It was another uneventful Monday lunch hour. I sat in the kitchen of my San Francisco apartment enjoying reheated leftovers while chatting on the phone to my dad. I then received a text from my boyfriend back in Boston: "Boston marathon bombing." I swore into the phone. My dad turned on the news at his home in Tennessee. I logged onto Twitter to get real time updates. An unspeakable disaster was unfolding. Those of us far from the epicenter of the attack could only watch in horror. Thankfully, my boyfriend and other loved ones in Boston were safe.
I moved to Boston when I was 18 to attend Emerson College. I had spent the first 18 years of my life in the exact same house in a Nashville suburb. I always knew that I wanted out of the small town confines. Luckily my parents had the means to send me all the way to Boston to study creative writing at Emerson. I could finally live out my "big city" dreams.
Thanks to the wonderful orientation leaders and resident advisers at Emerson, it didn't take me long to get acclimated to the city. I had never used public transportation but I found the T incredibly easy to navigate. Our orientation leaders took us on field trips across the city to explore its various unique neighborhoods - Central Square, Allston, Coolidge Corner, the North End. Emerson's central location at the corner of Boylston and Tremont streets put me directly in the heart of the city's action. I could walk just about anywhere. I cross-registered for courses at the Berklee College of Music through the Boston ProArts Consortium. The stretch of Boylston between Berklee and Emerson saw Monday's Marathon bombing. The gruesome images from such a familiar street haunt me.
Whether you are a tourist or a resident, you will find that Boston has something for everyone. Its architecture conjures images of old European cities like London. Like most major cities, its cosmopolitan nature assures that international art and cuisine are always within reach. Boston boasts a vibrant nightlife and a list of successful bands including the Pixies and Passion Pit. Though I adore Athens, Georgia, Boston will always earn my vote for the best college town in America.
I've missed Boston terribly since leaving it in 2011. After moving out of the Emerson dorms, I made my home on a quiet tree lined street in quaint Coolidge Corner. I would do almost anything to live there again. I miss seeing midnight movies at the Coolidge Corner Theater, hearing authors read at the Brookline Booksmith and eating falafel at Rami's. My neighborhood in San Francisco doesn't even begin to compare. Downtown Boston has its flaws but I usually enjoyed spending time there. I avoid downtown San Francisco at all costs. Like most Bostonians, I often cursed the T's unreliable schedules but overall found it to be a safe and efficient method of transportation. I dread riding MUNI because it seems that every time I do, I experience another passenger expelling some sort of bodily fluid. Most importantly, I always felt safe in Boston.
There is nothing I can say to give comfort to the people of Boston during this grim time. I simply wish to express my love for the city that I once called home (and hope to call home again in the future). The people of Boston are an incredibly resilient lot and will pull through this tragedy with poise and courage. When the dust has settled, I urge tourists to continue visiting Boston. If any high school seniors are reading this and debating attending school in Boston, I encourage you to take that opportunity. No city is perfect but Boston is the only place that has ever elicited feelings of homesickness from this cynical writer. For better or worse, Boston made me who I am. Nor'easters aside, it must be doing something right.