23 April 2013

Boston Strong

As I was away last week, I was unable to share my thoughts about the horrific events that occurred in Boston. I hope that you'll indulge me now.

I was in a shop in California with my parents, buying them their first iPhones (that was interesting), when I saw on my own phone the news about the bombings in Boston. My heart lurched as I scrolled through the images, recognizing Boylston Street and my beloved Boston Public Library.

Although I grew up in California and now live in New York, I spent a good portion of my adulthood in Boston and think of it as a second home. I was one of the many who arrive in  Massachusetts each fall to attend school. But instead of leaving after graduation, I stayed on. 

Perhaps it was because there were four real seasons or that there was history at every turn or that the architecture was so different from that of San Francisco. Whatever the reason, I fell in love with the place. 

Some people say that Boston is unfriendly; that you can live there for years and never be accepted by the locals. That was not my experience. I felt comfortable from the start. A friend who's from there once told me that I was the first person she had ever met from the West Coast who fit right in. I took it as a compliment. And so I lived there until a career change required a move to New York.

Although I love Boston and have days when I miss it, I'll admit it has its faults: the insane closing hours (what bar doesn't stay open until two?), the accent that can be grating (but which I grew fond of), the crazy drivers, the lack of air conditioning. And after living in New York, it seems tiny. But then again, what place is perfect? 

And so when I stood there, reading the news, all I could think of was "they attacked my city." It felt strange being 3,000 miles away. Even being back in New York would have meant being closer than I was at that moment. For the next few hours I emailed/texted friends and checked Facebook constantly for status updates. Over the next few days I watched the news as much as I could, waiting for updates. I clapped when Neil Diamond came out to lead the crowd at Fenway in a rousing version of "Sweet Caroline" and laughed when I heard Big Papi's speech that was so endearing that even the FCC forgave him for his use of a certain word. And I was moved by President Obama's speech at the interfaith service, particularly these words:

"When the Sox or Celtics or Patriots or Bruins are champions again—to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans—the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street. And this time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the one hundred and eighteenth Boston marathon.”

Yes they will. Be strong Boston.

Photos by Michele.

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