An Open Letter to the Greater Boston Area

Dear Boston and Friends,

Tonight I’m  sitting in a hotel room somewhere close to Washington, D.C. It’s a beautiful hotel, one of the nicest ones I’ve ever seen, and this is an amazing city, but I’m not as happy here as I would have imagined.  My heart feels a little bit sad tonight because I’m missing you.

Last night we didn’t make it into town soon enough to go see the fireworks display on the Mall. Instead we watched the celebration live on TV. It was quite a show, but I couldn’t help but compare it to the fun we had last year with you. Shortly after the program was over, I turned the channel and there you were. CBS was broadcasting the fireworks display live from the banks of the Charles River. I looked into the faces as the cameras panned through the crowd and remembered the way I felt when I was one of them last year. You really know how to throw a birthday party! I remember the way that it felt like the fireworks were actually exploding in my chest during the finale last year. It literally took my breath away and it was so beautiful that I cried.  Last night I cried again. But I cried because I just really missed you.

When my husband told me we’d be moving to Massachusetts for a year, I knew it would be a wonderful experience, but I had no idea I’d fall in love with you the way that I have. You see, in case you couldn’t tell by this ridiculous accent, I’m from the South. Don’t misunderstand me; that’s not an apology. I’m very proud of my Southern heritage and appreciate my roots.  I always found it amusing that almost everywhere I went, in the middle of people speaking Mandarin, Spanish, Farsi, and Italian, my southern accent was the one that people noticed. But after awhile, I think I began to enjoy that my dialect set me apart a little bit. I don’t feel as special here in D.C. Right after we drove into town, I ran into a lady in the elevator. The minute she started talking, her southern accent almost sounded like a foreign language to my ears! For the first time, I think I might have heard what you heard whenever I opened my mouth. Southern accents are a dime a dozen where I’m going. No one will stop to listen to me talk just because they like the way I say things. Yeah. I’m really going to miss you.

I’ll miss having a history lesson everywhere I go. I’m glad I never stopped feeling amazement at the opportunity to stand in the middle of  what were the beginnings of this country that I love. I think my time with you has made me love my country and the people who were its founders more than I ever did before. I have developed a new love for history and plan to continue as a student of my country’s early days. I have a list of good biographies and history books that I can’t wait to read. I think the events will mean more to me now that I’ve seen where they took place.

The air conditioner in my van will miss you, too. It actually had to work yesterday. I don’t think I used it very much the whole time I lived in Massachusetts. I’m a little bit miffed at you, by the way. As we packed up the van to get started on our trip yesterday morning,  I couldn’t help but notice the sunshine and the warmer weather. You’d been holding out on me for the last few weeks. I can’t stay mad at you though. You gave me four of the most beautiful seasons I’ve ever seen. I loved your warm, sunny, summer days with nights that were still cool enough to need a jacket.  I loved the delicious bounty I found at your farmer’s markets. I’ll never forget your amazing fall colors that made the trees look like they were on fire. Last fall will always mark the time that I realized that no apple in the world tastes better than the one you pick from the tree yourself. I loved every minute of the snow and the weather that gave us great excuses to snuggle together at home and not leave the house for days. I’ve now become a maple syrup snob and will never taste it again without remembering the trip we took to the sugar shack. Your tulips and hydrangeas and the beautiful floral and green smells of spring will stay with me forever. You are truly a beautiful place to live.

You really spoiled me with all of your conveniences. I’ll miss Trader Joe’s, Whole Food Market, Costco, and Sephora. I’m already hungry for P.F. Chang’s, Joe’s Two,  and Five Guys. I ran out of time before I ran out of places to eat and shop! Maybe my waistline will be smaller and my pocketbook will be larger now that we’re no longer together.

I’m not sure how it happened, but sometime over the year, I became a diehard Red Sox fan. Is it possible to watch a game in Fenway Stadium and leave not  become a Red Sox fan? I will never be able to hear “Dirty Water” or “Sweet Caroline” without thinking of you.  I’ll be cheering for you guys! (Unless you’re playing the Braves; like I said, I’m still a card-carrying Southern girl!)

I could write pages about all the things I’m going to miss about you: the college kids, riding the T, the Bernie and Phyl’s commercials (Quality, Comfort, and Price…That’s Nice!). I’ll miss my favorite news people: Harvey, Ed, and Heather, and the way the reporter Jorge Quiroga says his own name. I’ll miss the Waltham YMCA. I’ll even miss waiting for someone to turn left without waiting for the arrow the minute the light turns green.

Most of all, I’m going to miss your people. I’ve grown accustomed to their quirky New England ways. What I once thought of as abrupt and maybe less than tactful, I now appreciate as honest. I always know where I stand with your guys. I love that you all say what you’re thinking and then you’re finished and we can go on as friends. You don’t play games or hold grudges and I’ve grown to appreciate that about you. I’d like to think that I’m less likely to pretend I mean something when I really don’t because you’ve taught me to be more truthful. I wish I’d been able to teach you a little more about how to initiate small talk. It’s really not that difficult and I think you’d enjoy it once you got the hang of it.

A few friends were especially difficult to leave. I’m so glad I found my little church in Cambridge. I felt like a dinosaur the first few weeks as one of the oldest attendees, but I think hanging around all those young college and grad students who still have so many dreams and plans ahead of them made me feel younger than I am. I’m also leaving a few special friends with you who  are particularly dear to me. Because we move often, I have to make a conscious choice to make myself available for friendships, especially when I know I’m only in a place for a short time. Somehow this time it was as if God knew I was going to need deep-rooted friendships so He fast forwarded the process for me. I think He used a Miracle Gro for friendships, if you will. It’s hard for me to believe how quickly Brandy, Connie, and even Brandi became such important parts of my life. I can say without hesitation that it’s possible to make lifelong friends in only a matter of months. I’m so blessed to have those women in my life.

I think I’m realizing that every time I have to move, I leave part of my heart in each city I have lived. I would feel cheated if it weren’t for the fact that every time I leave a city, I take a part of it with me in my heart. It’s a trade, and I think I’m the one who gets the best end of the deal. So I don’t tell you goodbye, because if God allows me, I will be back again to at least visit from time to time. And I will forever be very proud that, for at least one year anyway, I was from Boston.

Missing you but so very grateful for our time together,




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20 responses to “An Open Letter to the Greater Boston Area

  1. I’ve wanted to visit Boston for a while, but now I’m afraid if I do I won’t want to leave. It sounds so wonderful!

    I know your time there was very special. I’m sure you are leaving a piece of you there and your kids are too. I’m still looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in the South.

    I loved The Same Kind of Different as Me, and I wanted to tell you what I thought about the story, but I don’t know how to get a hold of you!

  2. Girl, you’ve made me weepy this morning. Such a good tribute to Boston.

  3. mom

    I know your heart hurts right now and it will take some time for all your emotions to find a place to rest. I’m missing Boston with you right now. I also watched Boston’s 4th celebration and remembered that’s how it all started. Just know, everywhere you go, you are a gift to those who are there….. and you are so loved by all that get to know you.

  4. What precious memories. Thank you for sharing some of Boston with the rest of us!

  5. You leave parts of your heart, but you take such great memories with you! Boston will always be one of your homes….and what a great place to go back and visit.

  6. Deena

    This is such a beautiful post! I’m glad you were blessed with a wonderful year in Boston. May this next stop along the journey be amazing for you. Blessings to you!

  7. Absolutely wonderful post. I didn’t think I could love MA more, but you’ve managed to make it even more endearing. xo

  8. carpoolqueen

    I’m sad that I didn’t make it up there to see you while you were there. Maybe we’ll do a girl’s weekend just the two of us and go traipsing through the city.

    Two days til I see you.

    In case you didn’t think I was counting.

  9. Beautiful tribute! My husband has been to Boston quite a bit for work but I’ve never been. I’d love to visit someday.

    I really admire your ability to make friends even when you know your time will be short and your flexibility is amazing! You’ve probably posted this and somehow I missed it but where are you moving to?

    I think you probably had the best seats for the DC fireworks. I can’t imagine how terrible the crowds were. And trying to ride the Metro when everyone is leaving at the same time…no thanks!

  10. What sweet memories. Now you have me wanting to go to Boston.

    So glad you are coming home to the South.

  11. Great post….It is always sad to leave a city, even if you are moving somewhere you are excited about…..I always love reading your posts….

  12. Oh friend, moving can be so hard! I will keep you in my prayers.

    Boston sounds like a great place!

  13. Sandy M.

    What a wonderful tribute! You found the beauty everywhere God placed it; in His creation, in the culture, & in friendships. Having visited Boston several times, I’ve loved being a tourist there (one of my dreams-of-a-lifetime is to watch the fireworks there on 7/4!) But I’ve never had a desire to live there. However, God has never asked me to live there, so contentment in where He places each of us is a high & lofty goal that is possible to accomplish. Thanks for sharing this sweet tribute! Have fun w/CPQ!

  14. Deb

    You wrote beautifully of your love affair with this city and connected me to a place I’ve never before visited.

    Thanks for letting us come into your world.

  15. tls

    That was beautiful. Your writing never ceases to amaze me! So glad I can count you as friend.

  16. “Just know, everywhere you go, you are a gift to those who are there….. and you are so loved by all that get to know you.”

    Aren’t moms always right? Thank you for letting us share in your appreciation and mourning. Hugs.

  17. That was beautiful and made me reconsider moving to the New England area. I hope you have a wonderful time with CPQ.

  18. This just grabbed my heart, girl and wracked me.

    What tender, sweet, heartfelt words on this page, girl.

    What a gift you are to the people, the churches and the cities you lived in and called “home”, even if for a short time and what gifts you get in return, too.

    I am heavy for you but I know that joy is everywhere because it’s what we take with us and not what we’ll find when we get to our next place…

    I love you, sweet friend.

  19. Reminds me that I need to take Robin there. I wanted to move there badly early in our marriage- Florida ruined me for it as you can be around New Englanders with sunny weather.

    But you don’t get the flavor: the history is amazing and the people surprisingly friendly if you speak to them first- otherwise they mind their own business (which is very refreshing for a southerner).

    A beautiful town and a great baseball town too- gotta love that. I loved our visits when I had a sister there- except for that one time we went on a whale watch and an extraordinarily rotund (and I’m being gracious about her size) lady hurled on to my other sister on the deck below. True story, and weirdly funnier at the time as it just gets grosser hearing it over the years. 🙂

    Glad you’re closer to family just the same Amy.

  20. You have no idea who I am, but I promise I’m not a stalker, just a friend of Chris’s to whom he passed along your blog address. I just wanted to tell you I’ve been sideline reading for a couple of weeks and I really enjoy your writing style. It is very clean and personable, and I hope you don’t mind a stranger reading about your life!

    I love Boston and am sure you have very mixed feelings about leaving it to be back home with your family. (I am currently deep in decision-making mode regarding leaving San Francisco to go back home to Texas, so I can empathize.) My outlook is that whatever decision you made will always end up being the right one, because you make it so. You will miss your old city and embrace your new one. One is silver the other gold, eh?

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