The first two years I lived in Boston were spent in a pretty thick fog of depression. The adjustment from country to city was not easy for me, and it was culminated by the fact that my classmates around me seemed thrilled to be there, happy to leave behind their rolling hills and star-dappled skies. My body yearned for clean air, wide open spaces, rivers and streams and mountains to hike.
The city seemed to hang in my window, a constant reminder that I wasn't home, and even though it would seem that I had more opportunities there than I'd ever had in Vermont, I felt trapped. I was limited to how far the subway system would take me, and the return to my dormitory was always inevitable.
By year three, the transition finally happened, and Boston started to feel more comfortable, and by year four and five, Boston felt like home. By year six, I was itching to go, so I did.
We went back to Massachusetts this past weekend for Lydia and Todd's wedding. It was a whirlwind of a trip (as our trips always seem to be) and on the last day, we traveled via commuter rail into the city to visit with our dear friends Mikki and Ezra before heading back to Logan Airport. While riding the commuter rail, I was surveying the Beverly- Salem- Lynn- Chelsea- Boston scenery and realizing that Boston is a dirty city.
Graffiti peppered the walls of every building, every train station, every stopped truck. The backyards had piles of trash-- shopping carts overturned, bumpers and fenders sticking out, plastic bags waving around in the breeze, piled ten feet high. The buildings were all dilapidated and crumbling. Had I become so numb to the city by year three, four, and five that I stopped noticing? That the graffiti, piles of trash, and crumbling buildings looked like home? That the rainbow oil stains floating atop the water seemed natural? That every bit of normal land was a "wildlife preserve" and not just "land", and that was o.k?
Of course, there are beautiful parts of the city. For example, where my friends Emily and Jeremy live in Brookline. Or where Mikki and Ezra live on University Ave. And the historic parts of the city, as I explained to Charlie as we flew in, pointing out tiny buildings from the airplane window. This is a city that I know and love, though will probably never call home again. We're still finding home.