13.4 miles, a 16 minute drive on a Sunday morning (45+ minutes any other day). 11 stops on the Red Line to Park St., a $4.20 roundtrip CharlieCard fare. I don’t know the ins and outs of a Southie neighborhood and I won’t tell you to “pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd,” simply because I pronounce all of my R’s.
I may not live in Boston, but I am from Boston.
I grew up climbing the ginormous jungle gym in the Children’s Museum. My mom would tell my sister and I, “I’ll meet you on the third floor.” I’d stay right behind my older sister as she guided me through the ropes and tunnels, eventually locking eyes with her once again a couple of stories up.
The ride on 93 North was defined by the gas tank striped with various colors and Big Dig billboards. I used to get car sick, so when we would get stuck in traffic, my parents would always tell me, “There’s the tank! We’re almost there!”
On the Red Line, I was always told to “hold on.” I never listened, and I would try to balance on my own despite the crowds and sudden movements of the train. This habit died hard when my 6 year old self wiped out onto a random man’s lap. He laughed it off, but I don’t think a day has gone by since then where I don’t hold on to the germ infested bars of the T.
Since my childhood years, Boston has come to mean more than a 200,000 pound fish tank and bronze duck statues in the Common. It has come mean more than hoping to catch a foul ball at Fenway to show off to my friends at school the next day or NSYNC concerts at the Fleet Center. It has turned into moments that you simply can’t capture. I can’t tell you what it feels like to spend summers cruising on the Harbor and watching the sunset reflect off of the Financial District until you actually do.
I can’t tell you what it feels like to be a part of such a strong community until you actually are.
April 15, 2013 was a day that turned our worlds around. Things happened that we couldn’t quite grasp onto in the same way that we could a Stanley Cup win. We didn’t know how to understand it, simply because it was a poor man’s attempt to destroy everything that this city has come to stand for. He attempted to destroy our community and pride, and succeeded in destroying some people’s lives.
It was then when I understood why I tell people why I’m from Boston, even if I don’t live there. Boston has given me a sense of community, a sense of pride, and most importantly, a sense of who I am and where I’d like to be. The outreach of the community, the strength and perseverance of the victims’ and their families all gave meaning to the power of this city that has been such an integral part of my life for so long.
Marathon Monday is a momentous event in the city of Boston. It’s one that we celebrate other’s hard-work and accomplishments while simultaneously celebrating the strong community that we reside in. It’s day to remember where our pride stems from, why we are willing to spend that $7.25 on beer at Fenway. Most importantly, it’s a day to reflect on why you tell people you’re from Boston.
This post is an ode to the people of Boston. To the police officers, fire department, the complete stranger that bought my coffee at Simon’s on Mass Ave last summer. It’s for the people who ran in the marathon today, and a post to remember the victims of the 2013 Marathon. This post is for to the people who has made this city certainly one to miss as I plan the next chapter of my life post-grad.
The words “Thank You” don’t seem to be enough, but it’s all my QWERTY keyboard will allow. So, thank you, Boston. Thanks for teaching me how to be strong, how to grow from difficult situations rather than letting myself perish. Thanks for the countless memories, the photographs of me in front of the Green Monster, the restaurants in the North End that make for a great first date. Thanks for making me feel apart of something greater than my 30,000 person suburb.
Thanks for being you.
Here are some inspiring links that are totally worth checking out:
Rest in Peace to the 2013 Marathon victims and my thoughts are with you and your families during this time. You are truly an inspiration to all of us.