Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thoughts on My (Brief) Return to Boston

I went back to Boston this week, only for a short trip (it was too short), but it was absolutely wonderful.  Even in February, which is objectively the worst time one could possibly be in New England, it was like being in heaven.  A beautiful heaven full of old buildings and rich history and delicious food and evocative smells and wonderful friends.  When I first got back I was nervous that the whole thing about not being able to "go home again" would turn out to be true, that everyone around me would have moved on or been indifferent to my return.  Gladly, this was not the case.  Sure, there were no rose-garden ceremonies or slayings of fatted calves, but the welcome I received was so warm.  I had forgotten what that felt like.  This is not to say that it wasn't a little weird being back.  There were moments when I felt that I had just woken up and Hawaii was all a dream (if only).  Then there were moments when I felt that being in Boston was a dream.  But what a good dream it was.

Some highlights of my trip:  I ate at UBurger (the best of all burger places), slept on the comfiest couch in my old apartment in Charlestown, had some delicious Indian food, walked around Harvard Square (and went into Colonial Drug solely to sniff a perfume that my grandmother wore), shopped at Anthropologie, re-joined the rest of America and ran on Dunkin', went window-shopping and cupcake-eating with a girl-friend, walked through the South End, rekindled my romance with the MBTA (so, so, SO much better than public transportation in Hawaii), went to church at the Longfellow Park building (best church day in over eight months)*, exercised nearly all exemptions to my no-hugging rule, and visited an old professor at BU.  While I was doing this last thing (or, waiting in the lobby of the medical building before my appointment with her, rather), I had the following thought:

I've lived in three places that are not my parents' home:  Utah, Boston, and Hawaii.  Living in Utah was like living in a hole I had burrowed in the sand:  it fit comfortably, but once I left, the hole filled itself back in again.  Living in Hawaii is like trying to burrow a hole in a thick sheet of titanium:  all you can do is sit on the surface; it's impossible to make the slightest mark or indentation.  Boston was completely different.  Living in Boston is burrowing a hole in somebody's heart and having that hole still be there for you even after you've been gone for a long time.

I loved every minute of my stay until the minute when I remembered I had to go back to Hawaii, and then I started sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of a dodgeball game.  Under this attack of nostalgia I retreated to my old chapel and, too reasonable to resort to actual prayer, begged some imaginary force to not make me go back there.  I didn't remember the feeling of leaving being that terrible the first time, but then again, I didn't know what was in store for me in Hawaii the first time.  I thought that Hawaii would be a new adventure with new friends and new happy experiences.  I didn't know that even after eight months, I'd still feel alone, unwelcome, uninvited, and deeply miserable.  My only consolation is that it has been over eight months, which means there are just under four months remaining.

As I said before, the trip was too short.  There is far too much in Boston to absorb in only three days (especially when one of those days is a Sabbath).  That is why I am most grateful that, even though I don't know what the autumn holds for me, I am definitely returning to Boston for the summer.  But summer had better come quickly, because I am starting to get oh, so trunky.

*I posted this very fact on Facebook and a counselor from my Honolulu Branch Presidency "liked" it.  I strongly suspect that he thought I was talking about church in Honolulu, meaning that he didn't even realize that I was gone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Music: Valentine's Day Edition

A while ago I found this playlist online.  I can't say that I'm an expert in "Baby Making" music, but I found many of the tunes the author suggested to be quite respectable (I even own a few of them!).  Then I thought, what if I should need to make babies?  Do I have a playlist?  No, that's not what I thought, but nonetheless, I thought I would see what I could come up with from my iTunes library.  So here you are, for your Valentine's Day enjoyment, the Top Five Sexy Songs I own.

5.  "Lucky" (Bif Naked) - For goth romance.  This song was featured in Season 4 of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" when Buffy had her ill-advised liaison with Parker Abrams.*

4.  "Breathless" (Corinne Bailey Rae) - This is the "let's kick this friendship up a notch" sexy song.  Also, Corinne is just generally good for the romance.  Runner up:  "Trouble Sleeping."

3.  "How" (Regina Spektor) - Regina is the queen of the indisputably effective subtle nuance.  Take that "how" at the end of the first verse:  that is the sound of silky things falling to the floor.

2.  "Elsewhere" (Sarah McLachlan) - According to Xander Harris,** Sarah McLachlan has her own category of love.  Runner up:  "Possession (Piano Version)"...or let's face it, basically her entire "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" album.

1.  "Loving You" (Paolo Nutini) - Oh my gosh, this song (and also Paolo Nutini in general) is the epitome of sexy.  It's also quite well-versed for a song containing the lyric "Let's get down and freaky, baby."

So there you have it.  As with all of my ordered playlists, the order is disputable, of course.  Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.  And remember, when you listen to sexy music with someone, you're listening to sexy music with everyone they've listened to sexy music with.

*It's also one of the only non-orchestral single tracks used to underscore a sex scene in BtVS.  The only other time this happens is in Season 6.  I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't realize that the Great Sapphic Power Ballad, "Under Your Spell" was part of a sex scene until I was in my mid-twenties.
**Is it bad that I have two Buffy references to justify my sexy playlist?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Story of How I Am AMAZING at Shopping

I have these sandals that I wear whenever I'm not at work or whenever I have to walk long distances.  They were over a year old when I moved to Hawaii, and I've given them some serious mileage since then, so they're in pretty bad shape.  In addition, even though they are sandals and supposed to be the airiest things one can have on one's feet, they kind of make my feet stink.  Conclusion:  time for new sandals.

I went to this store at the Ala Moana Center called "Robins," which is a store for sensible shoes as well as shoes for old people.  And I found these sandals that looked amazing.  They had arch support, a shock absorber in the heel, and they looked super sturdy.  The hitch:  they were $84.99...kind of pricey for sandals.  After looking around and finding nothing else, I decided to at least try them on.

They were the absolute most comfortable things that have ever been on my feet.  Heavenly, these shoes were.  So I bought them.  They officially became the most expensive pair of shoes I've ever purchased.

After I went home, I went on the internet to find these shoes, and I found them on Amazon.  And they were totally cheaper!  The pair I bought (Oil Green) were $53.56, with no tax, and free shipping.  Also, because Amazon is amazing, I could pay with miles from my credit card, so I ended up only paying just shy of $25 for them.  Granted, I have to go back to Ala Moana Center and deal with returning the shoes, but I can totally deal with that.

So yeah, I'm patting myself on the back, because I am AMAZING at shopping.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Silver Linings

How I felt when funding got cut for my conference in D.C.


Now I can go to Boston!!!!!*
I'm so freaking excited!

*The thing that happened was that I was going to Connecticut for an interview, and I was supposed to go to D.C. immediately after on the government's dime, so I didn't book a return trip.  So now I had to book a return trip, and I figured, why not make my way up to Boston for a few days while I'm over there?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Baltimore and Me!

Here is the story of why this song has been stuck in my head for the past three days.

I went to Baltimore this week on perhaps the shortest trip of my life.  I went for a very formal interview at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at Johns Hopkins University (go ahead, be impressed).

Overall impression of the city:  very cool.  Some parts are definitely very reminiscent of Boston.  Unfortunately most of my walking-around was at night, and so I didn't get any great pictures of the parts that were particularly lovely.  There's American history aplenty there, including Fort McHenry, the site where "The Star Spangled Banner" was composed.*  Of course, there are also parts that are very sketchy, but everyone I talked to seemed to say that it was a safe place for anyone with good common sense.  Also, the shuttle driver who brought us to campus was the most excitingly friendly man ever.  He was totally like a cartoon movie bus driver or something.  The sad thing about such a short trip was that I didn't get to try as much of the delicious-looking food as I would have liked, but hopefully I'll be able to go back.

Overall impression of the school:  OH MY GOSH I WANT TO GO THERE SO BADLY!!!!!  I knew I wanted to go there pretty badly when I originally applied, but after visiting and talking with all of the faculty and students, I'm in love with the place.  There is a ton of fascinating research going on, and I know that if I went there, I'd be extremely well-prepared for a career in academia.  Also, their medical school divides its students into four colleges or "houses," and the way it was described, it sounds exactly like Hogwarts.  Additionally, everyone is super friendly, and one of the current students has an a capella group called "The Centrifugues."**  How awesome is that?

Also it's beautiful.  I didn't want to be crazy-tourist and take tons of pictures,
but this is the front of the old hospital.
Other fun things:  I got to see friends!  Laura, the Lawyer of Baltimore, and Bostonian Dave Currently in D.C. met up with me the first night I was there and we had dinner.  There was much nostalgia (brought on in part by crayon-scented cars) and reminiscing and forgetting that I wasn't in Boston and it wasn't last year.  But it was insanely fun (probably because I was exhausted and hilarious scenes from "New Girl" were referenced).

This is not what Laura's face looks like all the time.
If I were more talented, I would Photoshop myself in the middle.
Overall, it was an awesome trip (if for no other reason than I was not in Hawaii).  I think the interviews went really well.  Fingers crossed that I'll be able to say "Good Morning" to Baltimore yet again!

*Forever ingrained in my memory from first grade music class with Mrs. Thomas
**They are a branch from the Med School a capella group, "The Notochords."  Yay for nerdy music puns!