after breakfast i took my exchange student to porter square to teach him how to ride the subway to his language class in downtown crossing. it was my first time actually walking around inside the school. some of the classrooms were filled with students, mostly women, mostly young, mostly hot. then i gave him a tour of downtown crossing (he was fascinated by the piegons, asked if anyone ever thought about eating them), walking down to city hall (there was some sort of honduran rally), before going to faneuil hall (where there were several living statues outside). from there we returned to downtown crossing, visited an old graveyard, bought slurpees at a 7-11 (they have 7-11's in taiwan as well, though obviously slightly different), and went to chinatown.
i was hoping we'd grab some lunch, but since it was still early and neither of us were hungry yet, i took my student to back bay, crossing through boston common (he'd never seen squirrels so close before, and so unafraid of people), walking down newbury street, visiting the convenant church (he'd never been in a gothic church before, one with beautiful stained glass and a reverberating organ, we even got to use their bathroom and chat with the organist), seeing trinity church and the john hancock tower from the outside, and hanging out at the boston public library (i was horrified to see that one of the panels from the william lloyd garrison exhibit had fallen off). he was impressed by the inner cloister and gave a "wah!" when he saw the aisles and aisles of circulating books. we sat outside the BPL and did some people watching, snacking on some free cookies courtesy of some boston anniversary event.
we then headed back to chinatown via boston common, and saw two wedding groups getting their photos taken in the park on this perfect clear blue sky day. the exchange student was also shocked to see people sleeping on the grass; this would never happen in taiwan because of a widespread dog poop problem. the spirit of performance was in the air as we watched a contortionist (along with backup dancers) throw his legs over his head. we tried to get some dim sum at china pearl but on weekends dim sum is only until 3pm. instead we went to suishiya where we ordered some sushi (most of them had unagi, the eel is my favorite sushi meat). the cute waitress was in training and was nervous, especially after i asked her to identify which roll was which; she got a big tip though. we visited a ubiquitous cvs before walking back to downtown crossing and taking the subway back to cambridge.
we got off at harvard square where we cut through the campus and i gave my exchange student yet another brief tour. new students were moving in so there was a lot of activity, carrying boxes into dorms or receiving their orientation packets. back at home, my father paid us a quick visit, bringing with him dinner that neither my student nor i could eat at the moment (after having all that sushi). later we did finally eat dinner, in the living room, watching there's something about mary, a movie he's never seen before.
a pretty good day, i've never felt so much a hero before. my exchange student hadn't even been in boston for more than 24 hours and i could already sense him falling in love with the place, the twinkling in his eyes as he drinks in all these new experiences, how he walks along besides me with a perpetual smile on his face, like this is the greatest thing ever. i've never had much civic pride, but i want him to go back to taiwan and tell all his friends how great this city is and get them all to visit.