Friendship and Flowers (May)

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A stream of visitors on our oddly-weathered Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum.

May for me often starts with (American) Mother’s Day, also known — in my world — as Lilac Sunday. It’s the Arnold Arboretum‘s biggest event of the year where we invite the community in and around Boston, as well as visitors from all over the country — and sometimes all over the world — to celebrate the blooming of our infamous lilacs! As per the prior year, I volunteered to assist our staff members on this people-packed day and resumed my prior post at the t-shirts booth. It was great fun and I must confess it is one of my cherished experiences during spring.

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My elder conversing with one of the staff members of FriendshipWorks.

The following Sunday (15 May) was also quite eventful for me as it was the first annual walk-a-thon hosted by a non-profit organisation close to my heart, FriendshipWorks. For the past (almost one full) year I’ve been visiting and communicating regularly with an elderly individual I had been paired up to go for walks and to foster a friendship as a preventative measure against social isolation in elderly individuals. To be honest, it wasn’t much of a walk for me, but it was quite a feat for his feet — and bones for that matter — I have to admit I’m quite proud of him for successfully walking the short distance we traversed (1.8 miles).

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Yes, this is seriously made of glass. What is it? It’s California brittlebush (Encelia californica).

The middle of May marks the end of an academic school year — the year my “middle sister” graduates! As graduation was approaching, the Harvard Museum of Natural History got the remodelling of their Glass Flowers Exhibit in order just before commencement, well, commenced. Select staff members were invited to a private viewing of the newly remodelled exhibit the morning prior to its reopening on the 17th of May. I, of course, was absolutely thrilled to have been invited and made it a point to attend, despite the early event time (8am).

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Yes, that giant poppy is made of glass too.

When I first walked in, my immediate response was one of awe at how welcoming and open the exhibit felt. Prior to the remodelling, the exhibits stood tall and proud, looming over visitors as they squeezed past the small aisles between the rows of artwork. Now, they seemed more welcoming and inviting, as if to hold out a leaf — if you will — to all those who step into the exhibit. Then, within the first few steps, the infamous water lily (Nymphaea odorata) model on the cover of the museum’s book on the glass flowers welcomes visitors upon entry. Newly on display are several models of bee pollinators and their respective flower of preference in horizontal displays scattered throughout the gallery. These pollinator models were organised and hand selected by museum staff and one of our prominent researchers at the Arboretum.

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A beautiful, delicious breakfast of French toast.

After my visit into a “cave of wonders,” I met up with my middle sister for a morning breakfast. We had some lovely French toast at Algier’s Coffee House topped with some fruits and powdered sugar. A week later (24 May), I saw her for the last time, prior to her departure, to pass her bike on to me. Thus, I began my adventures biking. I do believe I rushed into the start of it: my first day on the bike, I biked 5.8 miles; my second day, 7.7 miles. Boy was I excited to be on a bike again, despite the dangers of biking in Boston. Strange to think I could even bike that much — though I was quite sore afterwards.

 

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The outrigger canoe my dragon boat team was playing with.

Along with the onset of my biking adventures, I’ve recently (as of the middle of this month) also picked up practicing the curious athletic event known as dragonboat racing. It’s quite a workout for the arms, thus I’m rather fond of it. However, I’m definitely hesitant about the fact that we’re paddling through water. Alas, it can’t be helped and I’m having quite a blast. It was even more fun when our coach pulled out an outrigger canoe for one practice (29 May). It was quite intimidating to row on this contraption, as everything relied on the physics and movements of only my own movements.

 

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Our little inflatable ninja friend requested the cheesecake himself, while, yes, protecting a box of lychee jellies.

After practice, one of my friends on visit in Boston met up with me and we meandered the streets of Cambridge. During this time, we stumbled upon a little friend left out in the cold — as Bostonians often do with unwanted belongings during moving season — and adopted him and his deflated friend next to him. Then, we took our new friend — and ourselves — out for some Japanese cheesecake. Oh, how mouthwatering!

 

“Today” I Learned

  • When you’re scanning something from a physical format into a digital format, the scanner sometimes asks you how many “dpi” you would like to scan to. I’ve usually just brushed it off as “just another one of those terms.” Turns out, it stands for “dots per inch” and it’s related to your printer resolution when you go to try printing the image/document later on.

Additional Photos of (Homemade) Food

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A homemade bowl of hiyashi soba!

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A bowl of delicious orecchiette pesto pasta, or “little hats” as my “sister” likes to call it.

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A scrumptious — no, it’s not a key lime pieavocado lime cheesecake I made for my “older sister”.

 

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