Today was a good day, although I am now exceptionally exhausted and very ready to go to bed. It was also not a great day in terms of setting up the next week, since I accomplished exactly nothing, but everything else that happened was generally spectacular.
I began my day with a surprising amount of willpower, as I managed to actually get up at around 8:45 AM (five minutes after my alarm) and motivate my body through the motions of getting ready before heading out to my mother’s hotel, where I met her in the lobby (around 10 minutes late, which was much better than expected). From there, we headed out towards Boston, walking along the Charles and having a variety of conversations about life and whatnot.
Our trek took us to a variety of interesting places through a variety of interesting paths, first to Harvard Bridge, then down the shaded path of Commonwealth Avenue towards the Boston Public Gardens, making a brief detour at Copley to see the Boston Public Library and get hot chocolate and chocolate cake from L.A. Burdick. Upon arriving at the Public Gardens, we walked around for a little bit, stopped by Make Way for Ducklings (my personal favorite attraction), and then headed over to the Common, where we found a bench on the other side of the Common, ate the cake, and then walked down towards Chinatown.
We passed through some portion of Chinatown, and eventually I arrived at a point I recognized—a path I had taken when walking with a friend a few weeks back. I swung us towards the Underground Ink Block, passing under the murals of I-93 yet again, and then headed out to Broadway station, which was just on the other side of a bridge over train tracks. At Broadway, we boarded the Red Line, and proceeded on our way back towards MIT.
Upon arriving at MIT, we traversed the entire length of campus to arrive back at Next House, where we had brunch. After some small talk with other parents, we went our separate ways; my mother and two of her friends to H-Mart (with a couple certificates, courtesy yours truly) and me to soundcheck for Asymptones, which started out in Building 1 (where my heart rate started peaking and my voice was struggling a little bit) and moved to Kresge (where things got a little better). I made my way through first soundcheck, and then ran back to Next House to change shoes, although I did not have the foresight to bring anything to work on back. I headed to Kresge for the group song soundcheck, which did not happen for a long while, but I found something to fill my time anyways.
After group song soundcheck, my mother and I headed to McCormick to have dinner (stirfry, as always), and then another segment of time did its best to pass away before call time for the concert, which ended up being 7:20 PM. We went through warm-ups, ran our songs (during which I did very poorly, which was concerning), and then I headed up with a few other Asymptones members for the group song, which was on first. We waited in the backstage of Kresge for an excruciatingly long 10 minutes, and then…
Boom! The first song; my first time singing in Kresge Big Theater, on stage, having the time of my life, singing one of my favorite songs in a large group composed of people from all different acapella groups. It was a great time, and we ran off the stage quickly afterwards, after which we got new mics and the real challenge began.
Asymptones ran back on stage after this, and started pretty quickly with our first song, “The Gates.” I was kind of trepidatious during the first half of the song, but as time came I resigned myself, walked up to the front, and sang my harmony part. As soon as I hit the first note, I sort of went on autopilot, and things felt much better. I made it through the piece, and then, relaxing, went back to my spot on the semicircle, and proceeded to struggle much more than I ever have on “Dumb Ways to Die” for some reason. Despite this, my task was complete, and we left stage after this, having performed pretty well, and gotten quite a few laughs from the audience.
We got a group photo, and then we returned to the audience to listen to all of the other groups perform, all of which were pretty spectacular and left me plenty of song suggestions. I’ll talk about one that struck pretty damn hard, however: Syncopasian’s rendition of “回家”, a song I’ve never heard before, but a Chinese song about asking someone to come home. I couldn’t tell if the song was about romance or family but all I could think about is being away from my family and having them visit for so short a time so rarely. I felt as I did during Bao that intense parental sadness of having your kids leave you and I cried hard. I think I’ve written a lot (in particular, my college essays) about the concept of finding ‘home’, and the imperative to come ‘home’ evokes a lot of feelings when you don’t even know what home is for sure apart from maybe (just maybe!) your family. This is especially true given all I’ve seen in the past weekend about how well my family has taught me and treated me, and the homesickness I feel for a home which perhaps does not exist in a strict sense but rather a conceptual one has never been stronger. The semester, however, goes on.
My mother and I went to the pumpkin drop after the concert, where MIT students dropped a ton of pumpkins off of a building on stilts with 18 floors (the Green Building), which was pretty fun, and then we returned to Next House, where I said good-bye (she’s leaving early tomorrow), and then started writing this. I’m going to bed early tonight, since I’m so tired. Tomorrow, so much work, and so much stuff, but I guess we’ll see how it goes. I may be hosed for this next week…