Before this weekend, I hadn't been to Boston in about two years. There's no real reason why, mostly because the majority of friends have moved away and I've moved on to discovering other cities. But when Joyce mentioned a conference she had to go to this past weekend, and suggested I and whoever else was up for it should tag along, I figured it would be a good a time as any to head back.
And so mid-afternoon on Friday, after making Joyce wait a good hour while I grabbed some last minute, just-in-case clothes (although I forgot my toothbrush, as usual) and sent some last minute, don't-want-to-look-at-my-computer-for two-days emails, we dumped our weekend bags into the trunk of her Camry and headed east on 84.
I love car rides where you're so engrossed in conversation that you forget to even turn on the radio. When you don't have to bother pressing Scan in hopes of finding a good song playing somewhere in nowhere Connecticut or settle with "Oh, this must be their version of Z100," and hear Kesha for the 8 millionth time. So thankfully, we amused ourselves with talk of weddings and residencies, future jobs and past boyfriends.
Four hours later we hit the city, taking note of BU's newest dorm, and confirming that the Student Village will, in fact, be the nicest apartment either of us ever live in. We GPS-ed our way downtown to School St., where we checked into the Omni Parker House Hotel. (We also found out it's where the Boston Cream Pie was first created! Oo, but here's the recipe!) Once we crossed Sunset Cantina off our list of dinner choices, we walked around in the not-as-cold-as-expected night, got shut out by a 2-hour wait at Toro and finally settled into a table by the bar at Masa, where tapas were $1 each.
On Saturday morning, after an ill-fated 6am wake-up call (proving that Joyce still hasn't learned that she and alarms don't get along very well, no matter the medium or size of pillow being thrown at her face), she headed to the conference while I had a Starbucks and writing session.
Later that afternoon, I met up with Azalea and her friend Alicia for the prerequisite Anna's visit (they have a new location! in (on?) Beacon Hill! with two floors!). If you went to school, lived or just visit Boston regularly, you're probably familiar with the amazing burritos at Anna's Taqueria - and if you're not, and you're planning a trip there, do yourself a favor and add it to the itinerary. And can I just recommend the $3.99 grilled vegetable burrito?
The girls went off to study while I wandered up and down Newbury St, in and out of stores, remembering when books from Urban were the ideal birthday present. Later, I made my way through the Commons (in the pic below) to meet up with Joyce, passing a saxophonist playing Disney tunes and a middle-aged couple engaged in a serious make-out session next to him.
Learning our lesson from the night before, on Saturday we actually picked a restaurant before going out. As we walked down Boylston and into Vlora, I had a feeling I had been here before, although in a completely different context. If you were in Boston circa 2002, let me ask you this: Do you remember Q Vin's? And if so, was there an elevator that took you down to the bar? Because that's what I kept imagining, or that's how my memory preserved it, like some city speakeasy where everyone sang off-key. I remember the karaoke clearly, though, even if everything else is slightly blurry. Even if it's what happened after, through a haze of cold and hands stuffed into too-small pockets that I remember much clearer.
Joyce and I ended with Finale and a late screening of Dear John, which proved that A. We're not in college anymore and B. I'm a sucker for romances. And Channing Tatum's abs.
On Sunday morning we left early with Azalea to head to Salem to meet Darius, the darling little boy that our friends Laura and Darryl just had. Tell me he's not the cutest baby ever? Those cheeks are seriously amazing.
Here's mommy and baby. Darius turned 1-month old on Sunday and we gave him three Dr. Seuss books to mark the occasion.
And Azalea with baby - so sweet. The four of us went to high school together and Laura's the first of our group of friends to have a baby.
After a pizza lunch and a four-hour car ride home, Joyce and I made one last stop to see Melissa and Cheri's new condo, which is super close and makes me quite excited for many dinner parties together.
The whole weekend was a fun realization that things have changed, but not all that much. That the same people I knew when I left for Boston are the same people that I still see in New York. That people have come and gone along the way. That that's ok. That with new babies and new condos and new experiences, the growing up part doesn't really seem so scary, afterall.