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December in Review: Saying Goodbye to Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and 2014!

December was a month of goodbyes.  I leave for Lima tomorrow for a few weeks of fun with my friends before heading to Chile to start my new position in mid-January.  This time, I’m not exactly sure when I’ll be back to the United States, or whether I’ll return to Boston.  As such, I made it my goal to be present and to be organized as I went about my preparations for my move abroad.

Saying Goodbye to My Awesome Students
Saying Goodbye to My Awesome Students

My first step was to leave my “day” job.  I was blessed with an awesome group of students for my last month of teaching at one of Boston’s friendliest language institutes.  Our lessons often evolved into conversations about life, relationships, personal growth, and being open to change.  Over the years, I have had a lot of wonderful students and this group was no exception.  They were incredibly supportive of my decision to move to Chile and extremely vocal about how much they would miss me!

While I continued tutoring for English with Kim during the rest of December, I decided to leave my “day” job a few weeks early to give myself time to handle all the tiny details that come up as I planned my international move, and to sell my car.  Thankfully, it sold quickly and at the price I hoped for.  Selling the car made me reminsce about driving it across the country and appreciate how reliable it had been over the years.  That said, I feel a lot more free now!

Christmas Lights at Chrisopher Columbus Park, Boston
Christopher Columbus Park

After selling my car, my bike became my primary means of transportation, along with my own two feet!  Even though early December was really cold, I biked around Cambridge and Somerville quite a bit.  I also joined the Boston Bike Party for their last ride of 2014.  The route took us to Christopher Columbus Park, where we had a brief dance party under these lovely Christmas lights!

Views from Christopher Columbus Park, Boston
Christopher Columbus Park, Boston

It was nice to bike through various Boston neighborhoods, saying goodbye to this lovely city that has been my home on and off over the years.  There is such a great bike community in Boston, and one of my few regrets of the past year is that I didn’t become more involved earlier.  I’m hoping I can get a bike to transport me around the Elqui Valley; if I’m not able to bike enough to keep my legs strong, I better be hiking!

Eating and Drinking My Way Through the City

My New Kindle at Hi-Rise Bakery, Cambridge
Reading My New Kindle at Hi-Rise Bread Company, Cambridge

As my last month continued, I made an effort to savor the aspects of Cambridge and Somerville I like best: namely, food and drink!  On a chilly December day, I wandered to Hi-Rise Bread Company on Mass Ave to have a pot of tea while reading TransAtlantic on my new Kindle.  This is a popular spot between Harvard and Porter Squares, and I wanted to visit one last time.

Brunch at Johnny D's, Somerville
Huevos Rancheros at Johnny D’s, Somerville

I convinced my roommate and her boyfriend to have brunch with me at Johnny D’s, where there is live jazz music on Sundays.  I was able to check another thing off my Boston bucket list and enjoy huevos rancheros, a dish I haven’t had since I left San Diego!

Breakfast at Diesel Cafe, Somerville
Maple Walnut Scone and a Pot of Tea at Diesel Cafe, Somerville

One morning, I found myself in Davis Square early in the morning and finally made it in to Diesel Cafe.  I frequent its sister cafe, Cafe 976, in Union Square, but never went to Diesel, thinking it would be too crowded.  Little did I know that the cafe is incredibly spacious and there are plenty of spots for people to meet, work, study, linger, and relax.  I parked myself next to a window in the back and immersed myself in this awesome journaling exercise.  Dedicating this time to myself helped me say goodbye to 2014 and gear up for all the adventures awaiting me in 2015.

Bimbibop at Seoul, Boston
Vegetarian Bibimbap at Seoul Restaurant, Boston

Next up was my school’s holiday party at Seoul Restaurant, where I had a delicious vegetarian bibimbap.  It’s highly unlikely I’ll be eating much Korean food for a while, and I appreciated the healthy, vegetable-rich meal.  That same week, my new colleagues invited me for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant in Harvard Square, where I enjoyed vegetarian pho, one of my favorite winter meals.  I’m going to miss the variety of dining options when I’m back in South America!

Hot Toddy at Backbar, Somerville
Hot Toddy at Backbar, Somerville

After a long, busy week, I met a new friend for drinks at Backbar, a tiny bar serving craft cocktails in Union Square, Somerville.  After a chilly bike ride, I needed to warm up with a hot toddy.  I was excited to finally order a hot drink in an American bar; hot alcoholic drinks are super common in South America but harder to find on the menu in the US (but very common in my kitchen!).  All of the bartenders were super nice and accommodating, recommending drinks to suit my taste for bourbon, scotch, and herbal infusions.  We spent several hours savoring the atmosphere, cocktails, and conversation.

Hash and Eggs at City Girl Cafe, Cambridge
Vegetable Hash and Eggs, City Girl Cafe, Cambridge

Ever since I visited City Girl Cafe in Inman Square in October, I have been raving about its amazing brunch and recreating this vegetable hash and eggs.  After a fun night of salsa dancing and saying goodbye to my dancing buddies, I met yet another awesome friend for an early brunch.  It’s best to show up right when they open at 10 because a line forms immediately afterwards!  The fresh herbs, delicious bread, and perfectly cooked eggs made every bite worth savoring.

Egg and Feta Sandwich and Tea at 3 Little Figs
Egg and Feta Sandwich and Tea at 3 Little Figs, Somerville

The last cafe I wanted to visit before leaving was 3 Little Figs in Somerville. My friends have raved about their delicious feta toasts, and I wasn’t disappointed by this egg and feta sandwich. I loved their generous mug of tea and sitting in the window looking out onto Highland Avenue, enjoying a couple of hours with another dear friend.

Boston Bucket List

Art and Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library
Honoring Emerson at the Boston Public Library

As I kept checking things off my list of preparations for Chile, I wanted to make sure I also checked off a few more bucket list items.  I really wanted to take the Art and Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library and I convinced a friend to come along.  This free tour is led by a charismatic, knowledgable guide who really helped us appreciate all the unique characteristics of one of my favorite public spaces, like the writers honored on the ceiling of the entryway.  Emerson has been a favorite philosopher of mine since high school, so I couldn’t resist snapping this picture!

Art and Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library
Lion at the Boston Public Library

Usually when I visit the library, I move quickly from room to room, failing to really observe the amazing surroundings.  It was nice to learn more about the lions that watch over the main stairway and find out all about the art on the walls.

Art and Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library
Reading Room at the Boston Public Library

This is definitely one of my favorite spaces in the library, a great place to read, draw, study, or write.  The green lamps are so inviting; earlier in the year, I came here specifically to write in my journal.

Art and Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library
Storytelling Mural at the Boston Public Library

This wood-paneled room is one of the most utilized and sought after event spaces in the library, because of its gorgeous art.  The guide did a great job of summarizing the classic story told through these panels; you have to go and hear it for yourself!

Art and Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library
Beautiful Ceiling at the Boston Public Library

(This tour also gave me a chance to try out taking pictures on my new Moto G.  I’m pretty happy with how well it performs!)

Art and Architecture Tour at the Boston Public Library
Views from the Boston Public Library

Our guide took us to the top floor of the library, somewhere I would never have ventured on my own.  There is a giant mural painted by John Singer Sargent which has so many interesting elements that you could spend hours pondering it.  It was a treat to see these quiet spaces and learn about a few more places to enjoy solitude in the library.

Boston Public Library Courtyard Boston Public Library Courtyard

Our last stop was the outdoor courtyard, one of the nicest places to sit outside in the summer.  Though the wind was strong and the sky grey, we listened intently to another story about this lady bathing in the fountain.

Lunch at Pavement Cafe, Newbury Street, BostonThe Fairy Shop, Newbury Street, Boston After finishing the amazing tour, we walked down Newbury Street, stopping for lunch at Pavement Cafe, yet another cafe I’d been curious about.  We stumbled across the most adorable little boutique on Newbury, The Fairy Shop.  There were so many silver treasures I would have considered if I weren’t moving abroad, but thankfully I resisted an impulse buy.

Christian Science Plaza, Boston

Christian Science Plaza, Boston

Views from the Christian Science Center, BostonOur next stop was the Christian Science Center to visit the Mapparium.  Naturally, we walked through the Christian Science Plaza, one of the most scenic parts of Back Bay.  The last time I was there, I was on my bike during the Halloween bike ride, and it was nice to enjoy a much quieter stroll through this time around.

Views from the Christian Science Plaza, Boston
Back Bay Boston from the Christian Science Plaza, Boston

I made sure to really look around and snapped a few shorts of the iconic buildings of Back Bay, Boston.

Christmas Wreath on the Mother Church of the Christian Science Center, Boston
Christmas Wreath on the Mother Church of the Christian Science Center, Boston

I also enjoyed the festive decorations on the church!

Prudential Center, Boston
Looking Back at the Prudential Center, Boston

Mary Baker Eddy Library
Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston

I’m not sure what I expected the Mapparium to be; I had heard it was a great experience to be inside the beautiful glass globe.  Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed and the tour includes an outdated audiovisual presentation which still marks Chile as a non-democratic country!  That said, I’m glad I finally experienced the Mapparium for myself!

Painterly Clouds Over Boston
Painterly Clouds Over Boston

As I waited for my bus to take me back to Cambridge over the Mass Ave Bridge, I noticed these amazing clouds over the city.  While the surrounding buildings were not super photogenic, I snapped a few shots to remember the gorgeous, painterly clouds.

Christmas in New Hampshire

Alpine Village for Christmas
Alpine Village Christmas Decorations

It wouldn’t be December without Christmas!  As usual, I spent Christmas with my family in New Hampshire, where we enjoyed our traditional holiday decorations.

Christmas Stockings
Christmas Stockings

This year, Christmas was less about presents and more about being together.  My mom commented several times that this was the best Christmas she could remember.

Christmas Chocolates
Christmas Chocolates

Of course, there was lots of food; we tried to make healthier meals but we ended up eating a lot of holiday treats, like these adorable festive chocolates.

Sunset and Clouds in New Hampshire
Sunset in New Hampshire

I always love the sunsets as viewed from my parents’ house, and the surprise sunshine on Christmas Day led to another lovely one.

Sunset Over the Highway
Sunset Heading Back to Cambridge

The skies also gave me another treat as my mother drove me back to Cambridge.  I felt like it was a special way to say goodbye to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for the next year or so!

Wrapping Things Up

As I’ve mentioned, December all about preparing for my move to Chile and was an incredibly busy, productive month.  I achieved my goal of reading 30 books in 2014, and may even squeeze in a 31st before the month is up!  I really love reading on my Kindle and taking advantage of the great selection of digital books offered by the Cambridge Public Library.  The Kindle is also helping me avoid bringing a ton of books to Chile!

I was completely surprised with how organized my move ended up being.  I had just enough time over the past week to move out of Cambridge, store my stuff at my parents’ house, and finish packing the three backpacks (small, medium, and really large!) I’m taking to Chile.  I had to make some tough decisions on what to bring and what to leave behind, but I’m much happier with my wardrobe variety and hobby options this time around.

Finally, I celebrated my imminent departure with my awesome friends, brother, and sister-in-law at Flatbread in Davis Square.  I love Flatbread’s inspired cocktails with locally-sourced ingredients and their delicious pizza.  The mushroom pizza is probably one of the best pizzas I’ve ever eaten.  We didn’t manage to bowl, but I was happy to spend time with this awesome group of people, sending me off with love and encouragement.

Saying Goodbye in Cambridge!
Posing with My Friends and Family at McCabe’s, Cambridge

Of course, we had to end the night at McCabe’s, my favorite neighborhood bar.  I seriously couldn’t be happier with this end to my year and was touched by how many of my friends and family managed to show up for my goodbye festivities, even with the craziness of the holiday season.

Today, I’m running some final errands and enjoying my last few hours as a Cambridge resident.  Tomorrow, I leave for Lima, where my friends will quickly whisk me off to the beach for New Year’s.  2014 has been awesome, but I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

October in Review: Embracing Fall in All Its Forms

Buttercup Squash Muffins with Ginger and Oatmeal
Buttercup Squash Muffins with Ginger and Oatmeal

This was the mildest October that I can remember, with many summer-like days, lots of sunshine, and extra time to enjoy the late summer harvest. I went to New Hampshire to visit my parents at the beginning of the month and noticed that the leaves there had already begun to change into vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange. I kept going on bike rides by the water back in Boston, hoping to see the gorgeous leaves here, but summer hung on for such a long time!

Mums at Lull Farm, NH Pumpkins at Lull Farm, NH
Mums and Pumpkins at Lull Farm, NH

This is my first official fall in three years, so I was determined to capture it.  I wanted to see pumpkins, appreciate the festive harvest and Halloween decorations, and enjoy all the fall produce!

Fall Leaves on Walden Street, Cambridge
Yellow Leaves in Cambridge

Although most of the leaves around Cambridge have just began to change in earnest over this past week, I managed to capture some of the trees that decided to get a head start.

Cambridge Common, Harvard Square Cambridge Common, Harvard Square
Fall Scenes from Cambridge Common, Harvard Square

Sunken Garden, Radcliffe YardOne of the amazing things about fall is the way the light changes – you just look up through the trees and see the sun illuminating the leaves, all set against a backdrop of my favorite blue skies!

The fall weather encouraged me to spend time wandering around the streets of Cambridge, reading in the park, and biking along my favorite routes.

HONK! Festival

HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Animal Print Inspired Marching Band in the HONK! Festival Parade

Fall always brings the HONK! Festival back to Cambridge and Somerville. HONK! is an annual celebration of activist street bands, like the marching bands of my high school past, but now with creative costumes and a progressive message. This year, I watched the parade pass along Mass Ave from Davis to Harvard Square, taking in the musicians and the activist messages.

HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Celebrating HONK! All the Way Down Mass Ave

The streets were lined with people cheering for all the fun performers.  I love that such a random event happens right in my neighborhood.

HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge
HONK! Parade, Cambridge HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Making Political and Musical Statements During the HONK! Parade

In between the bands, groups passed by with signs aimed at raising awareness of the issues facing Massachusetts and the world.  While there were several groups who emphasize the importance of the arts, others advocated for immigration reform, raising the minimum wage and providing earned sick time, protection of the native forests here in Massachusetts, and other important issues.

HONK! Parade, Cambridge
Celebrating the HONK! Festival with a Brass Band

After their march down Mass Ave, the HONK! Festival joined forces with Oktoberfest and a music festival to take over Harvard Square for one big party on an unseasonably warm, sunny day.

Currently

Eating

Fall Farmer's Market Haul
Fall Farmer’s Market Haul

While the summer fruit and vegetables stayed around for longer than usual thanks to the warm temperatures, fall brought with it lots of potatoes, winter squash, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, apples, and pears.  The late harvest grapes pictured here were basically as sweet as candy, and those squash in the background were destined for winter squash soups and the buttercup squash muffins you see above!

Penne alla Vodka Roasted Fall Vegetables with Two Eggs Sunny Side Up
Kazakh Chocolate! Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Penne alla Vodka; Fall Vegetable Hash with Sunny Side Up Eggs; Kazakh Chocolate; Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies

I’m much more inspired to cook warm meals in the fall, like penne alla vodka.  I cooked up a batch of kabocha squash soup, followed a week later by another soup made of buttercup squash blended with roasted fall vegetables and plenty of ginger.  I’ve also been making oatmeal sandwich bread to have for breakfast, topped with sunny side up eggs.  Inspired by brunch at City Girl Cafe, I served eggs on top of roasted fall vegetables like cheddar cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and Yukon Gold potatoes.  To make the season even sweeter, one of my students brought me a special treat of chocolate from Kazakhstan, and I continued the trend by baking my first batch of cookies in a long time, these amazing oatmeal chocolate chip coconut cookies.  Feel free to come over for brunch or dinner anytime! 🙂

Professionally

I continue to enjoy freelancing through my online tutoring business and was really busy in October with all my students!  Beyond that, I’m finally recording more podcasts, which is really fun!  To celebrate my success, I ordered some colorful mini business cards from MOO! to hand out whenever people ask about my work. 🙂

I also started taking another awesome MOOC on WizIQ on how to Build Your Teaching Business Online.  I love being inspired by these successful teachers to leverage my skills in a way that capitalizes on my strengths and feels authentic to my preferred style of teaching.

On top of that, I made a big professional decision in October, which I will announce when the time is right! 🙂

Personal Projects

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge seen from Charlestown

October included visits from friends from New York and Providence, reminding me of all the awesome people I know around the country.

Charlestown Navy Yard
Charlestown Navy Yard

I thought I’d make more progress on my Boston bucket list, but it didn’t happen quite as planned. I did bike over to Charlestown to relax in the park and check out the big ship hanging out in the Charlestown Navy Yard. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride.

Other than that, I have been dedicating a lot of time to writing blog posts about my backpacking adventures. I finally finished writing about my travels through northwest Argentina and Mendoza, and I really enjoyed reliving my memories of this portion of my trip, particularly wine tasting at my favorite winemarker, Catena Zapata.

I can’t wait to move on to my photos and stories from Peru and Ecuador, as this is where I can really give helpful tips on how to travel independently using public transportation to get to more out-of-the-way locations. 🙂

Of course, I can’t forget about Halloween!  I decided to dress up as a beatnik, although the nuance of my costume was lost on most of my students and colleagues.  At night, I joined 750 other people on an insane Halloween Bike Ride through the streets of Boston and Cambridge.  It was definitely an experience!

All in all, October was an awesome month; here’s looking forward to November and lots of pumpkin pie and gingerbread!

August in Review: Exploring Massachusetts on Bike and My Birthday!

Martha's Vineyard
Boats at Sunset on Martha’s Vineyard

August was certainly a month of embracing summer and spending as much time as possible soaking in the sun.  I managed to check off a number of items from my Boston bucket list and experience new parts of the city and the state on bike.

Martha’s Vineyard

I received an unexpected invitation to Martha’s Vineyard in early August.  I hadn’t been to the island since I was a child and remembered very little about it.  As it turns out, you have to take a ferry to get there, and the best way to get around is on bike!  It was liberating to leave my car behind on the Cape, throw everything into my backpack, and spend the weekend pedaling around!

Seagull Flying High Above Ferry  Martha's VineyardMartha's Vineyard  Telegraph Hill on Martha's Vineyard
Seagull above Martha’s Vineyard Ferry, Pond on Martha’s Vineyard;
Main Drag of Traditional Houses, Lighthouse on Telegraph Hill

On the way back from Martha’s Vineyard, we stopped over in Falmouth to catch up with a friend who was on a brief visit back to Boston from her expat life in Madrid!  We swam in the warm water of the bay at the Falmouth Beach, which was the perfect way to cool down after the strong sun of a completely clear day.  I loved hearing about how serendipity had led to her decision to live in Spain semi-permanently.

Birthday Fun

August is also an awesome month because of my birthday.  As my birthday was approaching, I reflected on how 32 was one of the best years of my life.  Interestingly, it is mostly because of the clear, hopeful perspective I’ve developed as a direct result of my time abroad and my commitment to appreciating the present moment.  I haven’t felt so inspired and creative since I was a teenager, and there never seem to be enough hours in the day anymore!

To celebrate my birthday weekend, I tried to squeeze in all of my favorite things.  I reflected on the past year by writing in my journal at the Cambridge Public Library, my home away from home.  Then I started off Friday night by biking to the South End for salsa dancing and Salsa in the Park‘s inspiring Youth Leadership performance, followed by amazing ice cream at Toscanini’s.

Clouds and Flowers in Waltham
Clouds and Flowers in Waltham

On Saturday, I got up early for a group bike ride to Walden Pond.  After some technical difficulties with one of my bike tires, we were on our way all around Cambridge, Watertown, Waltham, and Lincoln.  We stopped for a picnic lunch at the deCordova Sculpture Park, where I checked off a bucket list item and received a serenade from 20 of my new best biking friends.
Posing at deCordova Sculpture Park deCordova Sculpture Park DSC_0197
deCordova Sculpture Park

From there, we moved on to Walden Pond.  I hadn’t been back to Walden Pond since college, and it was pretty awesome to roll in there on bike!  We went for a nice, cooling swim in the water and then wandered around to the site of Thoreau’s cabin.

Walden Pond  Honoring Thoreau at Walden
Posing at Walden Pond
Walden Pond

From there, we hit the road through Concord to Bedford, passing through Lexington and Arlington on the way back to Cambridge on the Minuteman Bike Path.  I haven’t been back on the path since I started my biking adventures around Boston, and I loved zooming down the bike path!  We finished the long day with dinner and drinks at Jose’s Mexican Restaurant, the site of of many a field trip with my former students.

On Sunday, I decided to get back on my bike and complete another bucket list item: riding the entire length of Memorial Drive in Cambridge.  It was nice to see the great views of Boston at a much slower pace.  I headed back through Cambridge for lunch at Life Alive, an interesting visit to the MIT Museum, and more ice cream at Toscanini’s.  Finally, I enjoyed some downtime at my favorite spot in the city, the Sunken Garden.

View from Memorial Drive
Boston from Memorial Drive, Cambridge (and my bike!)

Boston Bucket List

Did you manage to count all of the Boston bucket list items I completed this month?  Well, there were actually more than those I’ve already mentioned!

  • Walden Pond
  • Arlington Public Library
  • Mt. Auburn Cemetery
  • MIT Museum
  • Walk (or bike) along Memorial Drive in Cambridge
  • deCordova Sculpture Park
  • The Brattle Theatre (again, to see Manakamana)
  • Minuteman Bike Trail (again)

While I enjoyed the MIT museum and all of its interesting interactive exhibits, the biggest surprise was the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, famous for being a landscaped burial ground designed to invite visitors to stay and reflect.  I really had no idea what to expect, but people raved about how beautiful it was so I decided to check it out.  I was definitely not the only person going for a casual stroll around this decidedly peaceful place, and I was impressed by all the history contained within its borders.

Mt. Auburn Cemetery
Mt. Auburn Cemetery

That said, the coolest part about my visit was climbing Washington Tower, which gives you a 360 degree panorama of Boston, Cambridge, and the surrounding area.  I was surprised to see just how green the area around us still is!

Boston from Washington Tower at Mt. Auburn Cemetery
View from Washington Tower at Mt. Auburn Cemetery

Currently

Beyond these major events, each month I’d like to check in on some of the aspects of my daily life that keep life enjoyable and interesting.

Farmer’s Markets

Farmer's Market Bounty
Summer’s Bounty

Each weekend, I look forward to heading to the farmer’s markets around my area.  I love going to the Union Square Farmer’s Market to design my own bouquet of flowers.  These flowers decorate my desk and brighten up my daily routine for the entire week.  I also love this time of year because there are so many things in season: corn, melons, peaches, apples, pears, berries, beans, tomatoes, zucchini and so much more more.

Eating

Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl
Chia Bowl with Blueberries, Peaches, and Pecans

After hearing about chia seeds for so long, I got some from the bulk bin and tried out a chia breakfast bowl mixed with almond milk, steel-cut oats, blueberries, peaches, and pecans.  It was surprisingly delicious – and I need the protein after all the biking!

Professionally

  • As you may know, I’m tutoring English via Skype through my website EnglishwithKim.com.  Slowly but surely I’m building my learning resources blog and getting more students!  I love being able to teach students on my own schedule using my own methods, and I’m confident my business will only continue to grow!
  • I’m also super inspired by all the educational technology and new methods out there.  I’m taking a MOOC on Learning to Teach Online and watching cool YouTube videos on the flipped classroom.

New Blog Design

Last but not least, I updated my blog’s design after many, many years!  Check it out by heading to the main site.

As you can see, it has been a busy but lovely month.  I’m looking forward to celebrating the last days of summer and welcoming fall! 🙂

Boston-Area Bucket List!

Copley Square in Summer
Copley Square in Summer

Before I begin, don’t get too excited: I have no immediate plans to abandon Boston/Cambridge for any wild adventures overseas.  That said, I reserve the right to change my mind at any moment, and that’s why I’ve created my Boston bucket list.

When I was nearing the last few months of my year volunteering in Peru, I wrote a Lima-area bucket list to encourage me to finally finish doing all of the things I had been meaning to experience during that whole year.  Some of them were food-related, like returning to Papacho’s for a delicious veggie burger, while others were more cultural, such as viewing Mario Testino’s photography exhibits, and others involved travel or hiking, like finally visiting Callahuanca, land of chirimoya, which is a small town relatively close to Huaycán, but a world away in terms of its ambiance.  In the end, I only accomplished about half of the things on my list, because I also just loved soaking in daily life in Lima.

The thing I often forget when I’m living in whatever city I call home is that there are lots of places to visit and experience beyond those located around my comfort zones of work and home.  I am content wandering through the same streets of Cambridge and nearby Somerville again and again, visiting my favorite cafes and shops, checking out the flowers in Boston Common, relaxing in the sun in Copley Square (see above!), and watching the sunset over the Charles.

However, when I am feeling my itchy feet pushing me to travel, I have to remember that I can view my own city/region through the eyes of a traveler.  There are so many things in the Boston area that I have yet to experience because Boston has always been a safe port for me, a place I return to after time away.  But I finally realized that one way to keep my adventurous spirit happy is to explore these amazing places and break out of my pleasant, yet predictable routines.  So I created a Boston-area bucket list of sites I have always wanted to see, places I haven’t visited since college, and destinations suggested by local residents on message boards.

In no particular order, this is my Boston-area bucket list:

I’m sure this list will grow, so if you have any suggestions, send them my way! 🙂