Boston Boston Boston.

This is not the city I visited last week.  But it’s on the way.  Doesn’t it look quaint and, yes, maybe even compact, from up in the sky?  And the strange colors?  The polarizer on my camera and the polarizer on the plane windows got realllll friendly-like and made these colors.  Groovy.

Spending four days in Boston was a dizzying, unsettling experience.  Not because of the long work days.

And not because I embarrassingly bought the first “Twilight” book to read during the trip (*seriously blushing*).

I stayed in two incredible communities (Jamaica Plain and Brookline) both architecturally and historically rich.  It was like being surrounded with the beautiful architecture of an old city, yet with the added bonus of public transportation, roads, and sidewalks wide enough for bicyclists.  I heard that the improvements were made to facilitate use of the public transport by folks with limited mobility.  There were no clogged sewer drains.  The streets were paved smooth — not one hole, bump, or even an unmet seam to mar your way.  The gutters were clear of dirt and debris.  Public spaces were clean, with plentiful information centers, bathrooms, and historical markers.  Traffic was constant, but moving and managed.  Police popped up to move traffic and pedestrians along.  And those were all happening in the parts of town where parents don’t want to live because the schools are bad.

If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it, either.

Really.  It was like people got together, agreed on the things that made a nice urban environment, and then made it happen.

It was fantastic.

And also?  A bit creepy.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all intellectual and deep-n-stuff.  I can totally hang with my erudite academic peeps.  But I think, after awhile, the nirvana-like perfection stresses me out.  Sometimes I just want to hang out in generic flip-flops, drink from the bottom shelf, and chase it down with Folger’s from a Styrofoam cup.  And I want to do it with six other people who couldn’t care less about it just as long as they get a swig.  I’m not perfect, but I’m working on it.  I guess I love that my city can say the same thing.

But I’m happy that Boston is so nice.  What a great place to have in our country.

Even in the construction zone of a church, being rebuilt after a fire destroyed it almost 2 years ago, kids were playing in the relative safety of the yard.  Right beside a trailer set up for community services.  Just, nice.

All of these pictures were taken in Jamaica Plain last Tuesday night, the day I arrived.  My Boston College colleague and mentor walked for several hours around the neighborhood with me — we stopped in a local bookstore, walked around the ‘pond,’ had a fantastic feast of Indian cuisine, and polished it off with ice cream from the local dairy.


There were messages like this all over…