Monday, 22 August 2011

Boston Homecoming

18th July - 5th August 2011 | Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The setting sun fell gently on the water's surface, as sail-boats glided serenely across the Charles River, with the familiar skyline forming the iconic Boston backdrop that I had grown so used to on my weekly weekend-walks. A cool evening breeze caressing my face gently grounded the reality of the situation - that I was back in Boston once again, and memories of all that I loved were a reality once again. Still one of my favourite cities in the world, and while some might argue that the city is not much for sight-seeing, no other place outside of Singapore feels as much like home - despite being away from her for a good three years.

In The Eagles words from their ballad "The Sad Cafe": Things in this life change very slowly, if they ever changed at all. And indeed, Boston was exactly the way I remembered it to be, where muscle memory instantly sank in within the first couple of days, and I was able to find my way around by foot to all the familiar haunts almost entirely based on some sort of intuition or a sense of subconsciousness. Regardless, there is / was still very much to love about the place...

The cool-summer climate set the tone and the backdrop for much that I loved to do in Boston - weekend walks across the river to the downtown area. Following the Freedom Trail from Downtown to Quincy market, to arrive at the all too familiar square and see identical performances by the same performers from 3 years ago. Hunting for the sweetest deals on pre-owned games, where often times the journey to the nearest Gamestop was as rewarding as the destination - as perhaps all I wanted was some sort of self-justification to validate a weekend walk when I could have been sleeping or gaming it away.

Ice-cream - lots of ice-cream - accentuated by a new Pinkberry yogurt fad in town provided the perfect partner for a mid-summer's night stroll back home; too cheesy cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory that has a level of sinfulness only found in American dining; and of course the seafood: where Clam Chowder and Lobster is the order of the day, and the freshness of the Lobsters and the creaminess of the Clam Chowder found in Boston still ranks at the top of my list for these choices, and warranted returning visits to the local seafood chains. 

But more than the physical or the gastronomical, Boston does something for me on an almost spiritual level as well. Thriving with creativity, Boston left me creatively inspired the last time after the 9-week duration, and this time around, it was hardly any different, but perhaps even more so invigorated. Perhaps the turbulent events after the last trip left me desolate and depressed enough that I hadn't been able to fully piece the pieces of that inspired-soul back together over the years; even though it has definitely been mended - but perhaps it was never complete (which might be a good or bad thing, since an incomplete soul probably has a better tendency towards introspection and reflection). Being back in Boston probably helped to put the finishing touches to that mending process, and the added insight and experience that I had gained over the years in between the visits probably allowed me to gain a bit of an even more deeply rooted wave of inspiration that fuels my soul and my mind with possibilties.

As nothing but the sound of my rhythmic footsteps rang through the evening air as I walked across the bridge, one step at a time, breathing in sync to the walking and eyes fixed towards the tall tower in a distance, I felt that I was taking one step onto familiarity, and another into the future, all at the same time. 

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