The first time I ended up in Boston it was because of a breakup. The second time was to plan a future.
To be clear, the breakup wasn’t mine. A college friend of mine moved in with her boyfriend in June. In August the relationship was over. On a Saturday morning, my phone rang and it was my friend, in tears, looking for a roommate and wondering if I would be willing to move to Boston. I grew up outside of New York City, I lived and breathed New York. I counted the days until I could graduate from college, get a job, and live in Manhattan. My parents on the other hand wanted me out of NY, to live somewhere else. “The city will burn you out,” they would say. So my mother saw this breakup as an opportunity for me to experience life in Boston. Four hours later I was on a train speeding up the Northeast Corridor on my way to find an apartment with my new roommate.
My first apartment was in Brighton. I hated it. I went back to New York often. I became involved in long distance relationships. I called the “T” the subway and counted all the ways New York was superior: better bagels, people walked faster, the energy was different, etc. etc. I tried to maintain my New York ego. But like most long distance relationships, it became harder to hold on. I felt my “New Yorkness” slipping. I started calling the subway the “T”, I began to watch Red Sox games (I never really was a Yankees fan), I made friends in Boston. Slowly my desire to live in New York started to fade. I lived in The North End for three years and started dating in Boston. I became an expert on the rhythms of the city, its ebbs and flows. I never fell in love with Boston, but I learned not to hate it. I decided to go to graduate school far away; I decided I needed to try another city. I was over my Manhattan fantasy, but I would harbor no ill will towards Boston.
A month after I applied to graduate school, I met a man. He loved Boston. He wanted to stay in Boston. I began to look around at everything I had built, close friendships, a career path, and now a budding romance. I told A. I was going to graduate school, he promised to stick around. So six months into our relationship, the two of us drove a U-haul up to Toronto to start my Canadian adventure. Two years later, I moved back to Boston to plan my future with A. He bought a condo, I moved in, we got married, we got a dog, we sold the condo, and we bought a house right outside of Boston. While I may never consider myself a true Bostonian, I know this city, and for better or for worse, this is my home, and I am not sure I would trade it for anything. Except for maybe a decent bagel.