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Boston, You’re My Home

When the explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:50 p.m., I was sitting at my desk at work.

I wasn’t at the finish line in Copley Square, or watching runners along the route of the marathon. My town wasn’t one of those locked down during the manhunt last Friday. None of my friends were running the marathon, and thankfully, no one I know was injured.

Like many others throughout the Boston area, I was not directly affected by this terrible tragedy. I know that I feel a speck of the pain, confusion and fear that all those who were at the marathon are experiencing. That fact alone made me wonder if I had any right at all to try to write something about these horrible events.

But as I watched the nonstop news coverage of the bombings, I was plagued by the same sense of pain and confusion and fear that many in Boston were feeling. I was shocked to see the panicked face of a high school classmate, crying as she frantically searched for family members at the finish line, replayed over and over again on the news. I was pained to see the smiling faces in photos of the three innocent victims. Like so many in Boston and around the world, I wondered what brings someone to kill innocent people. Wondered…why?

And we may never know why three innocent people, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed. Or why hundreds more were injured and their lives forever altered. But after one of the most terrifying weeks in Boston’s history, it is clear how the city will move on: together.

I am a transplant to this city. My family moved to Boston from New Jersey when I was six years old, for my dad’s job. I don’t have the accent; I pronounce the letter “r” and have never declared anything “wicked cool.” I still get lost on the city’s confusing and winding streets. I was probably the only person in the New England area to cheer when the New York Giants beat the Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl.

Last Thursday morning I watched a live stream of the interfaith prayer service at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross with my coworkers in our conference room. And when President Obama told the audience, “I join you in saying: ‘Boston, you’re my home,’ ” my eyes welled up with tears that I tried to keep from spilling over.

Because I love cheering on the underdog Red Sox and singing “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park. Because I love riding the Green Line on the T (the oldest subway in America), no matter how many times I lose my balance and fall over as the driver goes too quickly through the narrow and twisting tunnels. Because I love that our mayor checked himself out of the hospital just days after surgery, and took to a wheelchair to go help his city without a thought for his own recovery. Because the spirit of this city, which is often seen as arrogant and even ridiculous by others, couldn’t be crushed by these horrific events.

And that spirit was bolstered by the support of the entire nation. Other Major League Baseball teams—even the rival Yankees–played “Sweet Caroline” at their games the night after the bombings in tribute to the city. Phones were ringing and buzzing off the hook, as friends and relatives from near and far checked in on residents of Boston. I felt enveloped in the love and support of friends, who texted and emailed from around the country to make sure that my family and friends were safe. People donated millions of dollars to The One Fund, created to support the victims of the bombings, in a matter of days.

Part of the sadness I feel is because, sometimes, it is only the most horrific of tragedies that remind people of our similarities, that we do in fact stand united. They remind people that our differences make us a stronger, better country. But I am heartened by the fact that when people tried to divide a nation and paralyze a city with fear, the response was compassion and heroism. The response was running towards the injured or donating to their cause. I’ve heard that bad things can bring out the best in some, the worst in others. We saw the worst in the individuals who attacked Boston last Monday. But we also saw that Boston’s best—and America’s best—was goodness.

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April 25, 2013 · 5:18 pm

The Chaperone

Somehow, nearly a year has passed since I graduated from college and officially landed “outside the bubble.”  In that time, I got a full-time job, paid my first credit card bill, and attended my five-year high school reunion.  It continues to amaze me just how quickly time flies.  But if anything could convince me that I was actually, really, truly a grown up, it was being a chaperone.  That’s right, I was one of the responsible adults on a weekend trip with students from the high school that I work at.

A canal in beautiful Venice, taken on my trip to Italy in spring 2007.

How the heck did I become semi-in charge of other people’s children?  I don’t think I was the only one wondering that, judging by the number of people we encountered throughout the weekend who asked me, “And what grade are you in?” and then were shocked to learn that I was one of the chaperones.  But the question actually isn’t that hard to answer, in the literal sense.  As the school’s Director of Communications, I went along on the trip to take pictures and video footage, to create a video for our website.  In a more philosophical sense, I was wondering how the time passed so quickly since I was on my high school trip to Italy in the spring of my senior year, or since I was goofing off at a hotel with my skating teammates in college.  But pass it had.

Source: Wikipedia

So there I was, on a bus to Delaware with eighteen high school girls, one of the three adults in charge of their safety and happiness for the weekend.  Being a recent grad, I don’t feel that much older than these girls, which luckily means that we still have similar tastes in movies.  So all three that we watched on the trip down (Despicable Me, The Mighty Ducks, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding) made the ride pass quickly.  And I had managed not to embarrass myself by falling asleep on the ride with my trademark open-mouthed sleeping face (I would insert a picture here, but all photos of this face have somehow mysteriously disappeared…enjoy the Despicable Me movie poster instead.  It’s much cuter.).  So by all accounts, the weekend was going great so far!

And all in all, it did go well.  I had a great time getting to know the girls on the trip, and managed to capture some photos and videos that turned into a nice video piece for our website.  One of the best parts of my job is getting to spend time with the students: they make me laugh, occasionally compliment my shoes, and often make great suggestions for whatever project I am working on with them.  I like to learn from their fresh ideas.

I should also add that my hotel room was upgraded to a suite, for some reason.  So there were two tv’s.  Count ’em: two.  So I was kind of loving the whole adult chaperone thing.

And as far as chaperoning jobs go, I think this was one of the easier ones out there. I got to hang out with a great group of girls for the weekend, then geek out over making a highlight video.  There were a few moments of concern when we discovered that a boys’ baseball team was staying at the same hotel as us, but the hotel staff had our backs and placed them on a different floor.  Phewf.  Most importantly, all the girls got along for the entire weekend.  Which is actually a small miracle, for those of you who understand teenage girls.  There was a brief hiccup on the bus ride home when they couldn’t agree on a movie to watch and some yelling ensued, but I swooped in with the solution: Cheaper By the Dozen!

Note the very sunburned left ankle. Please ignore the awkward knees.

I’d actually say that the biggest casualty of the whole weekend was my incredibly sunburned left ankle.  Yes, my left ankle.  You’d think, as the adult chaperone responsible for the safety and happiness of 18 teenage girls, I would  be capable of properly putting on sunscreen.  Nope.  Guess I’m not completely a grown up just yet, huh?

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May 10, 2012 · 9:59 pm