When you live in a new place, and you’re trying to figure out how to go about the everyday business of living your life in that place, pretty much everything seems like a new adventure.
Okay, let me rephrase that: everything feels like a new adventure to me. I have no right to comment on your experiences living in new places. But you know I’m right. So here are some of my recent adventures. Some of them may have been barely adverted fiascoes. One or more may involve dessert.
- Cannoli. On Saturday, I was in central Boston with my friends Katie and Jeremiah, and we stopped at Mike’s Pastry in the North End (Boston’s Little Italy) and got cannoli. Chocolate mousse cannoli reinforced my belief that there is good in the world. I mean, really, if human being can create something that tastes that good, surely there is hope for all humanity. This adventure also involved Boston’s Central Market, which is fun and busy and where I ate an amazing slice of pizza. We also went to a delightful arts festival on the harbor, where we heard a seventh-grade teacher perform R&B (something that would have BLOWN my mind as a seventh grader).
- The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Okay, so this adventure was actually in conjunction with the cannoli adventure. But it was so fantastic that it deserves it’s own number. The collection at this museum is amazing, and the building in awe-inspiring.
- Finale. This is a desserterie. That’s right. You heard me. A desserterie. That means that, while they do have a limited menu of meal-ish foods (like sandwiches and whatnot at lunch), they primarily serve fine desserts. This is a whole restaurant that is devoted to quality desserts. I walked past this place during another adventure (see Duplicity below) and almost didn’t make it to my destination because of the sweet, heavenly smell emanating from Finale. So I went there later and got a whoopi pie (which they’re famous for), and loved every bite. And someday soon, I intend to go for a full plated dessert. And what’s more, they have a rewards program that involves a free birthday dessert. The fact that this place exists makes me think that peace in the Middle East is possible.
- Duplicity. You’ve got to be careful in this city. It can be duplicitous. Take this adventure/near fiasco for example. On Tuesday night I was going to meet Katie and Abigail for dinner. It was supposed to be easy–a little cafe on Beacon St., just a short ride on the T from my house. So I rode the three-ish miles down to the stop I thought I needed. And then I realized that I hadn’t looked up the location of the cafe. But I knew the name (Temptations), and that it was on Beacon St., so I whipped out my handy iPhone (the world is my oyster) and Googled it. And strangely, the only Temptations restaurant that came up was about a mile down the road. I assumed that I had misunderstood the location and took off (this was when I walked past Finale and was almost undone). I walked fast, finally made it to the cafe, and . . . my friends weren’t there. No one was. It appeared to be closing. This is when I used my keen, Sherlock Holmes-esque powers of deductive reasoning to discern that I had come to the wrong place. So I called Abigail and got the right information, and hoofed it back a mile or so to where I started, and we had a lovely evening. After I stopped sweating. The moral of the story is that you should always check that you have the right location with the people you are meeting rather than relying on Google. And that there are two restaurants on Beacon St. within a mile and a half of each other called Temptations Cafe.
- The BC Shuttle. My wonderful, beautiful school provides a shuttle service around where I live. Buses pick up students (or whoever wants to ride) at a few stops and take them to campus. I’ve seen these buses regularly, but they’ve been a mystery to me. Are they actually free? Will it take less time than walking? How does this thing work? I wondered, with increasing relevance about the time I needed to be leaving for my 25 minute walk to class. But that, of course, is the wrong time to figure something like that out. And besides, I like walking. I don’t like showing up for class just barely on time and glistening with sweat (my body is perplexed by the humidity here), but the weather has been lovely and I do love the stroll to campus. But last night when I was leaving my class I was chatting with some of the other MA students who were talking about the shuttle and I decided to suck it up and give it a try. And then a second year MA student was kind enough to defray the mystery further by telling me at which stop I would need to get off. So I used the shuttle and it was no big deal, and it’s a lot faster than walking. So I decided to take the shuttle this morning for my meeting at the Learning Center and the second half of this adventure was a bit of a fiasco. You see, the shuttle doesn’t make the commute faster if you miss it. I was late to my meeting. I was the only one who was late. I was also the only one whose last name is Early. (That’s not surprising; I just wanted to point out the inconvenience that my name sometimes is.)
- The Grocery Store. For the most part, the little market I go to is very similar to other grocery stores I’ve been in. Except that it has a number of Kosher items available. And I’ve been there before, so my trip there today didn’t start as an adventure. I didn’t even feel like much of an adventure when I discovered that they carry Rotel and boxed taco dinners, though it began to feel more adventurous when I had to search and search for the Jimmy Dean sausage (which I finally found not with the bacon, where it is at home, but in the freezer section) and Velveeta (which was just hiding with the other cheeses). I was delightfully self-satisfied with myself for finally getting groceries until I got out to my car. Where my keys were sitting in the front seat. And the doors were locked. For about a second, I started to panic. Here I am, in a totally new city where I know, like, four people. What do I do?!? And then I remembered that I’ve recently taken to keeping my house keys in my pocket all the time, and so that’s where I had put them today. So all I had to do was go in and admit my shame to the store workers and beg them to keep my groceries for me while I walked a mile to my apartment and got my spare key. And that’s just what I did. And I laughed and laughed at myself. And the good fortune of living so close to my grocery store. This could have been the biggest fiasco of them all.
So those are my recent adventures. And fiascoes. I want you to know that I’ve been reading a lot of Irish heroic literature, and I was sorely tempted to write all of these adventures in the heroic, epic style. But I spared you the drama. You might not be so lucky in the future.