This past weekend I traveled to Boston, one of my favorite U.S. cities, to attend the annual National Council for Social Studies Conference. I arrived a few days earlier than usual as this is my first year as a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia and I wanted to attend the CUFA (College and University Faculty Association) portion of the conference as well.
Awake at 4am on Wendesday, I drove through the scenic North Fork of Long Island to catch the Cross Sound Ferry from Orient Point, which delivered me in New London, CT by 9am. From here, I drove north, arriving in Boston shortly after noon, allowing me to catch the CUFA Graduate School forum, where doctoral students such as myself present papers in a roundtable format. This was a wonderful learning experience for me, letting me see some of the work others in my field are doing.
The next two days consisted of paper presentations, where I was able to see not only the work of other doctoral students, but also leading professors in the field. This was all very exciting and inspiring to me, as was meeting some professors whose work I admire at the sponsored opening reception.
I missed the closing reception on Thursday to have dinner with Julie and Sandra; two friends I traveled through Japan with this past summer on a study tour. By the time dinner was done, Michelle and Brittany had arrived (driving up from New York), and picked me up at the Colonade, where I had stayed the night before, splitting a room with another student. We checked into the Boston Plaza Hotel, which I can only describe as possibly the worst hotel I have ever stayed. The walls were thin, the rooms were decorated like a scene from The Shining, and we were put on a floor in the middle of some sort of Bollywood dance competition. Still, I was excited to be spending the weekend learning and catching up with some great people I have met over the years.
The next day began the NCSS portion of the conference where I was able to reconnect with so many friends I have made over the years traveling in the summer. It was great to see so many people, but by far, the glue to all this networking is the GOETHE Transatlantic Outreach Program I did to Germany in 2007. If you are a teacher and you are reading this, you need to apply to this amazing professional development program which brings together a large network of alumni everyyear at thier annual reception which was held on Friday night. Unfortunately, my Teachers College reception was scheduled for roughly the same time, so I spent the evening running back and forth between two hotels.
The conference theme this year was Citizenship, and what better place to celebrate this than in Boston; home of the Revolution! Though I didn’t do a lot of sightseeing in Boston this time around, we did head out to Brookline for an aweseom dinner of steamed mussels, garlic bread, and fries at the Publik House. With over 1000 beers to choose from, this warm and rustic pub/restuarant was a quick favorite of mine. On Sunday morning, we decided to drive over to Cambridge for a bite to eat before we hit the road. We wound up having an amazing brunch at Kennedy’s on the Square, followed by a leisurely stroll through Harvard’s campus.
The history, the learning, the tradition….do these kids know how lucky they are?!?!?
After we hit the Harvard bookstore, we headed home. This is my 7th trip to Boston, and each time only confirms that I would move there in a heartbeat. There are places and cities that I love to visit, but few I would consider calling home; Boston is at the top of that list.