jawei (my exchange student) and i walked down to the harvard natural history museum this morning to get his fill of taxidermied animals, dinosaur skeletons, glass flowers, and colorful rocks from all over the world. "that's a nice book [guns, germs, and steel]," i told the girl at the entrance giving us our stickers for free admission. i helped take a photo of an indian couple with a baby, a large sperm whale skeleton in the background. art students invaded the museum, camping out on the floors, sketching their favorite animals. i asked one of them what they were doing and found out it's actually for a BU sculpture class. i like interacting with other people in front of jawei, i like showing off my english skills. after a quick browse of the glass flowers (the boring part of the museum, but for some reason the most famous) and then the rock show, we wandered into the ethnology museum next door. not the most interesting either, but seeing the totem poles made me yearn for one of my very own, it'd make a great decoration in my living room.
we went to harvard square where i bought some cambridge maps from the coop, before a quick tour of harvard square (we just went through the university campus yesterday), then back home. along the way i saw a sign for an open house, and decided it'd be cool for jawei to see the inside of what a typical american house would look like (cambridge typical at least). little did i realize we'd be walking into a $1.2 million townhouse, 3 stories, with an underground garage that can fit 3 cars. the place was amazing and if i had a million dollars i'd buy it.
in the late afternoon jawei rode on the back of my motorcycle and we went to belmont where my family was having a barbecue. my mother-father-sister were there, along with my aunt, and a beijing couple who lives near the cafe. suhan was there too, and later his girlfriend and her taiwanese roommates arrived from allston. my godmother came too (unfortunately both godsons had to work tonight). last but not least, renata came as well, whom amongst the people i know my parents like the best, so she was granted a special invitation. even though she was told not to bring anything, renata still brought a bag of apples.
the secret of binge barbecue eating is to eat slow, so you can eat more. i ate a little too slow though, because i felt kind of lethargic, which isn't a bad feeling to have during a sunday barbecue. at one point jawei asked if he could ride my motorcycle and i let him. he disappeared down the street and i stood there waiting to hear the sound of a crash. a few tense minutes later he came back, and i discovered that even though he's never operated a motorcycle before (with it's confusing system of shifting gears and clutching and breaking), he knows how to drive a manual car and rides a scooter back in taiwan, so he was a natural on the motorcycle (probably a better rider than me i think). as the afternoon transitioned into dusk and then the evening (a mosquito coil burned underneath the table, keeping encephalitis at bay), i was the only one in a t-shirt even though i was a bit chilly just because i wanted to show off.
after we cleared the picnic table, renata and i stood outside in the dark toasting marshmellows on the gas barbecue grill. the half-moon glowed brightly in the night sky, crisscrossed by illuminated contrails. we couldn't find any skewers so we used a large steak knife instead, occasionally lifting our shirts to allow the hot air to warm our cold bodies. wouldn't you know it, after we were done roasting, renata found a bag of bamboo skewers besides the grill. people were starting to leave at that point, and after renata left, jawei and i returned home to cambridge.