The Brain Place

Continuing our story of the New England vacation from Sermons in Stones . . .

M, expressed a desire to go to “the brain place” while we were in Boston, which, it turned out, meant a university. Any university, really. But a family friend, S., is a rising senior at MIT and is living in Cambridge for the summer, so later in the day of the Public Gardens, we met up with her after her work, had a personalized tour of a bit of MIT, and all went out to dinner, which served as a combined birthday celebration for a couple of members of the party whose birthdays were close to that date. S., unsurprisingly, was a knowledgeable, candid tour guide, and best of all: she is minoring in linguistics, which just happens to be Mookie’s passion.

So we, the parents, trailed behind while the two of them geeked out about Toki Pona (M. learned it this spring; S. wants to), other conlangs, the delights of German syntax, and other things of great interest to them. They are not of particular interest to either Joy or me, but there is nothing like watching your kid light up as she finds someone who cares about the same things she does. They talked a mile a minute. This despite the seven-year gap in their ages. S. treated M. like a peer. We didn’t expect any less from her, but it was still cool.

Mookie is a ways from making decisions about post-high-school education, but for someone with a well-developed intellectual interest, college starts to be visible on the horizon. The week before our trip, her older cousin was visiting us and colleges, and we trooped along with him to Stanford. Visiting its linguistics department, and then MIT’s–both renowned, and currently emptied out by summer and COVID, of course, but adorned with photos of current students and professors–is the kind of thing that can make it all live in the imagination.

What MIT has that Stanford doesn’t, though, is bunnies. Yes, bunnies run wild and free on this big-city campus. Alerted to their presence, M. immediately said, “That’s it, I’m going to MIT.” I think she was joking . . .


4 thoughts on “The Brain Place

  1. Pingback: Art and gardens | Sermons in Stones

    • The older cousin also did a tour of MIT the summer before 9th grade and was pretty smitten. Like most-preHS romances, that one seems to have died, but who knows. So much more college visiting to do in the next (gulp!) year.

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