I landed in Boston sometime around 2am, slightly sweaty and sick to my stomach from hours of delayed travel. When I walked outside to below 50 degrees, my Texas blood turned cold real fast. I got a quick night's sleep and woke up to a world of adventure the next morning.
First stop, bagels. And yes, they were everything I dreamed an East Coast bagel would be. We don't make 'em as good in H-Town. And even though I didn't hear any great Boston accents, the morning went well and quickly. Because the daytime was reserved for work conferences, I couldn't wait for the evening. When the metaphorical bell rang, I shrugged off my blazer and replaced it with a denim Rolling Stones jacket and briskly descended the stairs to the subway.
Probably my proudest moment, I didn't get lost on my first day there. I successfully navigated to the Boston Tea Party, downtown, the square, Little Italy, Boston Commons, and even to Mike's Pastry's, where I had the most delicious pistachio cannoli to ever grace the earth. After filling my belly with lobster rolls and clam chowder, I took the Freedom Trail before the sun set -- reading through Samuel Adams to the Mayflower to the Holocaust -- one of my favorite experiences.
I was only stopped once and asked to smoke some weed with a friendly-enough stranger, to which I politely declined. I may have actually laughed, but only from amusement. When I returned to the hotel with a few extra cannolis to keep me company, I was already looking forward to day 2 -- NYC.
The conference let out early the next day, which allowed me to book a sooner bus to New York. When I stepped into the station, it felt like a page out of The Goblet of Fire. Granted, I've been to THE station in Harry Potter, but South Station in Boston gives London a run for its money. With a third floor CVS, food at every corner, and buses, trains, and subway departures all in one place, it felt like sensory overload. But I successfully found my gate and boarded the Bus from Hell -- aka the Bolt Bus.
At first, I thought, "This isn't too bad. I have room to stretch out." Then, the bus slowly began filling up. As more people walked by the empty seat next to me, I pretended to be asleep so that I wouldn't have to move my bag. Suddenly, a strong smell of bleach forced my eyes open, and in front of me was a tiny woman, asking if the seat was taken. I begrudgingly moved my things because I'm an INFJ and I'm both nice and standoffish at the same time. Worst mistake of the trip. The smell of this poor woman not only made me question if she had just murdered her husband and fled the state, but made me so nauseous, I couldn't see straight. When we finally left the station, it was storming so bad the ceiling of the bus began leaking and filing the aisles with water. Some MacGyver stood up and attempted to seal the leaks with a water bottle and duct tape, but was unsuccessful. I applauded Indiana Jones' effort in my mind, but feared opening my mouth to the poison odor. (Yes, it was dramatic. Don't mock me.)
Because of the bad weather, our bus was delayed in traffic, quickly turning a three-ish hour trip into six. When we made it to the Bronx, I have never been more happy to see dilapidated graffiti. The bus let us off in Manhattan, so I got an Uber Pool and waited on the corner. When the driver arrived, he got out of the car and began criticizing me for not being on the south side of the corner, to which I apologized and explained I am from Texas. He told me Uber is the same everywhere and continued to scold me. Welcome to New York!
My mom was joining me for the weekend, but her flight was delayed due to weather, so I had the night to myself. I explored Times Square, ate the best chicken schwarma of my life, binged on Junior's cheesecake, and tried on far too many clothes at the GIANT Forever 21. But around 11pm, I called it quits and waited for Mom to make it back. She walked in around 1:30am, bless her heart. I caught her up to speed on all my adventures thus far and we mapped out our day.
The rest of the trip went smoothly -- from Anastasia on Broadway, to bagels and lox, tattoos at West 4 (FANGIRL MOMENT), and some killer ramen. Our flight back to Houston arrived an hour early, breaking the travel curse and restoring order to my universe.
If you made it this far in the adventure tale, it's time for some life lessons. This trip taught me so much about myself as a young person, a woman, a human. I realized I'm significantly more capable than I give myself credit for, I'm resourceful, I'm calm under pressure. I navigated two "foreign" places alone and planned an adventure that I won't ever forget. Sure, I was nervous at some points along the way. But it was worth it. It's always worth it. Get out of your comfort zone. Weather, delayed flights, wrong directions, all of it's worth it.
My tattoo says "entertain my faith." It's a lyric penned by Tyler Joseph in Twenty One Pilots' early days as a band. The entire song focuses on the overwhelmedness life can cause, the purposeless lyrics of pop music, the desire for a life better than that of the flesh, and our tendencies as humans to wander from Truth. I love it because it's a cry of humanity -- that God will somehow entertain the faith we DO have, as small as it seems. That even in our wanderings and inabilities, the smallest voice to the Sky is heard, and we pray that it matters. Well, it matters to me.