The All-Nighter

 

 

A very wise guy once said to me that all my life I will collect experiences and places to revisit, and when I return, it will be like slipping on an old pair of shoes.

 

My last night in Boston after a summer that’s felt both long and much too short. In a way, it seems like I just arrived but I think about everything I’ve packed in, all the new people I’ve met and new streets I’ve explored. I can’t imagine myself without this city now. I don’t own it, of course, but the maps have been gridded into me; I know where to get a good cup of tea, how to navigate the green line trains, could find you a dark basement where you’ll hear the best poetry New England has hidden in its mouth.

 

Change has always been difficult for me. Even small switches, like last days of school or the ends of summers were enough to make me feel like I had no solid ground. I love the familiarity of adjustment; each new circumstance brings another place where I have to learn how I fit and find the good. 

 

But I’ve come to realize, the older I get, the more I do not like staying stagnant. Life can’t be. I always have to twist my own arm just a little, feel that familiar resistance to New, but I’m getting better at throwing myself into the unknown. 

 

Boston was unknown to me up until June and now my life feels a million times bigger. It’s one more spot in the world I can call home now, however short-lived. 

 

We were trying to explain to the triplets that I was going home and told them they would see me when they came to visit at Christmas. When I went to get something out of my purse, Mikie stood by the front door, still clutching some Legos, and said, “Mikie go too. Mikie go in the car.”

 

“Where do you want to go in the car?”

 

“Chis-mis,” he said.

What I’ve realized, more than anything, is that you come into people’s lives for a little while, you intersect and make each other laugh or teach each other what you know, and then you leave. But you are better for it. And it’s a good thing that I’m sad to leave; it means there’s things to miss. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, following the infinite wisdom of Grandpa, I’d like to think of Boston as an old pair of high heels, stretching beauty a little taller into the sky, points worn a little thin but full of the histories of a million people, and beginning to be filled, just a bit, with mine. 

I’ll be back, Massachusetts. And when I return, I’ll be able to spell your name without first checking google dictionary. Hopefully. 

 

 

 

the Extolled Virtues of Blonde

The morning we have dim sum in Chinatown, Chris barely eats a thing. The ladies push carts of their offerings between the tables, saying “You want? You want?” and between Chris, who wants vegetarian and nothing greasy (a hard sell in chinese food world), our friend Kelly, who wants the traditional types (chicken feet) and I ( just want a pot sticker, or a spring roll, or a chicken dish, or anything, really) we barely order a thing. Our bill is supposed to be split between the three of us, so we’re trying to find dishes that all of us will eat, but every time a cart comes up, someone vetoes. So we end up with tea made from flowers and one dish of pot stickers, and suck on chicken toes for good luck.

Needless to say, by the time we leave China Pearl, my housemate still has an empty stomach. On the way home, we decide to stop at a local Armenian market, an assaulting mix of pungent cheeses, spices and rising breads. At the counter, women in head scarves are paying for their groceries. There is a little girl near their skirts, sans scarf, no older than seven.

I squeeze past them to get to the aisles and feel a little hand grabbing my arm.

The girl touches the tips of my hair and holds on and says, “I want this hair!” She says it loudly enough to make her mother look, who tries to pull her away from me.

I laugh. “You want my hair?”

She says, loudly again, “I want to kiss you!” and she looks at me with big eyes, almost desperation – or maybe I imagine it.

When I bend down, she reaches up to kiss me on the cheek and then her mother is pulling her away. My heart broke a tiny bit, for this young girl with beautiful black frizzy curls, because I wanted her to just love herself and realize that blonde hair is not the definition of beauty, not by a long shot. It might be in some cultural textbooks but I think of the larger mess, of how to some extent, we all want to be what we’re not.

This is not a new revelation. White people spend all their time in tanning beds and on beaches and dabbling with creams to make themselves darker, while there’s skin lightener for people with darker skin. Blondes want to be brown and green ones want blue and vice versa, fine hair wants curly and curly straightens the waves away. We all covet what we don’t have precisely because we do not have it. We think what we are born with simply won’t do.

And here I am in a grocery store, being kissed just for having blonde hair, when all morning I was hoping my strands would be further lightened by the sun.  I have struggled as far back as I can remember to accept my face and my body for what it is. Since I was thirteen, I’ve been looking everywhere but myself for beauty, seeing my body as a canvas to be worked on, something to be straightened and creamed and eyelinered and shrunk. It makes me sad just thinking about it and yet, the cycle seems almost impossible to break.

As I’ve grown up, I think I’ve gotten better at being kinder to myself, but I also think sometimes my criticism has just taken on new form. Instead of wanting to be acceptable to the demographics of high school pretty, now I want to be unique and individualized as a little bit of everything. I want to be artsy, because I want to be a writer but I can not pull off horn-rimmed glasses or flashy colors in my hair, I want to be cultured and earthy, I want to be city slicka classy, and all these pieces make me feel like I’ve failed somehow.

There is so much inspiration in the world, so much to compare and conform to. There are so many facets of myself and I do not know how to pull them together. I fear what I will become if I stop worrying about self-improvement, because then where will that leave me? Won’t I turn into a big mess? How to break a thought pattern you’ve had since middle school?

Yet I think so many girls walk around this way, coveting someone else’s cheekbones or eyelashes and finding only fault when they look in the mirror. The feeling has been strong enough sometimes to make me want to stay in bed. I think we all have one Thing that we wish we could switch.

I wish that we could all just love ourselves, fully, completely, to crave our own appearances a bit selfishly, and to realize that whatever we’re made of, whatever we see in the mirror, is not just okay but it’s real and beautiful, even the imperfections, and exactly what we’re meant to be.

Easier said then done.

But as soon as that little girl was pulled away by her mother, I immediately wished I had not just laughed. What I should have told her was that she had beautiful hair. She didn’t want mine.

And I should also remind myself. Daily I am assaulted by women on the street I wish to copy into my mirrors.That girl on the train with the long long shiny hair and gorgeous freckles, the rows of be-speckled, sheared poets with their hair in delicate knots and inked arms. But I don’t need to be like them.

Take me back to a night when I sat on the bed with a friend and we were both crying about the ways we thought we didn’t measure up, and she looked at me fiercely and said, “Kate. You don’t need anything. You, just how you are, is your prettiest.”

Amen, sister. The message to all the girls in my life tonight, and beyond: We have what we’ve got. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Ivy League v. Me

Go goshen goooooooo

I ate lunch with another Beacon intern in Boston Common, a cool relief of a day after a string of afternoons that made even me sweat my clothes to soaking (which is saying something – I am oddly sweat-proof minus working out). We sat on a shaded beach with stuffed pitas near the duck pond, listening to little kids scream themselves hoarse and the slapping flip flops of all the tourists. My lunch container had suctioned itself closed and after ten minutes of trying to get it open and breaking all my nails in the process, a nice man came over, said, “I can’t take it anymore,” and popped that sucker off.

The intern, who is one year older than moi, studies English at Harvard. We began to talk about college, the perks, the bathroom-sharing, the merits and hardships of being busy. We established that our experiences were polar opposites; I am at a tiny liberal arts college in the midwest, holding community over prestigious, while Alice goes to an ivy league so legendary it’s practically taboo to associate yourself personally with its fine lines.

Yet Boston is Harvard ground, and half the people who go to my little Mennonite church are past or present Harvard students or professors or honorary scholars. My downstairs neighbor, Lin, does his work in the collections library. Our pastoral interns are students are Harvard Divinity School. I have sometimes felt a bit inadequate, letting my school roll off my tongue with a soft deflect, wishing (and then being annoyed that I cared) I went somewhere more well-known, to a place that carried some weight.

But the trajectory of the Harvard student, Alice informed me, was this: When you arrive, you are amazed, if a bit overwhelmed. At the end of the first year, you realize you better make some friends. Everyone’s been so busy trying to prove themselves worthy of the university, running themselves ragged with extracurriculars and attempting to outdo each other, make something of themselves, that no one’s really bothered to form the kind of lasting friendship most people associate with college. So you join some extracurriculars too, in an attempt to carve a social circle, until you realize that the activities are more work and less play. By year number three, you think it sucks. At four, you only have a year left and get all nostalgic and Harvard hosts all these events to make you realize you might miss your four years.

Granted, this is one person’s experience. Alice said she is sure there are probably people who would say to her, “You’re crazy. Harvard’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” I am not knocking Harvard. Hell, if they accepted me and gave me some financial aid, I’d be through the gate in a second. But for all intents and purposes, it sounds like building community isn’t always the number one priority for some people. Yes, friendships are formed, but more often over studying than anything else. Perhaps. I’ve never had a first-hand look, so I cannot say for sure.

But Alice made me realize, all over again (yes, repeating myself, just read the GC Bulletin) that I wouldn’t trade Goshen College for all the Ivy League letters in the country. So what if people stare at me blankly when I say where I’m getting my degree? There is something beautiful about going to a place that feels like a well-kept secret, an underground oasis.

After almost a summer away from campus, though I was under a tree in one of the most historic parks, in a city that beats brighter for me every day, I felt so nostalgic for the shade-flooded paths and full dorms of what I now call home. And for the girls who’ve been flung to different countries to let their tongues grasp foreign letters, the girls I’ve been apart from since before May term began. I packed up my lunch and wanted nothing more than to be sitting by a fountain with the best friends I love, distilling all the crazy moments of the months apart.

Suck it, Harvard. You may sound cool, you may look stellar on a diploma, but I feel luckier. I bet you’ve never skipped your homework and tumbled into bed for full-body massages with Bridesmaids turned all the way up. GC got it goin’ on.

3 Moments of the Short, Bizarre, Funny, or Mundane (But all True) Variety

STORYTIME! I don’t care to elaborate more than that.

1. Mom and Pops can to visit and it was — how shall I put this — a glorious reunion. We made like Henry David Thoreau and swam in our clothes in Walden Pond before the sun went down. We were going to eat our selection of European cheeses on a waterlogged rock but the mosquitos decided to eat us first. So we had cheese while watching Harry Potter instead. Not a bad alternative.

2. As to be expected when you are sitting on top of three other strangers, the T makes for some awkward moments. I lost my contact case and carried my contacts all the way home from work in a plastic cup. People are apparently very curious about what a girl is doing with a carefully-held open juice cup. And mystified when it appear empty. Other T pleasures include being sprayed with corn cob juice that the lady next to me was eating for her eight a.m. breakfast (okay, not judging you, but most people have cereal) and hearing the most heartbreakingly bad rendition of Row Row Row Your Boat from a man who was looking for change. He never got to the your boat part. He just sang the word row.

3. I forgot to watch my mouth around the two-year-old copycat. Mikie, Eli and I were sitting on the couch after their nap, deciding what to watch. They both had crazy fo-hawk sleep hair. Our conversation went something like this.

Me: How about Thomas?

Mikie: No.

Me: How about Calliou?

Mikie: No! (laughs)

Me: How about Barney?

Just like that, Mikie completely lost it. 

Me: Oh-kay, oh–kay! Don’t worry, we won’t put Barney on.

Eli immediately picked up on my annoyed inflection with the okay, the kind with pauses in the middle. He began to say, over and over, in perfect imitation, what I had just said to Mikie.

“Oh-kay, oh-kay! Oh-kay, oh-kay! Oh-kay!”

Seriously, the kid went on forever. I died laughing. Then we watched some good old Frosty the Snowman. 

 

That Four-Letter Word (dedicated to the Babes I miss)

It is now time to turn to a subject often discussed between my besties but largely silenced in most normal conversation: poop.

I think most people would be shocked to realize just how much two year olds and cats do it. I didn’t envision my summer as the caterer to other kiddies’ (and kitties’) bathroom messes but I have become a human roll of toilet paper. The cats just go in a box. The triplets, however, are a little trickier. Let me share just a few instances.

(As I write this, I am drinking hot chocolate. How appropriate.)

First of all, it is such a ridiculous little kid privilege that you can go to the bathroom WHILE PLAYING (or watching Sesame Street, or eating humus sandwiches, or riding in the car) and then you don’t even have to do the dirty work for your own mess. Completely unfair, if you ask me. Why can’t we all just wear diapers? It would be a million times more convenient.

Well – once you’ve changed one number-two diaper, you understand why our civilization was smart enough to teach children how to dig a hole. It’s not that I mind changing diapers so much as it is that the shit goes…everywhere. How, I do not know. But when I finally get whichever squirming triplet needs a change down on the floor, there is stuff in places that stuff should not belong. Mikie had some surprises on his FOOT the other day.

I will stop being so graphic and move onto Annie, the cutest little banana on the planet. She has the kind of fine hair perfect for pigtails, huge blue green eyes with Snuffleupagus lashes and baby teeth have filled in her ready smile so that when she grins at you, you pretty much want to give her whatever she’s asking for. Annie is the only girl, which has turned her into a drama queen. She likes to be the boss of her brothers and knows she can get away with things – while still being utterly precious at the same time. She also, for some bizarre reason, has yet to learn that her bathroom products are yuck.

Yes. For all her adorable quirkiness, Annie is also fascinated with her own poop.

To the point that when I lay her down and finally get her to stop squirming (who has time for the frivolity of a clean diaper when you could be drawing chalk on the walls?!) she will actually try to scoop her hand in the mess of her Huggie unless I seal it up IMMEDIATELY.

Holy cuteness. Mikie, you are going to be a lady’s man for sure.

 

One morning, we were eating jelly Munckins and building Lego tunnels (Correction: I was building tunnels and they were amusing themselves by sitting on the doughnuts and watching the jelly squirt onto the rug) when Annie stood up and announced: “I have to go.”

This was a Big! Moment! There is a line-up of frog potties in the bathroom but they have yet to be used on a routine basis.

“Okay, Annie Banannie,” I said. “Let’s hustle.” So she took my hand and scooted down the stairs all by herself, thank you very much, and when I shut the two of us into the bathroom (the boys wanted to watch and began to cry outside the door due to missing the show) she promptly pulled her pants down all by herself.

When the pants came down, a giant turd fell out too. Thisclose, babe.

“That’s okay!” I said. “Good try. Do you want to sit for a minute and see if you have to go?”

“Yeah!” she said emphatically. Then, “Oooooh.” A little hand stretching down to the floor to grab —

“ANNIE! That stuff is gross. Do NOT touch that.”

She just laughed at me. “Ew, gross!”

And went right on with her pinching crab claw.

Luckily the diaper fillers are so cute, I can forgive them anything. When they greet me at the door screeching, “Kate got off the train!” I want to stay and watch them grow up. I just wish they went a little less than seven times a day. Let me remind you, that’s seven times three.

Dear all (especially Mom),

Apologies for the freakishly long time between updates. Once life becomes a routine, a clear-cut schedule with a lot of the same daily occurrences, it’s harder to remember to dispel my ordinary qualms onto the internet. For instance, at this moment, I am simultaneously doing laundry in the ancient washer and cooking orange lentils and rice. Holly is waiting for her belly to be scratched. I watered the garden and flowers for Chris before it got dark. Pretty ordinary night.

Of course, it is Boston, so there are little moments every day that make me catch my breath just a little at the fact that I am actually a semi-permanent resident. Like going to the Institute of Contemporary Art museum for free Thursday (it’s fo free!) and walking around in air that smelled like sea salt, fried fish and diesel fluid near the Wharf. Like the invention of food trucks (it’s in the name) carrying Frozen Hoagies (4 giant scoops of black raspberry ice cream between two giant chocolate cookies, etc. – we won’t talk about the fact that it was 100 degrees outside and half of my hoagie was eaten by the sidewalk) or the very best Andes mint chocolate cupcake I have ever eaten. Like taking my Beacon lunch break near the duck pond and weeping willows in the gorgeous Public Garden or going to Cantab Lounge for city-wide poetry slams to remind me why I can’t get enough words. Like being able to take a 15-minute train ride and get dumped right at the edge of a sandy beach and Atlantic coast with a million other sunbathers.

As far as routine goes, there is something nice about the settling in almost completely. I love sitting in on morning meetings at Beacon where we predict the future of books and then holing up in my office to read manuscripts that won’t come out for two years. Another plus: they are going to saddle me with enough free books to last for the rest of college.

I love the early train ride to the triples house in Haverhill and playing the punching bag to two and a half year olds all day. I forgot how much I love the immediateness of little kids; they aren’t going to trick you by checking their social awareness – if they’re need something they cry, if they love you, you are clobbered with undying affection, without the giver worrying whether they’ll get it back, they want to be picked UP all the time and if they have to poop, they can do it WHILE PLAYING. So jealous.

Highlight of the week: The triplets sleep in little tents that fit on top of the their beds and somehow, mid-nap, Annie wound up  falling upside down off the bed while still inside her tent. After I got her out and calmed her down, she went around for the next hour saying, “I fall. Kate rescued me.” She’s so cute, I just want to eat her up.

That about sums up my life to date. So if I am lacking in the informed department, it is only because I am off having an adventure and not starring at my computer screen. But that doesn’t mean I’m not missing you (MOM!)

One last side-note:  Side trips  are a plus. Last weekend Chris and I drove down to Glouchester and Rockport to look at sea towns. Lots of sherbet colored cottages with million dollar views and hiking trails.

I Took My Contacts out on the Subway

Manuscripts and Other Ventures

I have deemed Mondays my exploration days, as they are the one time a week when I am not working with books or kids. So after a lovely afternoon of self-touring the Back Bay – walking through the Public Gardens, Commonwealth Avenue and the Esplanade, seeing Julia Child’s favorite market and a million ancient churches, browsing ridiculously expensive stores on Bolyston and Newbery Streets, being quiet in Boston Public Library – all topped off by chocolate-covered blueberries and a salted carmel pretzel cupcake, I am all refreshed and set to put my high heels back on for Beacon tomorrow.

Speaking of! 

Oh yes, that little job I have. Essentially the entire reason I moved to this place. 

Beacon Press is small: small staff, small (historic and beautiful) building on Beacon Hill, small publishing docket. But what they do, they do so precisely and with such care that I am so honored to be working for them. They are one of the most respected publishers, and for a reason: they don’t mass-publish and they don’t publish just to make money — their books really have value and most of them have to fit the bill of somehow swaying social change. 

Upon arriving in my fancy little work clothes, I met up with my supervisor Rachael, one of the main editorial assistants, and realized I might be a tad overdressed. Another plus on my list: Beacon is professional but relaxed at the same time. Rachael said to me, “Wow, you look REALLY nice” and then I noticed her sweater and sandals and decided I would have to rethink my work wardrobe…which is kind of hard to do when all the clothes you brought have been carefully tiered to fit an extra classy work environment.

Over the course of two days, in my own intern office (yay!), I read through the slush pile (the build-up of unsolicited manuscripts, all the glory saved for the interns), learned to write rejection letters, wrote the back of a book jacket, helped make edits to a book-in-progress, and began reading a manuscript along with the main editors that will be published next fall. Basically, lots of variety!

Rachael, who is in her late twenties with gorgeous crazy black curls, is GREAT. She is hilarious and personable and soooo smart, and I can’t wait to absorb whatever she wants to show me. :) On Thursday she took me down to the mailroom, where they keep all the books, and said, “Take whatever you want.” Free books to read? I’m sold.

The other time occupier concerns the well-being of precious two and a half year old triplets.

Annie, Mikie and Eli are kids whose family is connected to my church back home. Two days a week, I get paid to take the commuter rail to Haverhill, MA and play whatever games they conjure up. I have fallen in love with them! 

I also feel really blessed to have a job, let alone two, after this weekend. Chris and I handed out sandwiches in Harvard Square with the Mennonite Church of Boston. A few times a year, they slap together a lot of bread and buy water and juice and sometimes socks, which they hand out to homeless people around the Squares.

It was my first time witnessing poverty so up close. The more we walked around with our big coolers, the more people came out. I started noticing people everywhere — it’s not just the ones shaking cups. Often they blend in. A lot of homeless people were playing chess or knitting at outdoor tables. The giveaway is often sleeping bags or just a lot of stuff — things you wouldn’t normally find on the street — that show that bench is where they live. 

So many people asked for socks. That’s something I’d never think of desperately needing, but I guess if you’re going weeks without changing your socks, it gets pretty gross. One man told me I had beautiful eyes. One guy offered to sell us crack. We said, we’re good, thanks. He said, well if you change your mind, I can hook you up. I’m here every day. One couple had a baby.

It got me thinking about how, so often, we go through the every day motions and start to ignore the people shaking change at you or playing music on the subway, because it’s easier that way. And often, there really isn’t much we can do on a daily basis. We can’t give a dollar to every person who asks for it. Yet this experience showed me that it’s so much more valuable to give time, to make it personal. To hand someone a sandwich and a drink and ask them about their day — I felt like I was doing a tiny something.

Didn’t mean to turn this into a lecture… Bedtime!

 

Permanent Tourist

In the span of five days, I moved to a big city, met my housemate (and her pet children), got lost on purpose, got lost not on purpose, won a one-hour massage, found a job, spent hours on Google maps, attempted to grocery shop and cook for one person, spent a ridiculous amount of money on toiletries, been drenched, rode the train sixty times, wished for a coat forty times in this unnaturally cold weather (umm, Boston, it’s summer) and ironed more linen clothing than I ever have in my life.

Despite the general craziness of adjustment, I can safely say that I am having a love affair with the Baw-ston Mass, weather and all.

(Though I did break down and buy the first umbrella I could get my hands on after hours of trying to endure a self-guided tour without one. Why I had to pick an expensive shop to duck into I’ll never know.)

I love that I get to not only explore but also unravel my time long enough to feel like I might actually get the hang of being here. In some senses, I already feel less like a tourist and more like a permanent resident.

The city is historic and gritty and beautiful, all at once. It is broken down into fragmented compartments so that you can pick a day, pick a train, get off and explore somewhere completely new and enclosed in its own personality; the Back Bay, the North End, Harvard Square, Central Square, Beacon Hill. There are so many narrow streets I want to go down and green spaces I want to read in. I need to try seafood and authentic Boston cream pie and baked beans.

Beacon Hill, the area where I’ll be working, was my favorite so far.

 

I realized today, as I took the Orange Line home, watching a swollen river and the concrete unfurl outside the window, how fun it is to do normal, everyday things in a place where you still want to take your camera out every five seconds; that bizarre crossing of adaptation and thrill. Like walking through red-bricked Harvard and then going to buy bananas at the grocery store.

Time to straighten my hurr for my first day at Beacon Press tomorrow – ah!

Slugs, etc.

 

Day number two and the rain has been spitting since I woke up. Chris took me to Bostonorganics’ tenth anniversary festival; essentially a warehouse full of fresh food, free farming magazines and a lot of earthy people. I loved it! We ate veggie kabobs and beer bread and chile chocolate and homemade chips and salsa and feta made with cow’s milk, and I swear everyone had a beard (all the guys, obviously).

Then we went downtown to the North End, otherwise known as (but never called) Little Italy. So many bakeries, Italian restaurants and pasta shops. All the streets were brick and cramped but luckily, in Boston, pedestrians usually have the right of way. I have been surprised how easy it is to get around the city; a T train or bus runs every ten minutes from pretty much anywhere.

A few blocks from Italia and we were at Old North Church, right near Paul Reverie’s (yes – the midnight ride guy) house. The church is the oldest in the city and in the 1800s, the pews were separated into boxes for each family, totally enclosed in walls that went up to the chest so that heat from coal boxes would stay in. Once a family bought a box, they could dec it out any way they wanted. There was one lined in velvet with footstools. Classy church.

Now I am here, listening to cat purrs and the outside still dripping. Apricot doesn’t like me yet but I’ll wear him down. It’s nice to have these first few days to settle in but I’ll be ready to start at Beacon Press on Wednesday. And I STILL NEED to find a paying job.

I scared a slug back into his shell on my porch. See below.

Cats Sound Like Human Babies

I am looking out a third-story window of my newest bedroom in Boston. Malden, a suburb of Boston, to be precise. The T line trains are humming by. Apricot the cat (pronounced Ah-pricot not A-pricot and of course he is perfectly orange) is curled up on the floor and licking my washcloth to death. And I am in disbelief that after what feels like an eternity of packing and planning, I have finally landed my heels in the great state of Massachusetts for three whole months!

This is my half-fledged attempt to record the summer as it happens, good and bad.

Here are some things one experiences on arrival in Boston:

It takes you two hours to transport yourself and luggage equal to your weight from the airport to the Orange Line to the end of the Blue Line, cherry on top being a mile-long walk to the apartment. En route, the entire bottom of your shoe falls off and a metal rod that was somehow key to its design keeps getting stuck in the sidewalk cracks.

A little boy overheard at the grocery store: “Ma. I want some crackas for the Bah bah q.”

Mr. Apricot and Miss Holly Cat are Chris’ cats and they eat on the dining room table and have fancy litter boxes on either side of the toilet. There are more scratching posts in the apartment than there are chairs.

When the cats get bored, they sound like babies crying. No joke.

When you take a flight on no sleep and sit next to a professional German soccer player who tells you Boston is the greatest place in the world, you know it’s going to be one heck of a summer.

Hasta la vista, day one.

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