Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Boston Experience

Patrick and I were both anxious to go to Boston. We were in dire need of a getaway, and since Boston is only a few hours from where we're living, it set itself up nicely to be the perfect trip.

Then tragedy hit.

We knew the heartbreaking, horrific event last Monday would affect our trip, but we could never foresee what was going to take place once we actually arrived.

As we pulled into our charming bed & breakfast on Thursday, we quickly parked our car and starting walking to our first planned stop without even checking in.

Patrick, being an engineer, wanted to check out MIT, so we leisurely strolled through the campus before getting on the train to Cambridge for a tour of Harvard. We were in awe of the beautiful spring day and the historic buildings that lined the streets. Once we decided that we had seen enough of MIT, we searched for the nearest transit. Being that we just arrived, we had no idea where to look, so we found an MIT police parked on campus to ask. In his deepest Boston accent, he promptly explained exactly where we needed to go.

We found our way to the infamous gate leading into Harvard's campus and immediately caught up with a student-led tour, which was led by a very well-spoken, knowledgeable, humorous young man. I would expect nothing less by a Harvard student. This is a must do if you ever plan a Boston trip.

After our brains were full of Harvard knowledge, we enjoyed a picnic in Harvard yard.

We carried on with our afternoon by strolling through the streets of Cambridge before heading back to our room to get ready for a date in the North End, which is most readily known as "Little Italy." We dined at an amazing Italian restaurant, which was a real treat because I typically only recommend restaurants that I have coupons for. Then we grabbed a couple cannolis at Mike's Pastry before we called it a successful first day.

 Being the early risers that we are, we woke up before 7 and promptly turned on the news. Every channel had breaking news coverage of the two bombers: "One dead, the other on the loose." Anything that is said to be "on the loose" doesn't settle well with anyone, even if it's only a wild monkey. But a teenage mass murderer on the loose in the city that you're currently in is quite eerie.

My first thought, "The police and F.B.I are far too smart to not capture this guy in the next hour or so."


And second, "We just talked to an MIT policeman yesterday!"(Thankfully, it wasn't the same man, though our prayers go out the victim's family.)

An hour went by and the mayor came on the news and shut down the entire city. This was serious. Still I thought it would only last a couple hours. We had a Red Sox game to go to that night, so they needed to catch him before game time. (At least that was our selfish thoughts at the time.) Patrick and I tried to make the most of the morning by chatting with the other residents and sitting out on the porch swing, but the frustration of staying put on a sunny 70 degree day with a list of activities to check off was getting the best of me.

My moodiness only got worse as the hours were ticking by. Yes, people, I get moody. It's unbearable at times. That's why God blessed me with such a patient man. I just felt like our entire trip with all of our Living Social coupons, history tours, and a Red Sox game, which was canceled, had been ruined all because of a stupid 19-year-old boy.

The B&B kindly prepared a meal for all us since every restaurant and store within a thirty mile radius was closed. As soon as we returned to our room we noticed a riveting scene on the news. They found the guy, but was trying to take him alive. It was like watching a suspenseful movie, but no clear end was in sight. We wanted to go downtown since the holds were released by the mayor, but it was hard to pry away from such an exciting scene knowing that it was taking place less than 10 miles away. There was no telling how long this capture would take, so we went to the oddly vacant downtown streets for a little while only to return to exciting news, "The police captured the hostage alive!"

We originally planned to head back to Maine the following afternoon, but Patrick refused to let this trip go to waste. He talked to the inn keeper, and luckily they had a few cancellations, so we decided to stay an extra night. We got to go on our Duck Boat tour Saturday morning and found a pair of tickets to the Red Sox game that afternoon. If we were ever going to go to a Sox game, Saturday's game was the one to go to.

They honored the police who had just captured the bomber, Tito Ortiz gave a shocking, yet chilling speech, and Neal Diamond even came out after the 7th inning to sing "Sweet Caroline."

It was also nice the Ortiz hit a home run in the 8th to lead the Sox to a win over the Royals.

That night we went to Boylston Street where people had started a memorial for the bombing victims. To witness a crowd of people fixated on a wall of posters, flags, flowers, and hand-written prayers and notes was chilling. To think of what had just occurred right down the street and how the people of Boston were coming together to support one other was a moment I hope to never forget.

To conclude our trip, the next morning we completed the Freedom Trail (a 2.5 mile route that takes you through all of the historical sites) and made our way back north.

Patrick and I thought we had planned the perfect Boston vacation. Though it may seem like the tragic events ruined our once "perfect" plans, they only made them that much more memorable and meaningful than they ever would have been otherwise. I'm proud that I got to witness a strong city become even stronger, and the goodness pouring out of our God and the nation that He protects and loves.

(More pictures will be/have been posted on my Facebook)

- Diana

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