Notes From Boston

Hello, friends! I am back from the frigid wastelands of Boston, which–though lovely–caused the lower part of my face to peel off. I am pleased to be back in my swampy, humid, grey homeland. (Besides, does Boston have a Twin Peaks-themed bar with a heated outdoor patio and funnel cake on the menu? Psh.)

The frozen tundra really was lovely, though. Boston is basically a European city, but in the US. I had a moment while I was there, where I was standing outside a CVS. Except across the street from me was the Boston Public Library, which is built as a fantastic public temple (it is so cool, you guys, I am a complete sucker for publicly funded monuments to education), and then on the remaining two corners that I could see were gigantic, cathedral esque Catholic churches. The library and the stained-glass church were in some sort of across-the-street staring contest. And I was sitting there with some hydrocortisone cream for my skin rash. And that is the kind of thing that just does not happen in Atlanta, or in any of the other places that I have lived. So that was wonderful. (Also wonderful: cannoli.)

There was a hilariously weird moment, however, that happened in the Boston Public Library. Led in to the space by my fantastic traveling companions (were it not for them, I would have missed the door), I spotted some big lion statues flanking one of the stair cases. We went up to get pictures in front of the big lions, because statuary! And then, we realized what the inscription on the lions was commemorating. (You can play along at home with this person’s vacation photos.)

The lions were a monument to the men of Massachusetts who had died or participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea. For those of you reading this from the UAE (WordPress tells me there are a few of you), Sherman’s March was a campaign during the civil war in which Sherman marched through the Southern US and–from Atlanta to Savannah–set All The Things on fire in order to capture them.

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2012 Wrap Up

This was written a few weeks ago in preparation for my trip to Boston, where I am at this very moment ringing in the new year while being terribly, terribly cold. Enjoy!

In the shower today, I was thinking about this past year. There are some years where you can’t really remember what happened in them–they’re a pretty standard accumulation of the component parts that make up most of your life. This was not one of those.

This time last year, I was preparing to go to Dakar. I spent January through May of 2012 in West Africa, with a stopover in Barcelona and Paris. I had never been out of the country for that long, and I had never been to Africa or to Europe.

While in Dakar, I got used to taking cold showers and malaria pills. I sweated a lot. I drank in parks and was mopey and climbed inside a baobab tree and on a termite mound. I learned how to carry money, ID, and my phone tucked away in my bra after I had my phone stolen on my birthday. I was homesick. My dog died.

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