I didn’t realize how much I loved Boston until I found myself far away from the Hub, in Los Angeles during the spring of my senior year of college. It wasn’t just a fear of missing out on all the events on campus, but I actually felt home sick.
I grew up in Virginia, but my best childhood memories are my summers spent up north. Going to New England was special and felt like a completely different world. I learned to swim in the Northern Atlantic, and I’ve had thick skin since.
My cousins grew up in Boston, and I was always a little envious of them for having enough snow in the winter to make snowmen and a real baseball team. My family would drive for days to see my grandmother in Maine, while they could hop in the car and be there in an hour.
I had to go to college in Boston after I visited Boston University with my mom during the Head of the Charles. Anyone who has ever walked along the Charles in October knows how picturesque the scene is, and the golden foliage outlining the river’s edge was what really got me.
Less than a year later I was wandering around Boston using the Citgo sign as my only point of reference. Though the first winter brought second thoughts, I learned to get through with a pair of Bean boots.
My roommate, who calls herself a Third Culture Kid, had never been to America before college. Coming from a different world in Hong Kong, she set out to make the most of her time here. We got rush tickets to the Symphony, discovered Lucky’s in Southie, bought our produce from the North End and went to midnight screenings at Coolidge theater. There were times when I was locked in the library, but I was always waiting to explore more of the city.
When I had to teach my dad what a regulah coffee at Dunkin’ was, I knew I had become part of the in crowd.
The truth is, it doesn’t take long to feel a part of Boston. It’s hard not to, actually. That’s what I love most about this place. When people in Hollywood asked me what I missed so much about Boston, I would tell them, “Boston has soul.” Yes, this does sound incredibly cliche, but there’s never a time I am walking somewhere that I don’t notice the city’s character–in the architecture, the landscape, the people, the excitement.
That’s why I came back and stayed after graduating. Though some of my friends are halfway around the world, I know they will come back to find the same character here that makes Boston so special.
There is always more to discover. Most of the time, I just happen upon an secret shortcut or a new running route. Boston may be a small city, but there are tons of opportunities to meet people, and you’ll soon find that people here are more friendly than in the South.