A lot of people have told me that they “love” Boston, but honestly, I do not fully understand it. I do not feel the love. While I experience the occasional gem, I often feel frustration. This city glorifies the idea of having highs and lows, but I think that one could learn a lot from living in it.
Many know that I was excited to move away from Minnesota and I have always felt that my purpose extends further than my home state. I love traveling and exploring new places. I love meeting new people. I am still excited to be here, but I really do miss home. I miss the familiarity. I miss my friends and family. I feel a strange sense of nostalgia for knowing a place, as though it is the back of my hand, even though I have been looking forward to learning about a new one. Given that I am in graduate school and have only lived here for about five weeks, I have not had that many opportunities to explore the area. I look forward to doing so as the fall season unfolds, and I hope to find some pockets of joy or solace here.
I have met a lot of amazing people so far, but I feel like they do not fully know me right now. The ways in which I connect with folks in Minnesota are so different than how I do here. I enjoy vulnerability and I want that to run deeply within all of my new friendships, but I know that all good things take time. I also know that my environment is influenced by the people whom I have around me and I want to flourish socially while I am here. I find so much beauty in the differing life experiences that my friends have, and I just hope that we all continue to root for each other throughout the next couple of years. A part of me still feels as though I am making first impressions and I want to ensure that I am making stellar ones. In graduate school, and especially in Boston, everyone is at a different stage in their life, and this can allow for some snap judgments rather than giving each person the benefit of the doubt. The transition is very different from undergrad as we do not have a welcome week or plethora of student groups, live in residence halls, or are given time to acclimate. Collectively, we are all lost over ninety percent of the time (literally and figuratively) and we just take swings with the hope that we see some home runs.
I think that the University of Minnesota, and living in the Twin Cities generally, spoiled me with the view of the Minneapolis/St. Paul skylines. One can see them from almost any location. I used to walk to class and remark at how thankful I am to see Minneapolis skyline every day. When I step outside of my Boston apartment, I do not have this same feeling. I do see a lot of babies and dogs, both of whom I love, but one has to either be intentional about seeing amazing views in Boston or spend a lot of money to live in a prime location. I have had moments that remind me of why I am here and how wonderful life is, but these moments do not happen as frequently as I would like. I would argue that this city is not super navigable or accessible for walking, driving, and taking public transportation (really just any form of movement that gets someone from point A to point B), so energy is required to view and experience the “gems” that I mentioned previously.
I have been feeling pretty ashamed of my homesickness. I am embarrassed to admit it because of the pride that I felt in starting a new chapter. I still feel proud and hopeful, but I do not thrive every day. Graduate school work is time consuming, sometimes the bus is thirty minutes late, and money is emptied from your pockets in the blink of an eye. I yearned to push myself outside of my comfort zone and I have, so I definitely do not have regrets. I just hope that, over time, I fall in love with where I am.
I do not know if Boston is the city for me, and I do think that those who do love it have only been exposed to parts of it, but it is my city for now. I am sure that my perspective will change with time, and I look forward to updating everyone as this occurs. Despite all of the confusion, I trust myself and my intuition more than anything, and this provides me with a little bit of comfort while I am discovering my place here.