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What a week America has had!
First, the bombing of the Boston Marathon, then the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas, and finally the death of one Boston Bomber suspect and the arrest of another. As someone with many family members in the Boston area, including Watertown—some a quarter of a mile from the action—where the suspect was finally captured, I am incredibly relieved to know that the only thing that happened to my family was the fear that ran through their minds as their hometown was put under lockdown. Thank you Watertown Police and all those involved who ensured a swift arrest with no civilian casualties.
Now that the manhunt is over, the fact-finding mission begins. With news coverage almost exclusively broadcasting every minute detail into the life of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, many labels have been attributed to the young man who remains in critical condition.
Getting out of town can be one of the best things for your psyche. It recharges you, giving you more energy when it comes to doing the same hum-drum activities that we all become accustomed to as adults.
It can also be incredibly draining and stressful.
I am currently in the land of baked beans, witch hunters, and Dunkin’ Donuts galore. Yep, I am in New England. Massachusetts to be exact.
I love it here. I have family out in the area—my sister, Bree moved out here a decade or so ago—who I don’t get to see that often and whom I love to visit with on their home turf. Over the last few years, I came out here several times after my grandfather was diagnosed with, and later passed away from, a brain tumor. I got to meet family I never had and it was nice to see so many branches of the family tree.
One of the biggest problems I have is finding time to 1) see all of my relatives and 2) see all the things that I want to see when I’m back East. There are a lot of visits of both kinds and I find myself stretched thin whenever I’m here.
This visit was sort of a spontaneous one. My mom asked me a couple of weeks ago if I wanted to accompany her to Boston since she had to go on a business trip. She figured I could see Bree, Orson, and Andrew while she was working. I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t planned a trip to Bean Town this year and was excited to see how much Andrew had grown since October. Kids change so rapidly during their first few years so I jump at every opportunity to see my little nephew.
The timing worked out perfectly.
Andrew’s 2nd birthday was last week and I was already feeling somewhat guilty because I wasn’t planning on being there for his party. I was the only West Coast relative at his 1st birthday last year, something I was very proud of. I may not be that close to my siblings, but I will be close to my niece and nephews. So freakin’ help me.
But I digress.
Andrew’s birthday was last week and luck of the draw, Bree had scheduled his party for yesterday. I spent all day chasing a rowdy, but utterly adorable little munchkin around a children’s museum.
At the end of the day, I had to drive back from Rhode Island and was completely exhausted, yet there was still so much I had to plan before I left.
I have another all-day visit with the Van de Kamps and my stepmom Chrissy (who is in from Maui for Andrew’s festivities) and I have yet to see my silly grammie who has one of the sassiest/raunchiest personalities of any Catholic great-grandmother yet still has a heart of Irish gold. Then there is the visit with my mom’s friend from high school.
Did I mention I only have two more full days here?
Luckily, I had the opportunity to go off on my own today and explore Patriot Place. It’s sort of like a Downtown Disney or Universal City Walk outside of Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. There are shops and restaurants and a cranberry bog. Yes, a cranberry bog. I wish I had had some snow-appropriate shoes to go hike down to the bridges over the frozen water. Alas, I am a California girl with fashionable-not-functional footwear.
It was nice to be able to just be alone in New England. Normally, I’m always in the company of a relative, but for one morning and part of an afternoon, I was able to sleep in, watch a cheesy movie on HBO, and wander with absolutely nothing to do and no one to cater to until the afternoon.
There is something to be said about walking alone in a city that’s not your own. It allows you to collect your thoughts and do what you want to do when you want to do it while exploring unfamiliar sights and meeting new people.
I often dream about picking up my life and moving away to a different city by myself. What an adventure that would be!
I guess sometimes the best thing to do is to get out of town for a while and enjoy the serenity of the unknown in a different place.
I know I’m enjoying myself.