As I mentioned towards the end of my last entry, I boarded a plane the day after my birthday en route to Boston. Two of my best friends Leandra and Victor moved out there a couple of years ago, and shortly thereafter I made my first trip to Beantown. I fell in love with the city, to put it mildly. There's just a certain je ne sais quois about it- the energy, the architecture, the seasons, the people... I love it! I love it all! And so it came to be that I planned my second trip out to their neck of the woods to soak up some more of the Boston vibe.
Leandra and Victor, first of all, are quite the little power couple- but in a classy, understated, not-shoving-it-down-your-throat kind of way. They are the poster children for the whole " pursue your passion" concept, having both made major career shifts in the name of this pursuit and finding a myriad of success as a result of this courageous choice. After spending years in management for the largest rental car company in the world while living in LA (which is how I met both of them and several of my best and closest friends), Victor decided to fulfill his goal of achieving military service and enlisted in the Army reserve with the intent to eventually pursue a Master's degree. He left for basic training, came back a leaner, meaner Victor, and began the application process. I remember the day he called me to tell me he'd gotten into USC, my own Alma Mater of which I am only sliiiiiightly proud (now blaring USC Fight Song). We had ourselves a little phone celebration, one which was quickly trumped when a few weeks later, I got the call saying Victor had also been accepted to some rinky dink institution called Harvard. And so the acceptance letter from my belowed USC got tossed in the fire, and Victor packed up his bags and moved out east. Two years later, he officially earned himself a Master's degree in Urban Planning from jolly ol' Hahvud, then came the time to find a job. Low and behold, the guy landed a position as Regional Planner for the State of Massachusetts. I mean... what a slacker.
My Lulu (Leandra), has a story no less impressive; she too worked for this same rental car company and at a higher rank, managing the three brands of the company at an airport operation and doing so quite successfully. Whilst having lunch with a friend she hadn't seen in some time on a random weekday, she explained what her position entailed and was faced with an interesting and unexpected dichotomy; the friend sitting across from her was most impressed with and excited by Leandra's achievements, while she herself was... not so excited. She wasn't unhappy; she held no grievances or complaints. She was proud of the success she'd worked so hard for, but she'd reached that point where she craved the ability to do what she loved and not just what she happened to be good at... (sound familiar?) On a whim, she applied for a position with an assisted living facility mere blocks from the house I once shared with her; she'd studied human development as an undergraduate at UC Davis and always knew she wanted to work with the elderly but otherwise had zero experience in the field. She interviewed for the position on her lunch break and assumed it was a long shot. Later that week while visiting for a friend's birthday, I found myself helping her her empty out her office; the following Monday, she stepped ino her role as the Executive Director of Belmont Village in Burbank, California.
I'm not done though; she hadn't been in that role for yet a year when it came time for Victor (then her fiance) to move to Boston. It was time to find another job! She found a few positions that again seemed like pipe dreams, so she crossed her fingers and rubbed her little teacup chihuahuas for luck. Applications were sent, interviews were done, then she waited, and waited, and waited some more. Enough time had passed that she assumed she'd been passed up... but then the call came. She was now the Executive Director of Neville Place in Cambridge. BOOM. Aaaaand about two months ago, after approximately two years in that role, she was offered a newly created position as the Director of Operations for this facility and ten or eleven others. BOOM, squared! Like I said- power couple.
My visit with them was phenomenal! They have the most adorable apartment in Beacon Hill, my favorite neighborhood in Boston. I spent a lovely four days in their company and enjoyed the perfect intinerary- Thursday we went out for a birthday dinner at Lolita's (please, go there: try the Naughy Pineapple cocktail and the guacamole trio. Didn't think bacon went well with guac. Guess what? It effing does) followed by a trip to Fenway during the World Series. We had a few beers at a bar near Fenway where I had an amazing pumpkin ale (I think it was called UFO?), took pictures of a sexy waiter with a resemblance to Chris Brown, and sang along to Sweet Caroline with the throngs of Red Sox fans. Friday we did breakfast at the Common (actually, the Public Garden) then took a trip to the Sam Adams brewery. After guzzling some delicious and FREE beer, we hopped on a party bus (complete with stripper pole) en route to Doyle's, the oldest bar in Boston. After chowing down on assorted Boston specialities and trying some other Sam Adams variteties not previously tasted, we embarked on the party bus once again. The bus stopped at a liquor store where we all purchased our poison of choice then got back on the bus to booze while driving around Boston. That evening, we went to a an establishment called Drink- holy mother of all that is good and pure. Please see my next post where I review (read: rave about) this place and why you need to take your happy ass there, post haste.
Saturday, we recovered from Friday night and made breakfast at home. We then went to a bar in Cambridge to watch Barcelona beat Real Madrid in El Clasico, then walked around Harvard and lunched in Cambridge. We hit the town for some dancing and drinks at a club that evening where there I learned that mechanical bulls and stripper poles are a bicoastal commodity. Despitethe fact that Halloween was almost a whole week later, we found several people in costume that night. In fact, we found someone's abandoned angel costume at the club and distributed the parts among us. I vaguely remember getting handed the angel wings at the end of the night andn wearing them as we stumbled through the Common at 2am. I took pictures with a guy and his stick horse, sand Under the sea with Leandra, and watched Victor try to swing from a tree with the greatest of wease and land on his coccyx instead. Sunday we went to Vermont (!!!! I heart trees) where we grabbed lunch at a cute farmer's market, toured Sugarbush Farm then walked the Quechee gorge. First of all- I did not buy enough cheese from Sugarbush. Second- I didn't think I liked maple syrup, then I tried the real deal. Oh snap! That stuff is great when it's legit! Please look up Sugarbush Farm if you're ever in Woodstock, Vermont and get yourself some cheese, syrup and other tasty goodies like their many spreads and preserves and smoked sausages. In the meantime, order from their website! They ship just about anywhere in the US and the product is superb. I highly recommend the extra sharp 18 and 36 month aged cheddars, the Mountain Jack, and the Cayenne Jalapeno cheddar. Go get some, now! Then come back and finish reading. www.sugarbushfarm.com
We finished up the day with dinner and a movie at home. I came home Monday and missed Boston the second I left. Good thing I have some airlines miles saved up... I will return. Now, about this Drink place....
Leandra, her cousin Alyssa and yours truly outside Fenway
Case Negrete by night...
... and by day
A room wih a view (that room being the kitchen)
Beautiful Beacon Hill
Make Way for Ducklings, and the Sox
Coffee in the Common (ssssh, mine is milk)
That Boston lager!
Le party bus
Two little Mexicans drinking ginger and cassis
Lovely day at Harvard
Harvard or Hogwarts?
Put your right foot in...
Let there be light.
Yo what time this train coming?
All black everything...
Only YOU can prevent forest fires!
Turns out red bull does give you wings.
Love at the covered bridge crossing.
Making road kill look good.
Quechee Gorge in all it's glory.