Fun is Fun: Lectures and escargot

Activity: MFA lecture and French dinner
Dress code: Academic chic

Our December “Fun is fun” event took a different angle. Adam and I have always been intellectually curious, loved museums, and been game for learning deeply about irrelevant things. (Ask me about the time we hired a tour guide for a day to give us the low-down on the Albigensian Crusade). So I decided for our December “Fun is fun” event we’d go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I found this particular event (“Complex Relationships: Egypt and Nubia“) by deciding on venue first, and seeing what was on their agenda second. This might have been a special exhibition, costume party, or lecture on pretty much any topic. I AM rather fond of Nubia from the African History class I took in college, but much more interested in the complicated history of Nubian Christianity.

I digress.

We showed up to the museum right on time, and through some miracle of time and space got STREET PARKING. Astonishing. I went to the main window to pay for our entry – the tickets had been free, although I had to formally sign up for them. But in an amazing loophole, it turns out that the free tickets included entry to the museum. SCORE! Cost of the date so far: $4 in parking.

We thoroughly and deeply enjoyed the lecture and presentation. It was a very cogent and interesting discussion that mixed ancient and modern questions of identity, categorization, the connection between science and labeling things, and what makes Nubian pottery Nubian. The lecture was short – 45 minutes – but really engaging and well delivered and thought provoking. It was so much fun, I was sad when it was over.

After the lecture concluded, we had some time to spend in the MFA which – despite loving museums and living within a 20 minute drive for the last, uh, 20 years, we’ve only been to a handful of times. We barely hit three and a half galleries – our appetite still wet for bizarre and beautiful and interesting artifacts. But it turned out the museum closed at 5. Who knew!? So we headed early for dinner, vowing to return some day with more time.

A rattle in a museum case made of the top of two human skulls connected together, with a fabric element hanging off it
Human skull rattle

I’d tried to pick the closest French restaurant to the MFA, which was in Back Bay. I’d planned on walking – we usually enjoy a nice stroll and parking in Boston isn’t in my list of fun things to do. But it was quite cold and we were underdressed for the weather, so instead we attempted to drive in. I swear we walked nearly as far from the nearest parking garage, and it was very stressful, but it worked! Our table wasn’t ready, so we sat at the bar and listened to the French-speaking bartenders chat as we contemplated the topic we’d just heard the lecture on and agreed that …. we really like attending lectures like this and we need more time at the MFA.

A man sitting at a bar with a cocktail in front of him with a thyme sprig
Waiting for our table

The drinks were excellent, the restaurant was noisy and the menu was adventurous. Note to self: you are an audacious eater, but you do not like liver. We were sated in mind and body when it was time to return back to the suburbs and our distinctly tweed-free lifestyles. But this was a real winner in terms of both the enjoyment in the moment, and the longer term feeding of the mind – it’s the sort of thing you can think about later that helps deepen and richen your experience of the world. I’ll never think of Nubian pottery shards the same way!

A middle aged woman wearing a gray dress with a bright red pendant, eating escargot
I admit it. I adore escargot. And the bread was phenomenal.
A man looking at an art exhibit in a museum
It’s astonishing how many cool and beautiful things there are in the world.