Thursday, 30 June 2011

Boston in a word: Amazing!

Alright, I promised myself that I wouldn't leave this blog unattended and leave it to fade or die away.  So, I've been a bit busy as well as slack over the past few months but I hope I can make up for it by posting about my adventure in the US.

For those who are back in Australia, I'll try explain why I'm here as I may not have made it that clear to everyone.  Put simply, Melbourne University runs a subject called 'Searching for the American Dream' which students can apply to participate in.  This year we are visiting (in this order) Boston, New York and Washington.  All three destinations seem exciting, yet I can only comment on Boston so far as we are still here.

Our flight was very long and we were 'fortunate' enough to be delayed an extra 5+ hours from LA-BOSTON.  I'm beginning to understand why American Airlines' reputation has not been crash-hot.  Nevertheless, we touched down in Boston at approx. 2am, yet the city was still busy.  It had rained not long before we arrived but luckily we missed it.  Since then, we really haven't had any rain or seriously bad weather - to be honest the weather has been so good I'm considering running away from Australia and hiding away in the US :P  It's warm everyday, but the evening greets us with a cool breeze.  The air seems different, I haven't figured out if it's less polluted or more, but it's just different, that's all!

What I particularly love about Boston is that it resembles Melbourne in many ways.  The layout of the city is very logical, some of the signs are EXACTLY the same, the 'T' (Subway) is MUCH better, yet it just 'feels' the same.  Don't ask why, just book a ticket and come and experience it for yourself.  Although it's the first US city I've visited, I love it very much.  It's got a good balance, enough junk food to keep you entertained, plenty of noise from the traffic and best of all, it has a 'Common', which is a park in the middle of the CBD.  Think of it just like the Botanical gardens in Melbourne, but much less closed off, hence it's got a very open-space feel about it.

The food has been great.  Sure, lots of unhealthy food (which is tempting) but there are plenty of options around.  It's called discipline guys, something I guess even I have to work on :P

I'm probably about half-way through my post, so if I've made any mistakes with grammar please forgive me.  I can't be bothered checking over it as my eyes are closing at the end of every sentence.  Somehow I still manage to wake up between 4am-5am every morning, but I'll admit I'm loving it.  Although many shops are still closed, it's nice to feel that you have much longer days, and you can get plenty of things done.

It'd probably be an ideal place to throw in a word or two about my friends who are all on this trip.  They are a fantastic bunch, they are motivated students (:P) but thankfully they still know what it means to have fun.  I don't know how many of you are reading this blog, but if you are, thanks for making the trip much more interesting.  Each and everyone of you are so unique and that's what has made this trip fantastic.

Glenn along with Cassie have both put in a fantastic effort in organising some great sights and meetings with organisations such as Peace corps, City year and the Greater Boston food bank.  We also met with a judge at the local court and he talked to us about a case he was working on just that day - which has turned out to be another mistrial (i think the third now).  Today we went to Salem, where the witch trials took place.  I'll be honest, this was the visit that I was least looking forward to, but the whole town exceeded my expectations.  It is a very interesting place, yet not somewhere you'd want to live.  So, in short, we've only been here for a few days but we've made some great progress navigating around the city.  It's great, it's quick: efficient!

In general, or at least for me, Boston really demonstrates a community spirit.  People acknowledge you, greet you and spend time talking with you.  They're late for work, but they won't trample over you to get to their destination.  I feel relatively safe despite the stereotypes of America that exist.  Sure, what's shocking is the sheer amount of homeless people, slumped over in the park, on benches and even inside restaurants.  Poverty and homelessness is shocking (I don't deny that) but the fact that these people are not chased off the street or out of restaurants is something I like in Boston.  Overall, Boston is diverse, yet this is what I find is the glue that binds people in this city.  They feel comfortable living here, not matter how different others, and with that, I'll bring this post to a close.

If you like my ramblings I'll try post a bit more (no promises) :P

Regards to my family and friends in Australia, and to those stalking this page in the US, see you tomorrow!  Can't wait to see Harvard and MIT.

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