Tag Archives: ma

Back in Boston

21 Nov

I’m back in Boston (Sharon now, but who’s keeping track?) for the Thanksgiving break, getting away from Washington, DC for a week. On Saturday afternoon I took a flight out of Reagan National Airport and was amazed to find that we landed in Boston a half hour early. In all of the flying around the world that I’ve done, I’ve never been on a flight that got in so ahead of schedule. My old friends Dan and Scott picked me up at Logan International and we got ready to head out for the night, meeting up with old friends at a surprise party. Really, the Thanksgiving break doesn’t start for another couple of days, but since all of my classes for this week were canceled, I decided to take the days off of work.

The flight prices vary considerably, and by leaving on Saturday I was set to save about $400. The drastic price difference is the only reason that I’ve been able to come back home, and originally I was just planning on meeting my family in New York at my grandma’s. So instead, I had a good night out with some friends, followed by a brunch in Boston with my parents and sister, and will spend the next couple of days at my parent’s house studying and working on my final papers. On Thursday morning we’ll be leaving early to head down to New York, where we’ll have a feast with the family in Brooklyn. On Friday we’ll head down to New Jersey and I’ll visit my aunt and uncle who I haven’t seen in years, as well as cousins and their children who I’ve never even met. Finally, on Saturday morning I’ll take the Amtrak back to Washington to get ready to start up with school in the final stretch. It’s a real life version of “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

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27 Hours in Cape Cod

4 Aug

East Dennis, Cape Cod

Crossing over the Sagamore Bridge and entering Cape Cod, you can start to feel a bit more relaxed in knowing that you’re about to enter a vacationland with beaches and laid back vibe. Unless you have weekend traffic which is common in the summer, you can pass by the Cape towns fairly quickly, arriving to your destination with ease. Yesterday I left for the town of Dennis, on the northern arm of the Cape, about half way up the extension of land. My friend Elyse is living with her grandpa for the summer there, just a short walk to the beach, and I went up to catch up with her and see the Cape for the first time in about four years.

Getting in early in the afternoon, we headed to the town of Hyannis, famous for its quaint center with shops and restaurants, as well as beautiful waterfront properties. Elyse and I window shopped a bit and then settled on some ice cream, eventually driving back to the house to go to the beach. Cape Cod is heavily settled by summer vacationers who either have second homes or rent for a few days or weeks, but you often have to drive pretty far to get places. There are restaurants, bars, and mini golf courses in certain spots, but if you’re not near those you might have to drive for a half hour.

Hyannis, Cape Cod

The weather wasn’t working with us as it was a bit chillier over the last two days, but I still went into the water for a bit. We walked along the beach and watched the many hermit crabs scurrying along as the tide pulled out by sunset. For entertainment at night we hit up the local restaurant and bar where Elyse works, and I got my first bowl of New England Clam Chowder in at least four years. It didn’t let me down, and after I ate we watched a local band play some hits.

Today was more laid back as we were tired from the night out, but we made it back to the beach eventually and I burned up badly without any sunblock on. I now look like a lobster, even though I didn’t get to eat any on the trip. I’m back home in Sharon now, resting up before the next outing. Tomorrow I’m headed back to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play, again for the first time in over four years. My friend Fish is treating me to the game, and though I was planning on heading to Amherst on Sunday afternoon, that has been scratched for a possible trip to the beach instead.

Still Searching for a Sense of Reality

3 Aug

From the first day back in my hometown of Sharon, MA I had the sense of being in a ghost town. It’s not that the businesses have packed up and left, probably thanks to the fact that there’s hardly any industry here to begin with. It’s not because all of the boys are overseas fighting and only the elderly are left. But rather, there seems to be a hollow edge to the same streets that I walked and rode my bike on as a youth, and later drove up and down as a teenager. They are the same tree-lined tertiary roads where you’re likely to pass a family of deer or even the occasional wild turkey, safe from criminal activity or pollution. Yet things don’t feel the way they used to.

This is the part of the story where the buzz has started to wear off. The rush of coming home and seeing old friends while simultaneously running up and down the east coast has kept me busy. Fortunately this resulted in a prolonged happiness to be back in the United States, and even though I am in between work and study, my hands have been far from idle. There’s a lot to take care of after returning home three years later. In the last couple of days things have started to slow down. Returning from Washington with an apartment seemingly wrapped up, I continue to search for a job and see old friends, yet I’ve had spare time set in, allowing me to think and dwell on certain things.

I want to remember as many things as possible, and focus on the little details. The parquet floors of Buenos Aires, the random pine tree forest high up in the Andes between Quito and Cuenca, cropping up between the thick clouds, so close you could touch it. Once I start thinking about that stuff, I start to feel the emptiness where my deflated dream has started it’s backwards retreat. I’ve already lived out my lifelong goal, well before the age of 25, and now it’s back to the real world. Or is it?

What exactly is the “real world” to me anymore? Not some TV show on MTV, no way. It’s not a traditional summer vacation that a student would enjoy, with three months of work and play. In coming back to this ghost town, I’ve learned that my vision of reality is totally skewed and messed up, but worse still, I now have no vision of reality. At least for the moment. You see, most of my friends have moved out of the suburbs and into the city of Boston, and those who haven’t soon will. While summers used to mean hanging out at someone’s house, playing poker or drinking some beers while watching a movie, I now have little to do during the week. I drive around and check to see if I’ll recognize the driver or car, but I wince when realizing that no one will be around who I know. Even people younger than me from high school have graduated and moved on. I’m an old timer out of my element. This town is no place for someone in their mid-twenties.

While in summers past the middle of the day could be filled with the possibility of seeing a friend drive by, I now know that I’ll be here alone and there will be so surprise visitors. My reality used to be school, summer, work, etc. At first my job in Buenos Aires didn’t seem real–it was just something I was doing to live in Argentina. Then it became my reality and my only purpose for being there. That’s over now. But the real world is only what you make of it in front of you. Though I considered it a different part of my life, the last 3 years were my reality, and now this place is not my home, nor is it where I belong. It’s a comfortable setting and being surrounded by family is refreshing, but I clearly can’t spend much time here before I move on again. I’ve outgrown this role.

I went abroad and though I pictured coming home to the same place, it is no longer what I imagined. The neighborhood has grown up and left, and accordingly so, new people have come in to pick up the slack. No longer in my reality of Latin America, and not yet in my new reality of Washington DC, I’m simply floating along on vacation. It’s like a decompression chamber before starting the next journey, which will no doubt be as complex as the last one, but for different reasons. Little by little I see myself starring a little longer and thinking a little deeper, remembering those who I’ve left behind and wishing it wasn’t so. Where will they be when I have the ability to see them again, and when will that happen? It will never satisfy me to speak of them in the past tense, and I suppose that’s one of the many curses of being a returned expatriot.

Hot Days and Odd Coincidences in DC

28 Jul

Since I got off the plane in Baltimore yesterday I feel like I’ve been running around in a mad rush to find some acceptable apartment. At first I thought this city of 500,000 or so was small, but a long ride on the DC Metro will prove to you just how large Washington DC can really be. It’s the middle of summer and DC is a warm blanket of humidity and soaked shirts waiting to happen. It’s gross. After two days I already have a bad blister forming on my right foot and I’m tired, feeling the drain of exploring this city. The only plus is that I’m seeing a large portion of this city in the process.

Once I got the B30 bus from Baltimore BWI International Airport to Greenbelt Station, I took the Metro in to the city center where my friend Kerry lives in Columbia Heights. As it turns out there were three Argentinians on the Metro and we talked about a number of things as I tried my best to help them out. However, Washington isn’t my new home just yet, so I couldn’t offer much for them. Settled in the apartment, I set out for my first apartment viewing way up on 14th Street. Though I didn’t know the bus routes well, or anything well for that matter, I consulted Google Maps and figured out that I could take the 53 bus all the way up 14th Street, which was only a few blocks away.

The apartment was nothing special and very far from campus, so I moved on and was set to go to my next apartment until the contact told me they’d already rented it. Instead, I worked my way over to American University to finally get a view of the campus. I thought that maybe I’d stumble across a building with rooms for rent, but all I did was walk around and look at a few buildings before going back to the Metro. But not before stopping for some Peruvian food–just a quick dish of rice, eggs, chicken and a bunch of other greasy things.

I was set to meet up with Kerry for a drink but received a call about an apartment in the Shaw neighborhood, near Howard University, so I told Kerry I’d meet her after. Sitting down on the Metro I looked to my right and there sat Kerry. In a city as expansive as DC, and even though we were at different ends, we somehow met up in the same train. Sometimes it has to make you wonder.

Today I woke up early again to start the hunt, but had to begin the day by switching my base of operations to Dupont Circle, where I’ll stay until I leave on Friday. This caused me a bit of a delay and walking from Columbia Heights, by the time I got to the new apartment I was soaked. I was late to my 10:30 am appointment by an hour but the guy was there waiting anyway. Still, the distance was great, and it would be at least an hour commute to American University, so it wasn’t too viable of an option. I bounced down to Capitol Hill and ate a delicious burrito, listened to a Greenpeace representative who offered me advice on where I could live, and headed up to see another apartment off of New York Avenue near the ATF National Headquarters.

As it turns out, this guy is not only from my hometown of Sharon, MA, but he went to high school with my sister. It was a beautiful apartment, but might be just out of my price range. I ended the day by catching up with Jeff, an old high school friend who’s been living here for the last three years, and walked home past embassies (including the Argentinian Embassy) and continuing the search online.

Tomorrow will be another hot day, and another one full of walking around and trying to find a place to live. My feet hurt, but maybe tomorrow will be the lucky day.

Back in the United States After 2 Years

14 Jul

On Tuesday night after two years in Argentina, my friend Matias accompanied me to the airport and I left Buenos Aires on an overnight flight bound for Miami. I spent the last day with my friend Amy, rushing around trying to exchange money and finalize packing. Later we met up with my friend Yerly and walked around for a final slice of pizza. The weather was spectacular for the winter and all things considered, it couldn’t have ended on a better day. I had kind of expected to get choked up or tear up on my way out with the final goodbyes, but was surprised when nothing happened. I even spent a lot of time reflecting on the last couple of days, but nothing got me to the point of weeping. I suppose I was ready to go home, at least for a while.

Two years is a very long time, and upon arriving to Miami I smiled with the anticipation of finally not being a foreigner. Yet in Miami International Airport I still had to speak in Spanish and was still surrounded by Argentinians. There I was, expecting to hear English and suddenly all I heard was “boludo” this and “boludo” that. I was exhausted from the last few days in Argentina and the long, mostly sleepless flight, so I passed out for most of the Miami to Boston portion. Yet once we landed in Logan International Airport, the song “Dirty Water” entered my head and I felt right. Things looked as they’d always looked outside of my window.

The reunion with my parents was nice, and as we drove out of the city and into the suburbs I was able to see many of the landmarks I had always seen as a child. Some things were different, and occasionally I’d be told about something that had changed while I was gone. My brother and sister were waiting as we pulled into the house, and then the tour of the house began. It was like being a guest almost, because so many things have changed that it almost doesn’t feel like the place I grew up in. It’s of course the same house and many things are exactly the same, but two years have changed this house. There’s also something to be said about coming home after a long time away and not feeling as you did when you left. Likewise, the other people and things in your life won’t be the same either.

I’ve been incredibly busy so far, from cleaning out the junk my mom has piled up in my room to running around to the bank and seeing old friends. A lot of people have been asking me if I’m going to be continuing the blog, and the answer is of course yes. The theme will obviously slightly change, and though I am no longer an expat, for a time this blog will focus on a recently returned expat. In time, I’ll move to Washington DC and then will explore a new city. Just as Buenos Aires was a new experience that I discovered, Washington will offer me new opportunities and stories which I will share with you. Continue to check back in for updates on what I’m doing at home and how the transition is going.