I published this post on July 5, 2009, about one of my favorite cities. I’m republishing it today as I watch the horrific news coming out of Boston. I’m praying for you guys. You’ll always have part of my heart.
Picture from June 2009
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 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 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 you 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,
This was a post I wrote when we were spectators at the Boston Marathon that same year.