Tag Archives: Lexington and Concord

in which I move

As you may or may not have noticed, I have had a bit of a trouble settling into life in Boston, primarily because of a terrible housing situation.

This terrible housing situation was living with an elderly couple in a huge Revolutionary-era house at the top of a monster hill in Lexington, MA. Now on paper, this does not sound like a particularly bad way to live. But things get rough when your landlords are fairly crazy, the house is a mile away from a bus station, and that bus station is leagues away from where you actually need to be, putting your total commute time between an hour and a half and two hours.

Yeah, Lexington kind of sucked.

When I first agreed to live here, I was…I don’t want to say misled. Let’s say I was not totally informed about just how long of a commute it would be for me to get to school. I was also not aware that the MBTA1 is the seventh level of Dante’s hell2. You’ve all read my angry posts railing against the MBTA. If you are at all close to me, I’ve probably called you and railed to you over the phone about it. But really, just getting to school and work have been a test of my patience. Plus, the whole “living in somebody else’s house” thing really sucks. It’s incredibly hard to get settled when every time I set something down, my landlady was over my shoulder sucking in her breath, cringing when I put pasta sauce in the microwave, shuddering when I set down a cup without a coaster.

So for the past two months, I have been itching to get out of Lexington.

And I am happy to say that I finally have.

I am posting this live from my brand-new3 apartment in Brookline, Massachusetts4, AKA fifteen minutes from school. Guys – it takes me FIFTEEN MINUTES TO GET TO SCHOOL! DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS?!

No more walking up the steepest hill I’ve ever seen every night in the dark! No more waiting for hours at Alewife Station5 with the homeless guys sorting through the trash all around me! No more swearing at the bus as it pulls away without me! No more being stranded on the weekends because the buses don’t run! No longer will it take me an hour and a half just to get into the city! Life is again beautiful and shining!

Really, I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me. I feel liberated. Like I can finally make a life here, make this city my own. I could not be happier.

Now, to Ikea! I gotta get me something more than just a mattress on the floor to call my own.

 

  1. Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, i.e. the public transit system here
  2. Seriously Boston, you have been a major world city for three hundred years, get your act together!
  3. Fifty years old, but still! New to me!
  4. Albeit a furniture-less apartment, but hey! You can’t have everything.
  5. Which smells like pee and pigeons.
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

in which I depend upon the kindness of strangers

Today, a miracle occurred.

Okay, maybe not a miracle. But at least a bizarrely weird coincidence that was hinged upon a stranger’s kindness.

This morning started out kind of ominous and Monday-ish for me. No hot water in the shower. Then the power randomly shut off while I was drying my hair. No breakfast food, because I fail at planning ahead. Late for the bus, as per ush.

But then, a miracle occurred.

Rewind back to last Wednesday, when somewhere between my front door and MIT, I lost my favorite button off my bag1 – the one from Maureen Johnson that says “YA Saves.” I was pretty distraught over this. Well, as distraught as one normally gets about a button off a bag. But I’m pretty attached to my button collection. I had a moment of silence, lamented the new hole on my bag, and then moved on, but I kept noticing all weekend how empty the front of my bag looked.

Fast forward back to Monday again.

So there I was on this awful Monday morning, rushing to the bus through the forest behind my house. I was looking down at my iPod, when suddenly there was a glint of sunlight on plastic from my left. Not a typical forest sort of light. I looked up.

And there, pinned to a tree, was my YA Saves button.

Some kind stranger saved my YA Saves button. And now, we have been reunited.

I love that sometimes people are really nice, and kind to people they don’t know. If I saw a YA Saves button on a forest path, I would have thought, “Too bad that person will never see their button again.” And I probably would have stepped on it.

But not this person – this person pinned the button to a tree so that one day, we would be reunited.

Sometimes, people are awesome.

Another good example of this – the other day on the train, a woman leaned over and asked me where she should get off to get to the airport. I said I didn’t know, because I don’t2. Suddenly the guy next to me chimed in – “Get off at Park Street and take the silver line.” “Ride it all the way to the end,” said someone else down the row. “Or you can ride to Downtown Crossing,” said someone else all the way down the row. “But then you have to walk, which will be tricky because there are no street signs in Boston.” “Because the trains are so much better,” said someone else. Then we all had a laugh at the expense of the MBTA.

I was amazed and touched by how everyone in the row had looked up from their books, taken out their headphones, and gone out of their way to give this woman really precise directions to the airport that probably took a lot of the stress out of her flight. The same way I was touched and amazed by how someone saw my YA Saves button and took time to pin it to a tree, and then no one else took it.

So thank you to that kind forest-dwelling stranger in Lexington3. At last, my button collection is complete again.

  1. By button, I like a pin button. Not like the things they sew on eyes in Coraline.
  2. Because really, who the hell can figure out mass transit here?
  3. Perhaps you are a fairy, or a helpful gnome
Tagged , , ,

in which i have a perfect saturday

Yet again I find myself trying to blog while watching Doctor Who. I’m sensing a theme in my life.

So you know how sports players have streaks? I actually don’t know anything about this, because I don’t watch sports, but I’ve heard that it happens, and have a general understanding of what it means.

I feel as though I am currently in the middle of a streak. A streak of awesome days. Because I’m going on my fourth awesome day in a row. From Florence+The Machine on Friday night to today, where I was just on fire, things have just been going great. Let’stake a look right in the middle of my streak, and talk about Saturday.

Because Saturday was kind of awesome. In fact, it was the kind of awesome Saturday that ruins every other Saturday for you.

Let’s go through the day1, shall we?

Image

We began the day at Walden Pond, one of the most serene and beautiful places I’ve ever been. It is the sort of place that begs to have books written on its shores. 

Image

After a brief picnic in Concord3, our pilgrimage continued at Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house, where I found myself basking in the shade of a large oak tree, writing in my journal, eating grapes off an arbor built by Henry David Thoreau. Transcendentalism like a boss.

Image

And just a short jaunt down the road, all my dreams came true when we visited the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House. Little Women was a book I came to relatively late in life4, but it still had a huge impact on me, and remains one of my great loves in literature. I am also convinced that I am a modern-day incarnation of Jo March, but that’s a whole other conversation. Orchard House was more than just delightful, it was also surprisingly inspirational. The Alcotts were big on following dreams and supporting each other. Also Mr. Alcott basically invented recess. Which is just one more reason to love that family.

Image

We finished the day with a stop at North Bridge, the site of one of the first battles of the Revolutionary War. We’ve previously talked about how much I love the Revolutionary War (also how sexy it was), and frankly, the more battlefields I actually walk across, the more I am aware of the reality of it. When you study history, it is so easy to think of everything in terms of story rather than as things that actually happened. Visiting the sites always makes me feel much more tuned in to the lived experience of historical events.

Oh. And then we got ice cream at Kimball Farms. Which I’m convinced is the ice cream served in heaven. It could make even the worst days awesome. It was an extra dose of awesome on  an already exceptional day.

  1. Primarily in photographs, because I have awesome photographs and because I’ve written so many words this week I just can’t think about writing any more right now2.
  2. Oh wait, I still have to.
  3. Where I ate a sandwich that I’m fairly certain weighed as much as a newborn child. It was uber large.
  4. Okay, I was like fifteen, so not that long ago.
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

in which I mark an anniversary

So if you don’t know me in real life, or perhaps even if you do, you may not know that I am sort of kind of extraordinarily young. How young? We’ll get to that.

My age relative to my current position in life results from several things. One is a September birthday that resulted in my being a year younger than everyone else in my grade, meaning I also started college a year earlier than your average person. Second is the large amount of AP and IB credit I accumulated through hard work and persistence in high school1, which got me in an out of college in three years2. Meaning that though I am at the age at which most people are a sophomore in college, I’m already out. Third is my penchant for doing things that are way beyond my maturity level, like living alone in a foreign country and working for NPR. Fourth is my tendency to gravitate towards and prefer the company of people who are a considerable amount older than I am. This, along with being raised by parents who subscribed to the medieval attitude of child rearing, i.e. treat your children like mini-adults, and my tendency to avoid booze, loud music, and crowds, generally results in me coming off as a fifty-five year old with amazingly good skin. In the words of my former roommate, Nevada, I’m a bit of an old soul.

Whenever I meet new people, particularly in mass, the “so how old are you really?” question comes up pretty quickly, usually because I try too hard to hide my actual age, then overcorrect, and end up giving myself away.

Really, I should be proud of my age. I’m going to have an MFA and be entering the world as a young working professional at the age that most people are barely escaping the jaws of the undergraduate degree. But I shy away from telling people my real age. Why? Mostly because I worry people won’t take me as seriously if they know how old I really am. Even though I know it is usually meant in good spirit, the most patronizing thing anyone has ever said to me3 is, “Oh, you’re just a baby!”

Baby? Friend, I graduated college before you were old enough to legally drink, speak two languages, have been around the world, and can recite the kings of England in order. I am not a baby. I deserve to be taken no less seriously because of how old I am.

Why am I telling you this?

Because friends, today is my birthday.

As far as birthdays go, I don’t have a great track record. Moving around as much as I have in the past four years has resulted in me starting over somewhere new around my birthday every year, meaning that no one around me knows it’s happening. And I’m not the kind of person who hangs up banners and throws parties for myself4. I don’t even put my birthday on facebook5. So if I’m being totally honest, the last four birthdays have been kind of miserable and lonely for me. The ones before that weren’t great either – all my best birthdays were pre-sharing this day with the most tragic event in American history. And, after a disastrous failed party in high school, I sort of swore of natal celebrations in general.

So I thought today would be no different. I was ready to draw myself a birthday cake in the dust like eleven-year-old Harry Potter and call it a day.

But today was actually kind of awesome. Utah friends sent gifts, and texted, and my grandparents and aunt and uncle sang to me over the phone. My landlady gave me socks6. My dad sent his customary inspirational birthday email. I treated myself to French toast for breakfast, and spent most of the day happily reading in the library. And then, in what I’m going to add to the list of one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, my roommate, TOMT, bought me balloons and organized a mini surprise party for me at the most delicious ice cream dive I have ever been to.

Image

Ginger snap ice cream. Unappetizingly yellowed by the creepy light emanating from the stand where it was purchased. But seriously, this ice cream was out of control.

In short, today has been a kind of awesome birthday. An awesome 21st birthday7.

Thanks to everyone for everything you did to make today awesome – and to everyone reading this now, don’t feel obliged to leave a comment saying “Happy Birthday,” or anything. I just like to write about my life here, and sometimes, my life involves awesome days that just happen to be the anniversary of my first day of consciousness.

This past year was awesome: I graduate from college, lived in three different states, worked, studied, played, and was surrounded by some pretty amazing people.

And really, it only gets better. I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up.

  1. Read: ability to BS.
  2. That plus me never changing my major. That really helped.
  3. And more than one person has said it. I’ve been slapped by this bad boy on multiple occasions.
  4. You know, none of that “I was born x amount of years ago today – you’re welcome, world.”
  5. But I blog about it. Figure that one out.
  6. On the matter of socks, I stand with Dumbledore – truly, they are the best present one can receive.
  7. On an unrelated note, I had a dream last night that Jim Moriarty, notorious Sherlock villain, took me out for drinks in honor of my birthday. Surprisingly, I went along without a fight.
Tagged , , , , ,

in which i hit the east coast

Last night, as I boarded a flight to JFK at approximately 12:05 am, I thought to myself: “Red eye flights suck!”

Less than an hour later, while riding on said plane and looking at the stars from above the clouds, I thought to myself: “Red eye flights are awesome!” Because cities are pretty lit from above, and when you fly over cities rimmed by water, you feel like you’re going over the edge of the world.

When I disembarked a few hours later in JFK after sleeping for approximately three hours with my head propped on a tray table, and found myself tugging a carry-on full of shoes to the farthest corner of terminal A where the only diet coke in sight was at Wendy’s – $3 for a small– I thought to myself, “Traveling sucks!”

An hour later, as our plane dipped over the cape and circled the Boston skyline, I thought to myself, “I don’t ever want to stop traveling! Traveling is awesome!”

After touching down in Boston, as I tried to creatively maneuver two giant overweight suitcases and two overstuffed carry-ons2 from the baggage claim to the taxi stop, I thought to myself, “*explatives deleted* Please somebody just kill me3!”

Then, about twenty minutes later, as I rode in a cab across town with both the cab driver and I trying to navigate unfamiliar streets, I kept waiting for the panic to set in. The panic that accompanies new life beginning.

But it didn’t.

I spent the weeks leading up to my Chicago move in a state of extraordinary calm, then suffered a near debilitating panic attack at 30,000 feet, aka on the plane to Chicago. Boston was exactly the reverse. I have been thinking and sweating and panicking about this move pretty much since I left Chi-town, yet last night/this morning, as I settled into the medieval torture device known as the airline seat and squished my elbows together, I was extraordinarily calm. Perhaps it was the delirium of hunger and exhaustion4, but either way, I was alright. I was not panicking. And I’m still not panicking.

I am still alright. Even though my new bedroom5 is hanging in that frustrating stage of half occupation and half-unpacked, and I still have no soap or groceries and oh my hell I have not eaten since yesterday I think my stomach is starting to consume itself.

Lexington – which is the suburb of Boston in which I am living – is incredible. I feel like I am living half in the Revolutionary War and half in an episode of Murder, She Wrote, except with less crime and no Angela Landsbury. The streets are tree-lined and picturesque, and there is a monument in the center of town marking the start of the Revolutionary War, and a trail tracing Paul Revere’s ride. Lexington is isolated and remote, but just a short jaunt on the train to Boston. Which is where I will be heading Wednesday6.

So far, Boston and I are doing just fine.

  1. Worth it.
  2. Including the aforementioned bag o’ shoes
  3. It might have been the most hilarious and profanity-laced display to ever hit the baggage claim of Logan International.
  4. At this moment, I am running on 3 ½ hours of sleep, and have not eaten since a slice of cake at my premature birthday celebration last night around seven.
  5. Which only has two outlets, one of which is in the closet. This is not going to work.
  6. Tomorrow I am sleeping. All day. Tuesday I am job hunting in Lexington. Wednesday – Boston time!
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,