3 Aug - Check In at Harvard

rani's picture

Again, we woke up early and had a walk around the neighborhood. We had the leftover from last night as breakfast, and had great coffee made by Catherine. At 10am she drove us up to the Chocolate Factory and we had a deep discussion about chocolates along the way. In the factory, Tom then showed us around, from the unloading of raw material, storage, production, to the final packaging. He showed us the chocolate melting machine that works fast. However, once he didn't know that he had a 'tropical chocolate' to melt, and it took the machine 12 hours to melt a bar of 'tropical chocolate'. He showed us the machine for making the blueberry coated chocolate.


After the tour, I continued to talk towards the downtown Freeport while Noe was sleeping in the stroller. We went to LL Bean's factory outlet; however, this outlet does not have much outdoor product (mostly apparells). Since I was looking for outdoor product for our next Mexican trip, I continued to the LL Bean store. I saw large capacity expedition backpacks, but couldn't buy them because Indi needed to come personally to get the backpacks custom fitted. I also saw a portable ice cream maker that I regret not buying it. It was in a shape of a ball. You can put the ice cream ingredients to the container inside the ball, and put ice with salt into the ball, and then close the ball. Then, play the ball, kick'em, throw'em, whatever you do to shake the ball around, and after 15 minutes ice cream was formed inside the container.

Few minutes later, Noe woke up from his nap and started to run around the shop. He was really excited with the LL Bean shop, with all the tents that he could play with, and also played with other kids. Once he's awake, I couldn't browse the shop anymore and rather I had to chase him around. At the end, I needed to drag him out of the shop because we had to head back to the Wilbur's shop and meet Tom, because he would take us to the Train station. Noe was crying all the way from LL Bean shop because he didn't want to go. But once we arrived at Wilbur's shop, he started to play with the tin cans again. I bought some chocolate there too.

At 1pm Tom took us to the train station and we said goodbye to him. The train did not depart immediately so I spent some time with the free wifi there while Noe walked around the station. Then we boarded the train at around 2pm. This time we didn't get the disabled section of the carriage, but it's OK because Noe spent most of the time sleeping while I browse Skymall catalog which contains all the stuff that you don't really need.


We arrived at the north station at around 4.30. This time, I decided to take a cab, because my luggage has become heavier than before. We headed straight to Harvard Law School. On the way, I saw this funny sign showing direction to the airport.


Noe was not so happy to have to wear the safety restraint in taxi.


The taxi then stopped at Everett Street near Berkman Center. Stupid me, I didn't have the exact address of Berkman Center, so I ended up dragging all the lugagge and browse each building along Everett street one by one. Luckily I found it. But it was closed! They have moved the check in area to Pound Hall and I didn't know about it. So I dragged my luggage and baby towards Harvard Law School Campus. Luckily I found someone with Wikimania tag and I just follow him to get into Pound Hall. The volunteer who attended the check in table did now know my accommodation status because somehow the accommodation for scholars is arranged separately by Delphine and Erica. Luckily, the volunteer could get Erica on the phone and immediately assign me with a room key at Ames Hall dorm. I rushed to my room and dumped my luggage there, and rushed back to the check in counter to get the pillow and linen, and I met Erica George and Delphine Menard for the first time there. We had a quick chat about to introduce ourselves and how I looked forward to the conference the next day.

After setting up the linen on the bed, we finally found the time to relax. I called Zenin and arranged for a dinner meetup. But then I checked my email and found out that SJ has arranged dinner for the OSI scholars with Jerzy from OSI at Nine Tastes in Harvard Square, so I needed to cancel my dinner meetup with Zenin. In the mean time, Noe was just chilling out at the lawn in front of the Harkness Commons, playing balls with some people over there. The Japanese visitors were particularly drawn into Noe and loved to play with him, and hence I could do my own websurfing using wifi on the grass patch in this sunny day.


We then walked to Harvard Square which was not really far actually, but as a first timer I felt it was such a really long walk. When we get to Nine Tastes, OSI Scholar group hasn't arrived yet, so we decided to order dinner in advance because Noe and I had not had a proper meal since morning. Finally, Noe saw fried rice again, which he missed very much since we left Singapore. He managed to feed himself using spoon quite well. After the meal, he took a sip of breastmilk and fell asleep. I put him into the stroller and let him sleep there, while I joined the OSI Scholar group.



I met SJ, Dror Kamir, Yaroslav, Nicholas, Damian, Andrew Lih, Jerzy, and a number of others which I couldn't remember the name. Our conversation started on how wiki is not quite user friendly for layperson (who does not even know that wiki can be edited) and how it is difficult to get people participation, unlike the phpbb forum, yahoogroups, or even blog. Since I was the only girl in the group, we continued to talk about gender and wikipedia, with the presumption that typicla wikipedian are young male geeks. However, Yaroslav and Dror argued that inherently wiki platform itself is feminine, because its approach is consensus building rather than confrontation, but nevertheless, wikipedia participation hasn't been compelling for woman. But as we would find out in the next day, the participation of women in the conference was quite substantial, probably around 40 percent of the total attendees. The conversation continued to discuss about the middle east conflict and how people around the world (i.e. Indonesia) tend to see the issue in a oversimplified manner. As an Israeli, Dror told me that he has a lot of arab friends, he speaks arabic, and even the jewish community themselves are not monolithic. And of course I shared with him that Islam itself too is not monolithic. But somehow Indonesian's perception on the middle east conflict has been reduced to merely religious conspirational conflict, whereas the reality is far more complicated than that. Dror was surprised when I told him that there is a microscopic jewish community in Surabaya, Indonesia that migrated from Iraq about a century ago.

Thanks for Berkman Center and OSI who gave travel scholarship to us in order to attend Wikimania Conference. It has been a great dinner meetup, and the group continued to a welcome party with the Global Voices (Ethan Zuckerman) at Redline. I didn't join the party because it would be held at a pub which is not suitable for Noe and I was too tired. Besides, I still had an appointment to meet Zenin and Leila at their home in Irving. I walked up north and dropped by CVS to buy some diapers for Noe, where I met Ramani who migrated from Nepal and now working in CVS. From there, I pushed the stroller to Harvard Yard to get to Irving Residence where Zenin lives.


Zenin showed me his architectural models that he worked on in Harvard GSD, which are pretty impressive. We had a chat over things with a plate of Tahu Pong (deep fried tofu with soy sauce). Zenin is currently working for Sasaki Associates. Noe was excited to play with Zenin's laptop and architectural models. We then headed back home with Harvard shuttle which can be called to transport people point to point at night. Arriving at the dorm, we launched the laundromat to work on our dirty clothes, and had a shower before wrapping up day.



waaa ikut Wikimania ya. keren-keren! :)

I met Ethan, twice in GVO summit in London (met SJ there too) and in Manila for SEAPA conference

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