Saturday, December 11, 2010


What entices me about Boston? I close my eyes, take a deep breath and slide into a daydream…

East coast – so different from where I’ve lived my “aware” life. Although I was born in the DC area, I left before I could form memories, and my trips back were numerous in my early 20’s, but were mere visits. The difference of East Coast vs. West Coast intrigues me. The architecture, the formality, the brusque speed of life, the recorded and celebrated history there (so different from the native history here, limited by lack of western documentation practices) make it compelling.

I would work from home, I imagine. And that home might be more colonial looking, east coast feeling – why not, if we move there? I imagine colder winters, wool coats in contrast to my rain coat of this season in Seattle, scarves, snow. Taking the “T” to Beantown.

The streets of Boston were designed by a masochist, I read on website after website. What is it like to live in Boston? I query in Google. It sounds like the Seattle of the east coast – similar climate, but a bit colder in the winter, and maybe a bit more humid in the summer, but the temperatures are not that different, at least from what I’ve found so far. I’m a bit incredulous – not quite a believer.

Boston is a running town – the marathon, proximity to Allentown and Runner’s World. Boston is educated. Boston boasts literary tours and colonial history, universities respected worldwide.
Truth be told, we would not live in Boston, but outside it, near Waltham, which is about 10 miles away. It seems to be about a 30 minute ride by public transportation.

Weekends could be spent exploring New England. A short trip to Manhattan, or up the coast to see fall trees or spring blooms. The evocatively rugged Maine coast, the proximity to all of New England – it seems the most European angle on America, and yet, decidedly American. It’s the other side of this west coast, left coast, coin. Can one understand life in America without having both sides of the coin? I ask this, consciously leaving out the substance in between that does not compel me at all, for any amount of money, and yet forms the vital center of that coin. Coastal is where my heart is, even if it’s a few miles inland, just so long as it’s not thousands.

Last time I was in Boston was in 1999 – eleven years ago. How much things must have changed, and what I was able to see was not even a scratch of the surface then. I remember being lost driving around, and asking another motorist for directions and being told “I can’t even begin to tell you how to get from here to there!” (We were within sight of our destination.) I snuck away from work and had coffee in Harvard park, watching the students, my age, play chess in the square. I walked the literary tour, and with my mouth agape, gazed up at the lantern hanging over Nathaniel Hawthorne’s house. This was the oldest architecture I had ever seen, at that point.

That trip was fun – but what that trip was NOT was a way to figure out if I would like living there. And yet, that’s what it has become. Would I like Boston? I dunno – but it seemed cool, and we could find out for a few years…
I am scared; I am curious what that life East of Left would be. Who would I become? How would it change me, and will the tradeoffs be worth it?

Of course there are tradeoffs. It is cold. It seems less friendly for biking. It is far from the lake. It is far from our friends. We would still not be in the heart of the city – on the outskirts, with the benefits and drawbacks of that. It is more expensive. I would work remotely – isolated. I don’t know if I can handle that, or for how long. What would become of me, curled in my colonial cave? Venturing out with my camera, safely secluded behind my lens…I know my tendency toward isolation and it would take concerted effort to overcome.

Suppose I didn’t like working remotely – Boston is big, Boston is busy. There would be a lot of opportunity to move on, career-wise. What would I find?

Together, the Boy and I – our life built around us and our dog, East Coast style, running in the city of running, finding new triathlons, new summer vacations while yearning to let the dog run with her friends along our beach at Priest Lake…the Boy finally dig into the world he has dreamed of for years of hell in grad school, finally able to do the work that so compelled him to go back to school and endure these years…he will do this no matter where we go, but in Boston-Town, he will find a small company and have growth potential across the drug development lifecycle. He’ll be able to apply his knowledge not only from school, but from working in small pharma before going back to school, and be able to uniquely prepare for our long term goals. The job won’t pay the best, but will appreciate him and be rewarding in the type and spectrum of work.

This will be a tough choice…

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