COLUMN: Postcards From Paris
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 23:09
The plan was set. Passport copies turned in, insurance forms filled out, application accepted, parents appeased. I had repeatedly schlepped to Hovey House, dealt with the unhelpful front desk at the Office of International Programs, and met the professor leading the trip. After spearheading the idea of a summer in Europe, I bailed.
I turned down an all expenses paid trip to Paris with my four best friends. It is one of the best decisions I have made in my young adult life.
Instead of gallivanting around the Eiffel Tower, I cleaned treadmills at the Plex. Instead of visiting the Louvre, I scoped out the best grocery stores within a five-mile radius of Chestnut Hill Avenue. While my girls were catching the metro cars home at dawn after spending their nights dancing at Parisian clubs, I was navigating the hour-long morning commute on the Green Line four days a week.
It was the most fulfilling way I have ever spent a summer.
What kept me from flying across the Atlantic come June was an offer I simply could not refuse. In the South Building of Faneuil Hall Marketplace stands the office of Boston Innovation, more commonly known as BostInno, a news/media startup company that has intertwined the worlds of digital media and journalism. Just three stories above the dazed tourists, unimpressive dance acts, and the overwhelming smell of Abercrombie cologne, I learned the inner workings of breaking news in the age of technology from some of the most talented young minds in the city. As an editorial intern, I produced content for the BostInno website each day, mostly covering local politics.
Needless to say, I learned a lot in that office.
I also could have learned a lot by staying in a hostel in Europe and learning to explore a country where I did not speak the native language. Nevertheless, the thought of turning down the internship hardly ever crossed my mind. For me, it was Boston or bust—as it has been since I first set foot in this city at the young age of eight.
My love for Boston and passion for BC have always been inevitably intertwined. My first trip to Boston was also my first trip to Boston College, and the rest is history. The Heights was the first campus I ever set foot on, and therefore became my vision of what an ideal university should be.
I was finally living out my childhood dream to make a life in Boston. As finals ended and students made a mass exodus out of the city, I settled into my first apartment and braced myself for a taste of the real world.
The sparkle of the city faded.
For the first time since I shipped up to Boston just over two years ago, the love affair I had entertained for the past 12 years took a dramatic turn.
People on the T became nuisances instead of conversation partners. Streets that used to be full of mystery and wonder turned into various shades of gray. I could never figure out where to park my car without getting a ticket. The daily grind took its toll.
In other words, the honeymoon phase was over.
Now that the disillusionment has passed, I am more in love with this city than ever before.
Me and Boston, we weren’t just a summer fling. Three long, hot, humid months in the city reaffirmed what I’ve known all along: I belong here. I’m in for the long haul, and I’m here to stay.
Over the course of the summer, I received four post cards from Paris. While each one made me tear up as it arrived in my mailbox, the joy of having a Boston address never waned.
My friends got Paris, but I found home.