Following the previous notes about the Tournament of Champions, I made this notes which focus about the art galleries, museums, and other tourist attractions I visited while in the US. Hope you enjoy!
*A Short Visit to Boston*
I had a chance to go to Boston with my friends on the free day during the WSC program. We then decided and went for a stroll around the Harvard campus area, before we were freezing because of the weather and entered Harvard Museum of Natural History.
To sum it up, the museum is full of things like stones, minerals, as well as collections of ancient animal skulls, bugs, and some traditional items from around the world. Although the bug and animal skull collections are not necessarily the things I would enjoy to see, it’s pretty interesting to go around and find out what other kinds of collections they have.
But anyways, after we walked around the museum, we moved to the Harvard Coop Bookstore and Cafe for lunch and souvenirs shopping. As you may know, I’m in love with books. So being in this bookstore which got tons of bestseller books made me want to buy almost everything I see. But unfortunately, it’s obviously not possible. So I ended up with buying three books: The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho, Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng, and Introduction to Human Rights, as well as some souvenirs for myself and my family.
Overall, I’m obsessed with the whole vibe of this book / souvenirs shop. The old building that’s full of book racks, apparel, and other Harvard items just made me feel like a Hogwarts student shopping for a new school year. It surely felt surreal and blessed to be able to experience it.
The last place I visited in Boston was Museum of Fine Arts. Here in this museum, there are several sections of the galleries. From the historical European and American art, until the modern contemporary arts.
The first area we went to was the historical American and European arts. And when we entered this area, the arts in it looks ethereal and delicate. I’m clearly not an artist, or somewhat qualified to critique arts. But I just love how the architecture of the rooms are also very intricate, and portrays the elegance and grandeur of the era when the arts were created.
After we walked around the museum for a long time, we found out that we have reached the contemporary art gallery. Unlike the previous galleries, this area have a minimalist architecture with mostly vibrant colored arts. And something I noticed was that the arts have no boundaries. In this contemporary arts area, there are things like a normal paintings, to a bizarre sculpture, until unique videos of repeated scenes of a movie. So you can’t exactly expect anything before going into an art gallery.
We spent two hours admiring the artworks, before we almost lost our way to the exit because of how large this museum is. When we finally got out of the building, we were surprised by the snowfall! Though it is really thin, and impossible to get it on camera, for me it felt great to experience snow for the first time. We enjoyed the atmosphere for a little while, then decided to bid goodbye to Boston.
*Days in New York*
When the WSC ended, we didn’t go directly home. However, we stayed for two days in New York first. On our first day in New York, since we arrived in the afternoon, we immediately got on a hop on – hop off bus to look around Manhattan. In this sightseeing trip, we passed through Soho, the One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and even saw the Liberty Statue.
It was in the evening when we choose to go around Times Square for an on budget shopping spree. Me and my friends visited stores like LINE Friends, where we found loads of BT21 merchandise (fangirl mode on!!!), as well as multilevel stores like M&M’s World and Sephora.
As it reached nighttime, I realized how New York is truly a city that never sleeps. Because if anything, it was getting crowded at night. Everywhere you go around the Times Square, you can see people with shopping bags, taking selfies, and there was even an acrobatic performance in the middle of it all. Sadly, that day must end pretty quickly, and we soon welcome our last day in the US.
To end this trip, we visited two places: Soho and Museum of Modern Arts. Soho is another shopping center in Manhattan. However, we didn’t buy anything and just walked in and out of the stores. In the middle of our stroll, we found this small bookstore called House Works Bookstore Cafe & Bar where every book they sell is one dollar. I then learned that all of the books there are secondhand and were donated from people. But as much as I want to buy the books there, I wasn’t able to due to my full baggage.
To cheer myself up from that sad reality, we went to the Glossier Flagship. Although I’m not a makeup wearer, I’ve been interested in this makeup brand for awhile because of the hype that has been going through social media about how good it is. That’s why over there, I was just admiring the amount of people who are willing to queue for a long time just to get into this store (which luckily, me and my friends didn’t have to go through that queue).
After a long day, we finished it by visiting Museum of Modern Arts. For me, it’s still pretty similar to the Museum of Fine Arts I visited in Boston. With a minor difference like the minimalist and modern style architecture they have. However, we were still very excited because there are many famous paintings like ‘The Persistence of Memory’ by Salvador Dali, ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’, ‘Girl before a Mirror’, and ‘Seated Woman’ by Pablo Picasso, even ‘The Starry Night’ by Vincent van Gogh, as well as a lot of other paintings I can not mention one by one. It’s an excellent end of this trip.
Throughout my journey there, I surely felt a lot of differences than how my life here in Indonesia. But one thing I noticed during my 12 days trip in United States was how people there are generally friendly. As a hijab wearer, I’ve heard many discrimination cases happened in countries where Islam is a minority, like the US itself. But based on my experience, it’s not like that. Anywhere I go, if I interact with non-muslim in a store or other places, they would still treat me like everyone else unlike what the rumors said. While if encountered a muslim, they would be likely to greet me and say “Assalamualaikum”. Same thing happened when I went to a restaurant to grab dinner. The employee who served me was actually a muslim. And he really took his time to explain to me which one of their food is halal, and which one is not.
These simple things I rarely found in Indonesia are the ones that makes me feel touched. In my opinion, because Islam is a minority in US, muslim there might try to strengthen their bond by doing these acts to make sure none of them felt left out and alone. So surprisingly, I think I have found the beautiful thing of being a minority in certain places.
Therefore, there goes my trip for the World Scholar’s Cup Tournament of Champions. Though this year may also be the last time I joined WSC, I’m sure that another journey awaits and I’m excited to find out what it is. See you!