Stars and City Lights

A year ago when I committed to Emerson, I was excited for the prospect of living in the center of a bustling city. Though not as extravagant and flashy as New York, Boston is radically different from the square suburban neighborhood I call home and even more radically different from the podunk  little rural town (not even big enough for stop lights) where my high school is located. In Boston, I was right next to the Theatre District and Chinatown. I lived only five minutes away from the finest shopping on Newbury St. (Boston’s own version of Rodeo Drive), a fifteen minutes from Little Italy and everything else the city has to offer was mostly accessible by the T. So much to see, so much to do, so much to eat! As excited as I am to be home, all that activity is something I truly miss. At the same time, there’s a lot about home that’s worth missing too, things I only stared to recognize recently.

Last night, Tall Dark and Handsome (who for some reason takes pride in calling himself my boyfriend and is at least two out of the three adjectives used in his blog nickname ;] ) made a little bonfire for the two of us and we roasted marshmallows in his backyard. Yes, it was pretty damn adorable. But girly feelings aside, I thought about how impossible that would be to do in the city. And then there were the stars–so many of them, visible even on a cloudy night. Tall Dark and Handsome made a point of talking crap about my dear Boston because you really can’t even see one star on the clearest of nights. Then there’s the constant noise, which can sometimes be exhilarating, but not at three in the morning when the bars and clubs let out all the belligerent, drunk people or when construction crews start up their jackhammers (I’m only slightly exaggerating). Then there’s also the fact that a city is very vertical–elevators are entirely unavoidable and when the days get shorter in the winter, tall buildings block out the last scraps of sunlight, meaning it’s pitch black by four in the afternoon. All that compared to the relaxing past few days I’ve had in my little suburban, near rural corner of the world makes city living seem very unappealing.

But at the same time, these long, relaxing sunny days have been a bit stifling. When you’re surrounded by neighborhoods with houses that have only two or three variations in architecture and chain restaurants serving crappy mock-Italian fare, it’s hard to feel original or to facilitate any creativity. There isn’t anywhere to escape from the mundanity. Today I tried to find myself a quint coffee shop that wasn’t the typical Starbucks (it’s officially my new summer goal) to write this blog post. I ended up in a Starbucks. One that isn’t very cozy either. So yes, maybe Boston is loud and lacking a little in natural beauty like Tall Dark and Handsome says, but there certainly isn’t a lack of culture or of creativity or of originality. I may not be able to start a bonfire in the Common (now wouldn’t that be fun!), but I can walk down Newbury to find a new coffee shop or obscure art gallery and I can feel like a part of a city that exudes life. I stand by the fact that the suburbs can’t do that for anyone and no matter how hard he tries, Tall Dark and Handsome will not convince me otherwise. Yeah, I’m a stubborn girlfriend.

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