got ready to go on a trip to K-Mart. We met outside of the front gate, and then took the subway over to the 13th Street station in downtown Philadelphia. While I didn’t intend to buy anything, I came along to hang with my friends and to see a little bit more of Philadelphia.

After lunch, I walked with Julia and Abheek and we visited the campus’s gym for the first time. The first thing that struck me was that the gym was very modernized. Getting inside was as easy as swiping my card and walking into the cardio room. While I’ve been walking around a lot each day, I still haven’t been getting enough exercise so it felt great to hop on a treadmill. I warmed up for a few minutes, and then set the machine so I could run for 3 miles. I felt a little bit out of shape because I hadn’t exercised for the past week, but I also had a ton of energy so I spent several minutes sprinting as hard as I could. After the treadmill, it was time for the muscular part of my workout. I spent about 20 minutes lifting weights and then walked back to the dorms with Julia and Abheek.

To avoid informing the rest of the dorms that I had just gotten back from the gym, I took a quick shower. Then I met up with about six of my friends and we decided to look around for a new place to eat dinner. We ended up deciding to eat at a Chinese restaurant called One because the menu looked nice, the prices were reasonable, and it was un-crowded so we would be able to socialize easily. We got some dumplings as appetizers, and then decided on about five different dishes to eat. The meal was served family style, so we each got to try what everyone picked which was fun.

After dinner, we strolled around town briefly and then came back to the dorms. We all settled into my/Alex’s room to watch a movie. The movie is called “Battle Royale”, and it was about a crazy highly fictional experiment of the Japanese government to purify its youth. The movie was ridiculous and in the company of like-minded others, it was extremely entertaining. Here I am surrounded by good friends with my belly full of good food and my body satisfied by a good workout. Tomorrow will be a mental workout. Goodnight.

A Day of Rest

Today was the first day of complete and unstructured fun here at UPenn. I got to sleep in a little bit, but not as much as my roommate (who slept till 11) because we met with Mario at 9:30 at our favorite breakfast diner. We ate a nice meal and then worked out the logistics of when we would be meeting with admissions counselors and taking tours of the surrounding colleges.

After that, we were free to go. I finished my lab surveys for the week and then went on a K-mart run with Brian and Alex's floor. I bought some much needed colorful pens and stickers to decorate letters, as well as a set of a tambourine, a triangle and two bell shakers so we can have some musical jam sessions in the lounge.

Later in the day, we checked out the gym. They have a really nice facility. There's a room full of all sorts of aerobic equipment: treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, etc. Brian is now a master of the stairs. They also had TVs and music playing which made it much easier to exercise without getting bored. Upstairs, they also have a fairly extensive weight room, which I am sorry to say, I did not fully appreciated (bench pressing is not my area of expertise).

Once we worked up an appetite, a group of 7 of us, 5 from Brian and Alex's floor, me, and Alison from my floor went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant (taking a break from the dorm food for an evening). We all split some very delicious dishes and finished the night off with some fortune cookies (they reminded me of our telescope lab).

After dinner we watched the Japanese film Battle Royale on a lap top in Brian's room. It was pretty ridiculous and very entertaining. The plot line is quite dark and fairly twisted, but it was fun watching it with the group.

Overall, today was a good end to the weekend. I was able to relax for the entire day and recharge for another week of exciting lectures and engaging labs. I am also getting to be much closer with the friends I have made here and it is very exciting.

I can't believe it has already been a week. I am really thankful that ours is the longest program and I have three more to take everything in, because I feel like there is always so much more to do!

A Brief Reunion Followed by Friendly Fun

Today was a relaxed day. We woke up much later than usual, we hung out in our group for the majority of the day, and we all had a lot of fun just being together. Julia, Brian, and I woke up around 8:45 so we could meet Mr. Miranda for breakfast at 9:30. We met at the same diner at which we had eaten together last time: the Philly Diner. We discussed what each of us has been doing for the past week. We learned that Mr. Miranda has been doing some reading, touring Philly’s Chinatown and Little Italy, and studying for his GRE. In return, we told him of everything that we’ve been doing. We also discussed our plans for visiting Swarthmore and Villanova. We plan to visit one of the two next Sunday and the other next Thursday after class. I look forward to visiting these colleges because I have heard a lot of great things about them from my college counselor, Sue Kim. It was nice to get back together as a group because it feels like it has been a very long time since we were all together as a cohort.

After breakfast, Brian and I hung out with Fred in our room. Brian and I completed our latest homework assignment and Fred did some reading for his biomed class. I had to complete my survey for our lab on Galilean and Keplarian telescopes, in which we tested the effectiveness of the two different types of telescopes. The differences are that a Keplarian telescope creates an upside-down image, takes less lenses to use, and has smaller focal lengths between the lenses, but a Galilean telescope creates an upright image, takes more lenses to make the image, and has longer focal lengths. The questions were easy though, so we were able to finish quickly. Upon completion of my assignment, I was able to go through my photos from yesterday and I found a few photos that I thought would be good for the blog.

Soon our group expanded as Julia, Alison, and Richard joined us. We all decided to go to brunch at the commons around 11:30. Following Brunch, Alison had to leave to join her touring group to go to the zoo. Fred, Julia, and Abheek had signed up to go on the second Kmart run. This left Brian and I to find something to do. We decided to stay with the group and joined the Kmart group as late additions. Brian and I decided to pick up some cereal and milk so we could occasionally sleep in and skip breakfast in the commons. We did however fail to remember to get bowls and spoons…our cereal doesn’t do us much good at the moment. After Kmart, we just walked around campus for a few hours. We went to a number of places, including the Penn Bookstore, the “Fro-gro” (Fresh Grocer), and a pretty good Chinese restaurant for dinner. After dinner we returned home and we are about to watch a movie called Battle Royale.
As a consolation for today’s rather uneventful blog, I thought I would add a few pictures from yesterday, most of which are from the Rockefeller Center. I’m signing off for the night because we are about to start the movie. Enjoy the pictures.
Brian, me, Fred, Sarah, Alison, Julia, Abheek, and Onur
A massive statue in the middle of the Columbia quad
Columbia's stylish architecture on display
Milani loves Columbia...
Intricate skyscrapers are not too rare, but I found some strange ones
Rockefeller Center (aka Radio City)
Elvis is certainly not dead
I got a cavity just looking at this building...
I looked up and thought I was looking at clouds, not a building
NYC: never short of advertisements
The following pictures are shots from on top of Rockefeller Center: