Sending Love To Boston, My Second Hometown


It just feels ridiculous to talk solely about mascara and hairspray today in the wake of such senseless tragedy in a city I love so much. I feel powerless in New York at the moment and want to help. I am so impressed by the countless acts of kindness happening in Beantown, especially the marathon runners who continued running straight to Mass General Hospital to give blood. They did not pass go, nor collect $200. Blood donors were eventually turned away, as so many people responded and donated. Boston is such a wonderful city. I’m so glad the friends of mine who live there (and one classmate/friend who doesn’t who ran the marathon and was just a few blocks from the blast) are safe. 

The new indication
I’m about to tell a long story.

Somehow, the best way for me to cope in the wake of such tragedy and send my love to Boston is to talk about why it’s such a special place. I spent four years there, some of the best of my life. I’m heartbroken for this town of academics, transient residents and locals who are the real heart of the entire joint. I’ve always had an attachment to it because my Jane-Pratt confirmed emotional age is 18 and this is where I lived that very year. 

I moved there in 1998 to attend Boston University having only visited for a weekend. It was not love at first sight. At first, it was a strange, chillier place with red architecture and a stunning lack of Amoroso rolls and a flagrant disregard for what passes for “sub sandwiches,” which was off-putting to an overly weight-conscious teen who lived solely on Wawa turkey hoagies with vinegar for the past year prior to my move. I was initially horrified that my name would be “Ambah” for the next four years. I was “lucky” to be placed in a hard-to-get-into dorm with upperclassmen and one other freshman (one of my two roommates), who mainly had already established friendships, making the experience very different from a typical first-year dorm. It took a while for me to get the hang of it. I considered a transfer to another school. People kept making fun of the way I said things like “phone.” I became aware I had a Philadelphia accent. My suburban ass FELL the first time I got on the T. 

But then, I made what felt like a million friends through my classes. I discovered that what this place lacked in bread they made up for in seafood. I fell in love with urban life, culture, literature, law, Irish pubs, Euro-trash music-rocked clubs, coffee/cafe culture, academia itself (so intertwined with the very culture of the city), French, writing (which began as letters to boys–gag), magical frozen yogurt via delivery from Angora Cafe, body piercings (it was the ’90s and I was trying to be edgy, unsuccessfully–within my first week, I got my nose pierced in Downtown Crossing. Carol cried when she picked me up at the airport for Rosh Hashana), sushi, stalking Ben Affleck, the Red Sox (living mere blocks from Fenway means I will never be a fan of the blue pinstriped, no matter where I live), virile gentlemen whom I vastly prefer to the delicately styled guys in NYC who rock more hair product than I, driving like a maniac (I can parallel park in seconds to this day–try getting a spot on Comm Ave for a class without snatching THAT skill), rowers, makeup (I lived with 6 other girls my final 3 years and did at least half the house’s makeup every night we went out, AKA every night of my life. 7 girls, 7 makeup stashes. It was an education, to say the least), and so, so much more. 

Some of my favorite memories there are of the Boston Marathon. I was crestfallen to learn that New York, land of bigger and better everything, does NOT have the monopoly on marathon merriment. Patriots’ Day is a state-specific holiday to Massachusetts. Everyone has off from work/school, and everyone cares DEEPLY about the marathon and watching it and drinking at it (if they’re not running it) and generally causing a ruckus (in a good way). Everyone knows a Kenyan will win. Everyone keeps an eye out for Dick and Rick Hoyt. Everyone is positively ELATED that it’s finally warmed up in a place so bitter cold that my eyes blur in this very specific way that only Boston’s wind can cause. When spring arrives in Boston, there’s flat-out celebration, because its inhabitants have truly earned it and that feeling absolutely colors Marathon Monday. Some of the most fun I’ve had ever happened on that day. 

And now some scumbag has taken the lives of innocent people and cast a pall on such a joyous occasion celebrating runners and their incredible accomplishments and we still don’t know who did it, or why. But Boston is strong. I would not want to mess with them, lest you be on the receiving end of some major shit.

As Sarah Silverman pointed out, the Wahlbergs alone

I heart Boston.


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