Raw, honest travel blog.
I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for six months — from September 2017 to March 2018.
I lived in a very elite town, called Needham. Needham is beautiful. It is one of the homiest places I have found so far. Needham is a tiny town. It is very family-oriented and convenient. I aupaired in Needham for the six months I lived in Boston. My kids’ schools were a three-minute drive from our home, including the grocery store that was two minutes away and the way-too-frequently-visited Starbucks, which sat exactly one minute away from our home. The best thing for me though, my now best friend was exactly three minutes away. “Tyleene, want to sit with me drinking coffee while I fold laundry?” “I’ll be there in three minutes. I can’t wait!”
Nothing much ever happened in Needham. If you are as familiar with Gilmore Girls as I am, you will find that it definitely fits the description of Stars Hollow. It was small enough to walk around the whole town. The people were quirky. They decorated for every occasion. My neighbours, the staff at the grocery stores, my kids’ Kung Fu class and cafes became close to family — with their kind, sweet dispositions and general care and concern for my well-being. It was my first home away from home. It was that safe town I got to explore dipping my toes into adulthood, independent and responsible for things other than myself — all on my onesome. Describing Needham is like dancing to no music. It is a town where nothing much ever happened, but still won your heart over — for the setup, for the people, for the experiences. I am in love with Needham.
There are particular standouts in Needham for me. Now, if you read my blog about my aupair experience you will understand the following. The neighbours would notice my multi-coloured body and offer to take me in. Seriously, they didn’t need to do this. I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me, they just had unbelievable hearts in that town. I would be doing the family grocery shopping, walking around, beaming with my perpetual smile — high on the feeling of being in a completely different world. That’s what travel exposes you to, a COMPLETELY different world. I focused on my positive opportunities while abroad, more than moping about the circumstance. My smile was genuine, MASSIVE, constant. Strangers in the grocery stores would stop me in my tracks to compliment me on my smile. Just an idea of how friendly the locals were.
I remember grocery shopping with my youngest. There was an elderly couple just standing smiling at the conversation taking place between my youngest and I. “What did you learn at school today?” “Nothing.” “Nothing? Okay, your parents are going to have to pay for college.” We danced in the aisles and snuck around, hiding away from dinosaurs, dragons, and Santa. You see, he knew he was naughty. What child imagines sneaking away from Santa? The elderly couple watched in awe, chuckling away. “You are so good with him. He looks just like you. You’re doing really well.” I didn’t correct her for calling him my son, leading to more compliments on my parenting. Needham was my first exposure to overt politeness. When I talk about Needham, the first thing I always say is that it is like a movie. Everything ran smoothly — way too smoothly. People were so kind and friendly — it was like it was scripted — but they spoke with the most authenticity at the same time. My Life in Needham, the movie…
Whilst living in Boston, I attended a Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park. Again, it was just like the movies — with the ‘hot dog man’ walking up and down the aisles. There was a man who proposed to his girlfriend on the live screen, with everybody cheering. However, the only thing that wasn’t quite like the movies… The game was so calm. It was so dull I had no idea the game had begun. We were there for some time watching the game (meaning; taking selfies, chatting to the people around us, looking around playing 1–10). I thought they were warming up on the field. At one point, a while into the day, a group of watchers cheered. Oh, they’re actually playing? Whoops. We left a shortly after that.
I did a tour of Boston Harbour. Beautiful. We ran from Fenway Park, leaving the Red Sox game to get there in time. We sprinted. We did not stop. We guessed a lot of the directions to get there, but made it just as the boat started to drift off. We made it, girls. We made it. We watched the sun go down abroad the boat. It was beautiful and bizarrely freezing.
I watched ice hockey at Boston College. Goodness, that was SO much fun! The players got thrown into the side shield and the audience screamed in cheers. It was fast. It was fun. It was thrilling. I enjoyed ice hockey.
I watched basketball. I cheered for the Celtics. No, I don’t know much about basketball. I know you have to get the ball in the hoop. That’s good when you do that. A dunk is always something worth frantically clapping and whistling for, and really the only reason I was cheering for one particular team was that one of the Celtics players was my neighbour. Go, Daniel Theis. Go!
I watched a football game both live and at Hooters. Hooters is exactly what it is in the movies. Girls in just enough clothing to cover the important parts — mostly – walking around with trays of beer pitchers. I think that’s what they’re called. You know, those HUGE jugs of beer. The live game is one of my most favourite life memories. Go, Patriots. I love you! The audience was in an instant frenzy when the players ran out onto the field. Everyone was chatting and cheering together. It was loud. It was fast. It was beyond thrilling. It was absurdly cold. I thought my toes were going black in my snow boots. No, it was snowing yet, but we don’t all handle the cold well. I spent so much, no, I spent ALL my money on merchandise while there. Mostly as they sold socks and blankets and beanies and gloves, all branded with Patriots name. Hella expensive, but hella necessary. I don’t regret spending all my money there. I was able to come home with all my toes and fingers. Totally worth it.
“Hi, I’m Penny. I work at the Cheesecake Factory.” I went there. It was good. I was excited to see that it was actually a restaurant and not just made up for the comedy special.
I went to watch Katy Perry live. She is an incredible performer. It is only now having seen her live that I enjoy her music. It should be the other way around… Anyway. Noah Cyrus opened for her. She was great too. We had awesome seats and I knew some of the lyrics to one or two of the songs sung throughout the evening, so I was chuffed.
I visited Harvard. Wow, what a campus! The buildings were gorgeous. There were squirrels EVERYWHERE! “Here’s a photo of a Harvard squirrel sitting on a Harvard rock. He looks smart. Doesn’t he look smart?”
Happy Halloween… Halloween was awesome. The town was grossly decorated. There were GIGANTIC bags of candy. We carved out pumpkins that we had picked at the pumpkin patch. I woke up early. Super early. I dressed up as a unicorn — with coloured face paint, a horn and tail. I woke the boys up all dressed up. Man, they were so excited and in awe of this moment. Their response was so heart-warming. Halloween was awesome because our neighbour terrified my youngest with her dinosaur costume. I know, that sounds a little sadistic, Tyleene… That kid needed something to knock him back to earth. Child, you aren’t invincible. Stop running in front of cars! I learned that night that he had another emotion other than the need for destruction. This child actually feared something… This cut our trick-or-treating short, but I spent the night telling him magical stories about fairies and mermaids, and everything light and sweet. He fell asleep in my arms after a very sweet and first, “I love you, Tyleene”. It was a special night. I loved Halloween.
I was there over winter. I hated winter. How this picture goes… “OMG, it’s snowing. I’m so excited. I’ve never seen the snow. Oh wow, everything is so white. It’s magical, pure magic. Oh wow, look at that snow plough cleaning the roads. Oh wow, look at these ADORABLE winter outfits. I love the snow. Okay, it’s been cold for a while now. Not so fun anymore. Okay, the snow won’t stop. Okay, I’ve had enough of this cold. What? It’s -26 degrees Celsius. This is too much. First experience of pneumonia and frost bite. I hate the snow!”