Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy approaches the Northeastern United States we are bracing in anticipation. Boston schools have already announced closures, New York City has shut down their subway system, and most importantly I don’t have to go into work tomorrow. The grocery store in my neighborhood was quickly selling their inventory of bottled water and traffic in town was backed up as people made their final moves before the storm hits. I too joined in on the madness by buying some groceries and making sure to get a bit of water in case we really are without power/water for a bit. I’m hoping the storm is enough to keep me at home, but will still allow for me to use my electronics.

This is the first time I’ve been a part of something like this, and the city’s reaction has been interesting to watch. I’ve seen similar situations arise as a result of impending blizzards while living in Minnesota, but nothing quite like this. This storm effects the entire East Coast of the country. Every city and state on the coast is preparing for the storm to hit in their own way. I can only hope that the state of Massachusetts has a good plan in place.

I will try to get some photos and keep up to date if possible. If I’m without power I’ll be back to summarize once the storm has lifted.

Know Your City

I’ve been living in the Boston area for almost 6 months now, and have started to really develop a sense of the city, its neighborhoods and the surrounding towns.  Each bit has a different feeling. Each section has its own personality.

North End: Little Italy

Beacon Hill: Historic

Back Bay: High end

Southie: Townies

Cambridge: Hipster’s paradise

Just to name a few. By spending some time walking through the city I have begun to develop a better sense of these things. Each is wonderful in its own way, and each contributes to making Boston such a complex and fascinating place to call home. When I first landed I wasn’t sure what I would make this place; now it’s become a true home to me.  Sure there are things I don’t like about it. The city and state are so much different than the area from which I last lived, but I believe that has made this transition that much more fun.

This will remain a very short post, but I will use it as a way to encourage everyone to get to know their city. Explore a little. Take your time and notice the things that make a place truly special.

The weather has continued to be amazing over the last week for the most part.  Sunny skies, warm temperatures and the inevitable humidity seem to signal that summer has officially began in New England.  Today is no exception to this phenomenal weather and people are taking full advantage of their day off.  Since I woke up this morning the path along the river has been filled with runners, walkers and bikers.  Beyond the path out my window I can see that the Charles River is littered with small sailboats.  Kayaks and motorboats snake their way between all of the sailors drifting with the breeze – such a beautiful scene.

 

After I woke up, I did some laundry (much needed) before grabbing my camera and heading out on my bike.  I decided to explore some new territory today.  I mapped out a course and made my way over to Fenway Park.  There just so happened to be a game going on while I was there, so I was unable to go all the way around, but I did snap a couple quick photos.  Is there a better way to spend Memorial Day than enjoying America’s pastime at one of the best ballparks in the country.  Continuing on the Memorial Day theme- a huge thank you to all those who have served in our Armed Forces past, present and future.

Such a great park.  I’ve been lucky enough to experience one game at Fenway already.  As someone who played baseball for about 15 years it was an awesome experience.  I can’t wait to go back for another game!

Weather

The weather has been really great over the last two weeks in the Boston area.  There have been a few rainy days, but even on those days temperatures have warm enough to be outside.  This awesome weather has allowed me to do a bit of exploring in Cambridge and Boston.  I have walked and biked quite a bit in Cambridge and I have even biked into the big city a few times for some excitement.  Also, there is a T (subway) stop very near to my apartment building which has allowed me to get into Boston a few more times.  In all, I’ve probably made about 6 trips into Boston to look around and do some shopping.  The city is a beautiful mix of old and new – you can see why it’s considered to be America’s most European city by many. Speaking of European, I may try to take a quick trip to the Beacon Hill neighborhood today.  Beacon Hill has a very high concentration of Italian-American citizens.  Last time I was there I could hear the older generations speaking Italian on the street corners or in front of their favorite cafes.

I’ve been able to snap a few pictures on some of my small adventures.  Here are some of those…

Hopefully I’ll get some more photos to share in the near future.

Biking

In the last couple days I have spent a fair amount of time on my bike.  Whether going grocery shopping, stopping at the bank or just cruising for fun I have enjoyed biking around. The city of Cambridge is very bikeable; there are bike lanes on almost every street.  Riding here is quite a bit different than back in Minnesota.  In Minnesota I had a beautiful trail without much traffic, and this also meant I never had to contend with cars for road space.  It is much different here, but I have begun to adapt.  I have even gotten the courage to ride across the bridge and into Boston a couple of times.  This was an adventure and a great learning experience.  You have to be confident and think quickly to survive the street of Boston on bicycle.  Beyond a couple of quick trips into Boston I have mostly stayed on the trail near my apartment which runs alongside the Charles River.  It is a great place to ride and the Boston skyline always make for nice scenery.

Taken from the bike path near my apartment.

Besides biking I have been keeping myself busy by running errands.  I also got to meet up with a friend for dinner a couple of nights ago which was great.  The meal was wonderful, but the company was even better.  Last night I met up with another friend of mine for a couple drinks at a small place in Harvard Square.  We sat and chatted in the busy pub/bar and enjoyed a couple of pints of hard cider and some chips and salsa.  It gave me my first real taste of the social life here in Cambridge.  I also had a moment of “so this is what city life is like,” when I came home on the T.  The station was quite crowded being that it was nearly 10:00PM and there was a man playing his keyboard and singing.  A couple was dancing (I’m assuming the were under the influence) in front of him and the rest of us waited patiently for the train to show up.  I jumped on for the quick journey back to my neighborhood and walked home from there.  It’s the little things about living in a new city that seem to catch me and make me smile.

Tomorrow I will begin my new job and I am very excited about it.  Not only am I excited to have something to keep me busy, but also to meet some new people.  My boss has assured me that the company is filled with great young people and I can’t wait to get involved.  Wish me luck in my new position.  All for now, cheers!

Made it

I’ve finally arrived in Cambridge.  I flew out of my hometown yesterday, had a brief layover in Minneapolis, and landed in Boston at about 7:00PM local time.  I got a cab from the airport to my new apartment and was met by my new roommate.  I got a quick tour of the apartment and then unpacked my things.  I was a bet concerned about my belongings since the outside of my bags was wet from some rain in Minneapolis.  While unpacking I also called my girlfriend to assure her I had arrived safely and have a brief conversation.  I then called my parents to chat with them as well.  After unpacking I got to know my roommate a bit and then decided to head to bed.

I did have a “what am I doing” moment last night while hanging out with my roommate, her brother and his girlfriend.  They are from upstate New York, but all live in the Boston area.  I felt a bit out of place with them, but haven’t let it bother me.  We have just led very different lives and it shows a bit.  I expected that I would be out of place here, but I have accepted it.  I also think that once my friends who live here (who are out of town at the moment) return I will begin to really enjoy my time here.

I slept in this morning and felt rested when I got up.  I then made some plans for the day and began by walking to the nearest grocery store.  I did my shopping and returned home before going for another walk to take some pictures.  Cambridge is a very nice city and the views of Boston from across the Charles River are gorgeous.

This is the view from just in front of my building.

I then made some plans to go look at a used bike in order to get around a bit easier.  I liked the bike and bought it on the spot.  I now just need to get it tuned up a bit to be ready for commuting and trail riding.

Tomorrow I plan to take my bike to the bike shop that is right down the street and then do some other shopping.  I need a few basics yet and I also need to swing into a bank to start a local checking account.

That’s all for now, just going to hang out and watch NHL Playoffs tonight.  Cheers!

Today was just another day.  I went to work, came home and took a couple of final tests online.  It was a very uninspired day, but tomorrow is a completely different ballgame.  Tomorrow marks the end of my college career.  It will be my last day at my on-campus job which I have been at for nearly two years.  Having this job was a great experience for me.  Not only did it allow me to have a convenient office job which allowed me to get some homework done, but I also met some great people and became more aware of events at the university.  I will also be taking my final, final test tomorrow.  Very exciting.  From there on out everything will get very interesting and go very quickly.  I will be packing and cleaning nearly all day on Thursday in preparation for my big move.  Friday is commencement and I will finally receive the degree I’ve been working toward for so long.  Saturday will be a bittersweet day.  I am so excited to start my job and experience life in a completely new place.  This, however, comes with a bit of negativity.  I will be leaving my girlfriend and family back in Minnesota for the time being.  Luckily for me, my girlfriend will be joining me for the summer.  I am completely in love with her and feel a bit lost when she’s not around, so I’ll have to get used to being alone for a bit.  Also, I’ll be leaving behind many good friends.  I’ll keep in touch as best I can, but with all the new things coming my way I know it’s unrealistic to think that I’ll be speaking with them a lot.

When I arrive in Boston I will be alone to begin with.  I will probably be catching a cab to my new apartment as my friends who live in the area will be out of town and thus unable to pick me up.  I will then meet my new roommate for the summer and start a five day stretch in which I will be trying to get a lot accomplished before beginning work.  Oddly enough I will begin working on Friday as my boss will be out of town until then.  So during my days off I plan to get a lot done; I need to get unpacked, organize, buy some things, open a bank account, and quite a bit more.  At least this will keep me busy.

Like I said, I am very excited to start working.  I know that may seem a bit odd, but I was able to visit the office on my spring break trip to Boston and was very impressed.  Everyone was nice and very welcoming, but most importantly everybody I spoke with loved their job.  I will be working with a couple people I know, one I know very well and the other is an acquaintance.  I do think that this will make it a bit easier for me to begin with.  I am so blessed to have found a place with a young, exciting company that is full of great and energetic people.

All for now, off to do a bit more studying before going to bed.  Cheers!

Adjust

In under a week I will be living in a new city in a new state.  This has me thinking, how will I adjust to my new surroundings?  As I metioned in an early post, I don’t plan to immediately make changes to my personality to fit in.  I will, however, need to adapt to my new way of life.  For example I will no longer have a vehicle at my disposal whenver I need it.  I will have to use a combination of walking, biking and public transport to get around.

As I have been thinking about it I ran a quick search and found a short post from somebody who has done it.  He emphasizes trying new things and allowing yourself some time to adjust.  I like the post because it is a real-world example and simplifies problems with relocation.

I’ve got to keep it really short today…it’s finals week!!!

Change in Plans

I was informed of a slight change in plans today by my soon-to-be boss.  He called today to inform me that my start date will be pushed back a few days – from a Monday to Friday.  At first I was slightly worried, but after a few moments on the phone with him I decided that this could be a great thing for me. 

I will be arriving at the Boston airport on Saturday evening, and will need to find my way to my apartment on my own.  I will then have time to unpack and get some rest after a day of traveling.  I plan to do some exploring and shopping on Sunday because I will need to buy some groceries and a few basic things.  I’m sure I will have my few belongings in my apartment organized by the end of Sunday and will get to relax a bit.  Monday through Thursday will probably be spent hanging out at the apartment as well as some exploring in my neighborhood.  I also have a few more things on my list to purchase, and this will give me plenty of time.

I see this slight change in plans as a great opportunity for me to unwind after 5 years of college, and to prepare myself to enter the workforce.  I am incredibly lucky to have found a job with an up and coming company full of young energetic people to work with, and I can’t wait to start…but those few days will be really helpful in allowing me to settle in.

I also wanted to mention in this post that I am considering doing a bit of filming throughout my transition and incorporating that into my blog posts.  I would mostly be short videos from around Boston/Cambridge and possibly some short video diaries.  I would also be willing to take requests of places people want to see and film a short segment to share – if time allows.  Would that be of interest to anyone?

Thanks for reading, cheers!

Yesterday

It is quite cliche, but I’ll say it anyway; it feels like only yesterday that I began my college career.  Now I am about an hour away from my final class period.  I’ve been to two different schools (three if you count my study abroad), met so many people and seen so many things.  I’ve had an incredible experience and enjoyed my time as a student.  It’s hard to believe that it is coming to an end, but I think I am ready to take that next step.

Over the past five years I have learned that college is about much more than classes, homework and tests.  College is about the things you learn outside of the classroom as well, the people you meet, the relationships you create, the stories you will never forget (whether you want to or not) and so much more.

To anybody out there who is contemplating continuing their education, I would strongly recommend it.  You will not only improve your education, but impove yourself as a person.  This is not to say those who haven’t attended college aren’t great people, but they will not be exposed to such incredible diversity as is seen on college campuses.  There may be different paths to take, but for my money (literally) college is the best way to go.  What a great way to spend four years – or five in my case.

Only five tests stand between me and the degree I have been working so hard to achieve.  Once I have that weapon in my arsenal I feel as though the sky is the limit.  Also, I am one of what seem to be the lucky few graduating with a entry-level career waiting for me.  Hopefully those of you reading this have similar thoughts on the college experience.

Off to campus for my final class session…ever…maybe…grad school?