For me and Boston, it was love at first sight. I was in middle school the first time I visited Boston on a family vacation. We camped somewhere on the South Shore and took the ferry in every morning to explore the city.
Boston was everything my hometown was not. It was big and exciting. There were things to do and see. You could walk anywhere, or take the T, the bus or a taxi (these do not exist in the country). It was a completely different world from the tiny little community where I had lived. The cookie-cutter houses and sprawling cornfields and dairy farms were no match for Boston’s unique architecture, historic charm and the hustle and bustle of the city.
Boston fascinated me. The second I started thinking about college I knew that this was where I wanted to be. The summer after my sophomore year of high school, my cousin and I took our first unchaperoned trip to visit schools and that sealed the deal for me.
Two years later, I moved into Kennedy Hall on Hemenway Street in Fenway/Kemore. I remember walking around the city in awe and thinking, “This is real. I live here.”
I spent four awesome years at Northeastern and my love affair with the city grew with every new neighborhood I explored and with every new friend I made. I know college is a formative time for most people, but it was monumental for me. I felt like I had finally broken free of a very sheltered and homogeneous existence and was now exposed to more of the world than my own tiny little bubble.
But I haven’t always been entirely faithful to Boston. While in school, I spent six months each living and working in London (awesome) and Cleveland (not so much). After graduating, I took some time off to travel and spent a couple months doing event marketing in a suburb of Chicago.
But ultimately, Boston drew me back, as I suspect it always will. Even after all these years and even a move across the river, I am still awed by this city and still catch myself thinking:
“This is real. I live here.”