Thursday, October 22, 2009

Boston: A Mini Vacation

Now that it's been over a week since L. and I got back from our mini-vacation to visit our good friend Real-Life-Dan-Humphrey, it's probably time to write my post about it!

Fall Semester is always a punch in the gut because after a whopping three months off for summer, it's nearly impossible to re-train your mind to be able to tackle four intense and quite different subjects simultaneously every day, including nights and weekends, and as a result it's pretty easy to feel crushed under the weight of it all. Even though this summer was lonely and way boring at times, I did really enjoy the wake up at 7-work 9 to 5-relax until 11-go to bed and repeat routine for the amount of guaranteed, built-in winding down time it included.

Now that we're back at Williams, there's none of that. A typical day for me can involve class, work at my art musuem, another class, rehearsal, work at my campus job, write a paper, write a newspaper article, sleep, maybe. So with Reading Period (a Monday and Tuesday off before midterms in October), of course the most logical thing for us to do was put off having some free time to catch up on all the work that had piled up, and take a drive down to Boston to visit D.H.

D.H. got a job at a consulting firm out of college, so he's living in Boston with another one of our friends, who we'll just call Mystery Man since we always like to joke that women perceive his silence and dark, brooding looks to mean that he must be the most complicated man on the Earth, and thus flock to him, when in reality he's the most simple guy we've ever known. So L. and I packed our things around 10pm Sunday night, go in L.'s trusty Subaru that got us halfway across the country (our Niagara--Cincinnati--St. Louis roadtrip last summer, which I'll probably do a catch-up post about sometime), and set out on the Mass Pike to see D.H.

D.H. had been visiting his father in NYC that weekend, and so he was coming home on a bus as we were driving. Needless to say we got lost once we got off the Pike, because iPhone GPS is just a defunct piece of technology, so we ended up driving near and around the Dorchester/Roxbury at 1 am. If you know anything about Boston, you know that that is the LAST place in the city you want to be early in the morning/late at night, unless of course you're a lone (and stupid) walker or jogger in the Common.

And indeed, we did run into a menace while we were stopped at a stoplight in the area. Can you guess what?...

To be fair, in all the times I've been in Boston (probably around 50 since my house in NH is about 25-30 mins from the city) I've actually never seen a rat. At all the times of day and in all the areas, from Cambridge to Dorchester. So while gross, I was actually quite intrigued.

Anyways, after avoiding muggers, rapists and the ever-dangerous rodent, we arrived in the Brighton-Allston area, and soon enough D.H. arrived home (after his bus had broken down for the second time in as many times he took it that weekend). He set us up on his cozy sectional sofa--which we both managed to squeeze in on for two nights, although I am NOT sure how that happened--and L. passed out almost immediately. D.H. and I, in the meantime, stayed up until about 4 am catching up--even though he had to get up around 8 for work. You've only gotta admire how much this boy loves a conversation, forsaking sleep and, when he was still at Williams with us, keeping caught up on doing work, to keep it going.

So to bed I went, and briefly opened my eyes around 8:45 to see an equally unhappy D.H. about to leave for work. We gave each other bleary-eyed smiles and I went back to sleep, only to be awakened by a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed L. around 9:30, who had fallen asleep around 2am and thus was much, much less grumpy than me.

L. also didn't heed a woman's advice when I advised him that we should bring our own towels, since two 22-year-old recent college graduates bach-ing it up together would be very unlikely to have extra towels (or pillows! Which L. actually let me bring) for us, so when L. and I got showered for the day I got to use the sloppily wet towel after he took a shower. It really brightened my mood for the day.

Insufficiently dry and exhausted, I nonetheless cheered up a bit and D.H. came home to make a quesadilla (I think it's the only thing he knows how to make) for lunch and watch Sports Center, which L. (and I!) happily joined in on. Then we walked D.H. to work and got on the Prudential stop on the Green Line to head to Faneuil Hall, which is basically god's edible gift to the world.

Of course, no visit to Boston would be complete without stopping in a tacky Boston-inspired gifts store:

Then we made the obligatory visit to Newbury Comics, got some lunch and treated ourselves to dessert in Fanueil Hall: me to Columbo Frozen Yogurt and L. to...New England Clam Chowder. (Hey, I never said I loved him for his taste).

L. apparently-happily indulged me in some shopping by trying on a vest at the Gap while I agonized for about 35 mins over the fact that the Gap Boyfriend Sweater I had been eying at the end of the summer when I took a trip to Connecticut with C. was marked down to $12...but the colors I wanted it in were only available in mediums, and even those were huge! So I settled for a deep purple one that will be prime come Homecoming. Apparently that color is elusive since I haven't been able to find it online anywhere.

Exhausted from a day of T-riding and (me from) shopping, we went back to D.H.'s apartment, where I discovered that Knocked Up (aka my favorite movie of all time) was on TBS or some channel like that, and I was so content to take off my boots and curl up on the sectional that when D.H. arrived home ready to go for a walk around the Charles, I was having none of it.

After relaxing for another hour or so the three of us decided to stop being little girls (well, really the two of them did), and got ready for a night out on the town. D.H. wanted to point out some of his favorite stores, which all included really loud music and too-trendy men that we laughed at him for, and we walked down Newbury Street. After waiting patiently for the boys to play with all the shiny and expensive toys in the Apple Store, they agreed it was time for MY part of the night: going to my favorite Boston restaurant, Fire + Ice.

Fire + Ice is any foodie's dream come true. It's basically a giant donut-shaped grill (I think it's the biggest grill in the US) in the middle of the restaurant with raw bars all around filled with anything for vegans, South Beach Dieters like myself, or just plain old gluttons. There's fresh veggies, beef, poultry, pasta, sausage, seafood, burgers, rice, and so many delicious sauces. You pay one flat rate which is usually around $17 for dinner and get to go up to the grill as many times as you want. It's just glorious. PLUS we had discovered that morning that Monday night was College Night, which meant all-you-can-eat for $11!

Unfortunately, it also meant that around 8:00 on a Monday night, the wait was an hour and 45 mins long, so after getting our line-holder from the World's Bitchiest Host (a guy), we decided to go to Starbucks and wait it out. L.'s expression catches all our sentiments about the matter...

...Except for D.H., who is made as happy by chocolate-y drinks as an eight year old boy...

But his happiness was contagious, and soon enough L. and I cheered up too, although our tummies did not...

After Starbucks we went to go visit L.'s and D.H.'s friend D. McD., who graduated with D.H. and who was a member of L.'s a cappella group. (Here they are in concert. It's great stuff). D. Mc D. is currently living in a converted hotel that's part of the YWCA, which is about as funny as it gets.

FINALLY, it was an hour and a half after they had told us the wait was an hour and forty five minutes, so we headed back, where Bitchy Host told us they had called us "forever ago" and we'd have to wait. I'm sorry, but this is just not acceptable. If a restaurant overquotes your wait time, and you still show up 15 mintues earlier than they told you to, and they STILL tell you they called you "forever ago" and act like it's your fault, ask to speak to the manager. At Applebee's, we're trained to quote 5 mins per every 3 names on the waitlist, and if for some reason I do massively overquote someone, I always make sure to apologize, accept full responsibility, and give them the next available open table.

Anyways, not even terrible host could ruin the Fire + Ice experience for me. It was everything we could have dreamed and more, and after going back up three times and eating bites of the boys' burgers, we headed back to D.H.'s apartment around 10:30 completely stuffed, got out some ice cream, and the three of us settled down on the couch for some quality Gossip Girl time, which of course D.H. had had the foresight to TiVo for us.

We had another late night of chatting with D.H., and grabbed lunch with him in the Pru (Panda Express! Orange Chicken! mmmmmm) before heading back home, hardly relaxed, and certainly more stressed in terms of doing work than before we had gone. (To be fair, though, the paper I hurriedly scrambled to finish Sunday night before we left after making the deal with myself that if I didn't finish it, we couldn't go, got an A, so I'm pleased we went.)

Of course, that was over a week ago and Midterms have since kicked in and proceeded to ruin my life. Although, I did just recently turn in a pretty amazing paper if I do say so myself, during the writing of which I learned that Lincoln was a dirty unconstitutionalist! It was a sad day for American History Loving Michelle, but I think the paper turned out pretty well.

[Images via Fire + Ice, and me, for probably the first time on this blog]


  1. I've always wanted to go to Boston, and I've always wanted to go to Fire and Ice! Sounds like a great time, even though some of it was frustrating. Good luck with midterms, they are so taxing aren't they?

  2. Fire and Ice really needs to create a delivery service-- you order the raw ingredients online, they prepare it and bring it to you! =) I mean, after all I AM only three hours from Boston!

    Thanks! Midterms are exhausting. I think I'd rather be a science person (like L.--lucky guy!) and just study for exams than read three novels and write three 10 page papers all in a week's time....