I grew up in New York City. I've lived in Paris but Massachusetts is the only place I've lived that I feel happy when I come home from a vacation.
I went down to Staten Island to visit my parents and be Tia Cantabridgienne for the weekend. As I'm about to crawl under the rock that is UMass Boston for the next three months I felt my family deserved to have a crack at me first. I was supposed to go down Friday afternoon, but all trains were canceled because hurricane Earl was ripping up Connecticut. So I went down on Saturday instead and arrived in time to eat an excellent dinner that my brother in law had cooked. After dinner he made litchi nut martinis-which look a lot like eyeball martinis. I ate all the stray litchi nuts and allowed my oldest nephew to work on his lamprey impression (with me as the shark.)
The next day was Attack of the Small Children day. I don't know how my sister keeps up with all three of them. We divided them (the baby went to have a nap with his mom, my niece went to watch Papa (as she calls my dad) make ice cream-I caught her running her tongue over the frost on the outside of the ice cream maker. I'm pretty sure my dad wouldn't have let me do that but she got away with it. And I got my eldest nephew. I wouldn't say that any one thing we did was exhausting, but by 4 pm I was ready for a nap. Apparently, overseeing quarterly reports or server migrations is less tiring than keeping up with a 5 year old. I found myself lying down by 9 PM and asleep by 9:30.
I was still beat when I went on a walk with my sister and her kids this morning and as soon as the conductor had checked my ticket to Boston I fell asleep again.
When the train arrived in Boston I decided to take it to South Station and walk to North Station (instead of getting off at Back Bay and taking the subway to North Station). I had determined that I had enough time to catch the next commuter whale either way but I wanted to walk a bit (tired as I was) after sitting on the train for several hours. Also, I often walk from South Station to North Station when I'm coming home from school (and getting impatient with the T) and I wanted to take the walk to clear my head.
I passed through Downtown Crossing. It's a horrible mess at the moment. There's a big gaping hole where someone started a construction project they couldn't be bothered to finish. There are closed store fronts.
When I first moved here in 1999, on of my first moments of "yup-this is my town-I live here happened at Downtown Crossing. I got off the train there (even though it was pouring rain) on a Friday night to pick up a book at the Barnes and Noble to read over the weekend. I walked in front of the space where the bookstore used to be and thought...well I'm not sure really what I thought except that this is home. I have to go back to work tomorrow and tomorrow night I start one of the two classes I'm taking at UMB this term. I'm not particularly looking forward to either of these things, but it is right and normal that I do them.
I'm home. Welcome home to me.