I spent about 17 days in Connecticut before leaving for Peru, and I think I spent 7 of them cleaning out my closet and wondering how I accumulated so much stuff (on top of packing and squeezing in as many visits as I possibly could). The more I cleaned, the more I realized I’m either an extremely sentimental person, or I’m a low level hoarder. I had old letters, cards, childhood drawings, college research papers, student council minutes from 2004, and other things I was hanging onto “just in case” I happened to need them.
I went to the DMV to transfer to a CT license, and this sentimental part of me died a little on the inside when the clerk took away my Massachusetts license. As much as I know it’s an arbitrary piece of plastic, it felt like I was handing over the last of my Boston identity. It’s funny to feel so emotional about a place, but places come to hold so many memories, so much comfort and familiarity, and so much meaning. Boston was (and is) really a second home to me.
I can attribute an incredible amount of personal growth to the last 6 years I’ve spent in Boston. I gained a better sense of self, a sense of independence and the confidence that goes along with it, and I even finally understand what a credit score is.
My college experience gave me friends that truly became family, and despite how cliche that is, there’s no better way to put it. The fact that I recently spent three hours at dinner with my friend’s mom, without her daughter there, is a testament to that. It’s hard to find the right way to sum up the 3 1/2 years I had at Emmanuel. I lived with my best friends, I dragged them around to all the school events I wanted to go to, we had endless amounts of fun, and I collected random jobs to help fund all the fun (i.e. I was a lifelong vegetarian that worked at Tasty Burger).
I can’t pass by our senior year Hillside Street apartment without getting teary eyed thinking about how many people passed through and how many friendships were solidified there. If five girls can share three rooms for 365 days straight and still want to spend all their time together, I think we all pass the test. And how many people can say that they raised a litter of kittens with their college roommates…?
In the midst of all this, I also did a lot of learning. My time at Emmanuel solidified my desire to do two things: find a meaningful career path where I can truly help people, and see more of the world.
ABCD gave me the opportunity to pursue the first of those goals by working in the Youth Services Department, and for that I will be forever grateful. I met the type of coworkers that you want to spend more time with outside of the office, who listen to you vent, support you, and bring you miniature pancakes from Chinatown. Most weeks, we were all there over 40 hours, and that was made much easier because we were in good company.
Post grad, Boston also gave me a yoga studio that truly felt like a community, and for me, it became my Sunday sanctuary, my place to release, recharge and prepare for a new week.
Finally, this last year I was lucky enough to live with two friends I’ve known since I was 13 years old. I drove by our Summit Ave. apartment after we moved out just last month, and I felt a twinge of sadness and nostalgia already, wondering who’s inhabiting those walls now. We made this past year one for the books, really starting off right by clearing out the liquor store of their entire champagne supply for our Labor Day Weekend housewarming brunch. Our mother-daughter nights, our coordinated troll Halloween costumes (with the pink hairspray I couldn’t get out for a week), our Christmas party (with the red stars that were stuck in every crevice for the rest of the year), visits from our families … I couldn’t have gotten through the second year of post-grad young adulthood without my roommates there to talk through every single decision, issue, thought, frustration and feeling. It took a double bottle of wine at the kitchen table to finally decide that taking this “travel year” is the right thing to do, and the love and support of so many people means everything to me.
A wise man (my dad) once said to me, “No one can make a decision for you better than you.” I decided to take the next year to see more of the world, the second of my two goals. It’s bittersweet departing from a city and friends and family that mean so much to me, but it feels right. Since I’ll only have a backpack to carry all my belongings and souvenirs will be a rare purchase, my sentamentality will have to be satisfied with photos and memories recorded on this blog.
This is my small love note to Boston, and everyone in Boston and Connecticut and all across the U.S. who has been a part of my life’s story for the last several years. You’ve changed me for the better, and I can only hope the next chapter is full of as many positive memories and as much growth as the last. Thank you.
PS- Special thanks to my big sister for helping me to convince mom and dad that this trip is a good idea. 🙂