Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shipping Off to the East Coast

I'm in the humid, warm respite of Florida!  Until next Thursday, that is, then back to Boston and a long drive to school with my roommate for the final semester.  This past week was hectic but in the best way possible.  I don’t recommend planning Northeastern flights during the darkest winter months because you’ll inevitably fly west just to go east and some blizzard or icy storm will leave you stranded-- which was terrible.  I became another statistic along with all the other reasonably irritated and desperate travelers. I knew I should have taken a train, because the time I spent from Rochester, Detroit, then Boston would have been the same amount of time on the railway!  Lesson learned, I suppose.

After delays, too many Delta flight respondents that had no clue what was happening, and finally squeezing onto a flight to Boston, I arrived 15 hours later, hopped on a bus to Newburyport on the Massachusetts North Shore.  Kat, my partner in crime, picked me up as my host for the weekend.  We’ve been close friends for about a year now—from dancing through the clubs of Shanghai, to swimming in the Gulf of Thailand, to combatting patriarchy and researching women’s issues.  She’s studying abroad in Kenya this coming semester, and leaving in less than a week, so I enjoyed being acquainted with her hometown while reminiscing of our crazy adventures.  

Chasing light in the dining nook of Kat's kitchen.
The partially-frozen Merrimack River in Amesbury.
Everything in New England is so historic and quaint, almost delicately so, yet has proved its resilience against centuries of harsh northeastern weather.  Kat and I spent a lot of time catching up over tea and hot cocoa, watching The Carrie Diaries on Hulu (come on, Anna Sophia Rob, you can do better than that), and visiting sights around Amesbury.  Newburyport is a five minute drive away, known for its clipper ships and 18th century admiral homes.  The downtown village was revitalized a few decades ago and now thrives with local restaurants, artisans, and small businesses.  We even had dinner and drinks in, what we didn't realize at first, the local dive bar (ha, oops).  At least the clam chowder was delicious!  We had brunch mimosas and Bloody Marys with Kat's mom, then drove to the preserved Plum Island community.  The coastline is gorgeous but unfortunately, powerful storms and sand erosion have washed away historical homes and pose a risk to many others.

On the coast of Plum Island with Kat and her wonderful mom, Meg.

A beautiful snowy owl perched on this abandoned house drew crowds of people along the road!
Kat’s house also served as a launching point into Boston for a career fair.  I'm not sure how I feel about the suburbs (all that sprawl makes it a bit too middle-of-the-road for me), but the perks of living near a major metropolis means an efficient public transportation network... sort of.  The trains into Boston were running late, subsequently overfilled, and led to more stress and crowds in the subway (called the T)!  Nonetheless, I made it to the conference center near Copley Square, and spent the morning and early afternoon trying to market myself in the most appealing way possible.  Along with several dozens of other 19-22 year old students in ill-adjusted suits.  It's a hilarious and bizarre sight because we're all cracked out on nerves and caffeine, handing out resumes from our leather portfolios like free candy, though I at least am not looking for a job that demands head-to-toe suits everyday! 

Copley Square with its namesake man eternalized in bronze, along with Trinity Church and the John Hancock Tower in the background.
Super-artsy iPhone shot of the JH Tower. Just emphasize it's veritable blade-like appearance against the rest of the skyline.
By the time my interviews wrapped up, it was 2:30 PM and I was famished.  Across the street, I found Blue Glass Cafe in the bottom of the John Hancock Tower and indulged.  It's divided between the cafe with drinks and pastries on one side, then a buffet-like restaurant on the other.  It's very similar to the self-service food bars in Wegmans and grocery stores: conventional bagged snacks and bottled drinks, plus a deli bar, daily sushi, soup, hot dishes, and the 'health bar.'  This section is a glorified salad bar with organic toppings, homemade dressings, and sides such as sesame-marinated tofu, wheatberry salad, spiced butternut squash, and fresh goat cheese.  You can fill a take-out box or porcelain plate and it's priced according to weight at $8-9 per pound.  I was stoked on eating a loaded salad with quinoa after only having a Cliff bar and a piece of coffee cake.  My only complaint was the layout of the restaurant, with the majority of tables and sitting room on a second floor, but that's probably the result of moving into the John Hancock Tower after something else.  Otherwise, I completely recommend Blue Glass Cafe for a convenient and health-conscious meal!

Blue Glass Cafe on Urbanspoon

I'll continue on about my East Coast sprint in my next post.  Hope you're all staying warm!
Listening: The Tallest Man on Earth's album, "Shallow Grave" (2008)

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