Deciphering Boston

As of this evening, I've completed week one of my two weeks here in Boston. While it feels longer, general busyness has also made it feel like I just arrived; I'm thoroughly enjoying the experience. So to let you know how I've adjusted, here are five observations for a Sunday night. 1. It's downright pretty around here While friends at home were sweating out summer-like temperatures, spring is just taking root here; the temperatures haven't left the mid-sixties. The climate accompanying the rich green foliage releases the beauty of this place. The seminary where I'm taking classes is located on Boston's North Shore, so I even snuck over to the Atlantic Ocean one night. It was absolutely gorgeous. There are little beach towns dotting the shore, but they seem more refined than those in Florida. I snapped some pictures that I'll try to post online once I can snag a camera cord.

Also, I keep telling Kelly that it just "looks" like New England here. I wasn't sure how to clarify this (and I'm not sure I still do). The seminary is in a suburban/rural area where the towns just look like a postcard. But I think I've nailed down the classification to wooden houses (very little brick), with an abundance of greenery and natural stone walls. I'd love if someone else could help my clarify what I'm talking about.

2. Driving is different Boston drivers are cordially rude. I've been cut off more in a week here than I've been in the past two years in Cincy. But my guess is that the layout of the roads contributes to this situation. On-ramps are much more abbreviated here so, if you don't cut someone off, you'll never make it home. Also, the design here significantly reduces the number of left turns. For example, to get into my hotel parking lot, I'm forbidden from turning left. So I have to pass the hotel and circle around an expressway ramp to get on the correct side of the street so I can make a right turn into the parking lot. There is no explanation for how annoying this is. I'm sure it causes fewer accidents, but it does so at the cost of making me lose my mind. Major dislike.

3. The food is similar I have seen practically every chain restaurant imaginable including (shocker) Boston Market. Apparently roast beef is the Boston equivalent of Skyline Chili. I don't get it, nor have I tried yet. I figure I've eaten roast beef many-a-time in my life and can continue to survive without sampling this cultural staple. We'll see if I sample some before I leave town.

4. It's more Chicago than New York This is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US that I have never visited before. I was wondering what can of "vibe" it would transmit and it's still a pretty small town feel. When you walk the streets of Manhattan, you can't help but feel a closed-off attitude. But the people here have been genuinely kind. As I walked in downtown Boston the other day, I had numerous people on the street say "hi." It's big, but it's not obnoxiously big. I'm fascinated by it all.

Plus, the cost of living is just ridiculous up here. I continually wonder how much money people around here make, because practically everything up here (except gas) is ten cents to a dollar higher than it is in the Midwest. Specifically . . .

5. About fountain drinks This is just an example of where one of my foibles intersect with this city. Since I first arrived, I kept looking for a place where I could nab a fountain Diet Coke. I stopped in quite a few gas station convenience stores and there where none. Since I came up zeros, I resigned myself to stopping in at a Burger King to get a large fountain Coke. The price: $2.50. Unbelievable. I asked some locals who said they just don't drink it as much.

Fortunately, however, this is the week that McDonalds started their summer pricing of $1 drinks, so I just might make it after all. But this served as confirmation that I would never be able to live here. It's just inhuman the way they operate.

One week to go, but I'm feeling like I'm getting the hang of it. And since I'll do this again in the next few years, maybe I'll get even better at Boston. We'll see what I learn.