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Transience revisited

6 November 2011

My year last year was kind of horrible, and since Boston was the locale for most of that, I didn’t know if I could see it without that veneer of suck. From around November through April, I seriously thought about leaving Boston many, many times. I was unhappy, far from everyone I knew and loved, and just overall not into it. Then spring came, and summer with it, and Boston came back to life. It felt a little unfair to judge Boston by my earlier negativity, and by the time I left I had already begun to question that stance. Three months after my first “On transience” post railing against Boston, I posted “Transience kick-back”, when I was realizing that Boston and I are in it for the long haul.

Then yesterday happened. A group of friends and I had found out that Noah and the Whale were performing at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, and so we bought tickets and headed up. I was beyond excited to get back to Boston, to visit the places that made last year great when other things were threatening to make it awful. As I saw the tops of the Hancock and Pru peak over the tree line as we approached the city, my heart leapt. I parked two blocks away from where I lived last year in Packard’s Corner, I bought my T day pass at the Shaw’s grocery store I shopped at, and jumped on the 57 that took me into the city every day. It was all so very familiar. Walking around Copley Square (where I worked), wandering on the path through the Public Garden and Common (which I walked all the time), eating at Upper Crust in Beacon Hill (my standby when I was early for church), getting cannoli at Mike’s (my favorite of the two North End bastions). It was like reconnecting with a friend I hadn’t seen in several months.

It wasn’t until the brewery tour at Harpoon that things started to shift slightly. Harpoon in many ways represents everything about my last year that was good. It’s my friend S. who was there with me weekend after weekend; it’s the unwinding after a long, hard week; it’s the comfort of having a place you know inside and out; it’s the motivation to drive 6hrs to Vermont just for passion’s sake. Being there with people from Yale was disjointing: new people from a new place in an old place associated with old friends, people who are now a source of a new joy in a place that was once a refuge from suckiness. My brain kept saying, “Wait, they aren’t supposed to be here…” But I left Harpoon happier than ever (with three growlers in tow).

As I stared out the window of the bus watching the sun set over the city skyline, my friends around me tipsily telling stories rather loudly, a wave of nostalgia washed over me and with it, swept away the rest of the bad feelings I harbored towards the city. My friend C. was on the phone arranging dinner plans in Harvard Square, and said, “Oh, yeah, we’re with someone who’s from here, so we’ll be able to find it…” My brain reeled for a second. “I’m from here now?” But I guess I really am. Boston is in many ways where I was born and raised as an adult, rather than as a child. I don’t know if “Boston” will be my response to the common question, “Where are you going to live after this?” that I keep getting asked, but it is where I’m from.

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