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Published: November 20th 2006
East Coast Lobster
Misha and I playing with our lobsters before tearing them to pieces
I didn’t think I would be returning to America until after I was done with JET and my travels, meaning November 2007 (yikes!). Around June last year I was beginning to really miss home. I also had a special someone I wanted to visit back in Boston. What can I say….I caved. I was bound for the motherland. Maybe there is something in the water in Hiroshima left over from the a-bomb or something…because somehow I booked a flight not to California, but back to Boston to visit Misha (see HK and Philippines blogs), bringing the Southeast Asian romance to the Western Hemisphere. Lucky me with parents that love me, they flew out to meet me as well, and I have a bunch of friends now in Boston, so I got to see more than just Misha. In addition I hadn’t been to Boston since I was in elementary school so it was going to be fun exploring the city all over again. To hell with all these excuses though, I was going home to America!!!!
I arrived late in Boston on a Friday night after my LONG flight from Osaka. I was so excited to see Misha that as
Looking out to Boston
I walked down to get my bag and run out to meet him I passed him! Misha and I are not too good on these airport meetings, as we had a similar experience in Hong Kong. Misha was dressed up, holding a sign reading “Keishi Rari” decorated with Cal slogans and our Greek affiliations…I was beyond elated to see him!
Saturday…first meal…A BURRITO!!! It was soooo nice to have food that cost less than five dollars that was not from a convenience store, and it was MEXICAN FOOD! Although it did not hold a candle to the stuff we get in Cali, it was amazing. After that Misha took me walking down by the Charles River for a bit of a surprise. Walking along the river I was looking at all the sailboats and taking photos because they are indeed one of my weaknesses in life. I even was on the Cal sailing team for one day, before I realized I did not have time to commit to the team. We stopped at the MIT sailing house - we were going sailing! I was so excited, until I watched Misha as he tried to assemble our sailboat. Finally, one
Misha and I post-sailing, post cap-sizing.
of the staff members came over and put the boat together for us. As he left he said to me “I hope you can swim.” We set sail on a glorious Saturday afternoon on the Charles River. The wind was strong and Misha was doing pretty well, especially for only being his third time. Going with the wind was his strong point. We ran into trouble trying to go against the wind, and came very close to running into the bridge. I became a backseat driver trying to tell Misha what to do, which in turn only made things worse. All of a sudden, there was a gust of wind and before I knew our sailboat was tipping, tipping, capsizing in the dirty Charles River. I started screaming as I fell into the water. Misha claims he saved the day because he quickly swam to the back and stood on the rudder, pushing the sailboat upright, all the while I am floating in the scummy water. We were definitely causing a scene, especially when Misha would not pull me back into the boat and I screamed even louder. What a spectacle! We somehow managed to make it back to the
Misha outside his main building ie home for the next 5 years
dock in one piece without hitting any bridges or other boats. By the time we got back we were almost dry so hardly any clues that we had fallen in the water!
That night we headed over to watch the Cal vs. Minnesota game with the Cal alumni club. We met up with my best guy friend, Adam Deromedi, at MIT. Now, I hadn’t seen Adam since June the previous year. When I saw his figure in the distance I started sprinting towards him! It was amazing to see Adam! He is going to Harvard for grad school. At the bar I was denied and had to trek all the way back to MIT to get my ID. I hadn’t been carded in 13 months! At the game we met up with my other friends Lauren and Christina. Like Adam, these girls are some of my closest friends...seeing them again for the first time sind May last year was also amazing! So I was with Misha- going to MIT for 2 masters and a PhD, Adam- going to Harvard for a masters, Christina- going to Harvard for a masters, and Lauren- going to Columbia for medical school. What can
At the bar watching the Bears beat the Minnesota goafers
I say? I was the black sheep of the crew! Cal kids tend to go far! I indulged in a wheat beer as Cal was victorious over Minnesota.
Sunday we all went to watch a Red Socks game. This is something that everyone says you must do once. The tickets are sold out for three years. Red Socks fans are intense, all decked out in red, cheering, and constant waves throughout the entire game. Despite having a bad team this season, they won!
Monday Misha and everyone else had to get back to school and their real lives, as I got to go sightseeing. I headed over to Harvard and met up with Lauren before she went back to NYC and we toured the campus a bit. That afternoon I went to do some sightseeing in Boston, hitting up all the historical sights and the Freedom Trail. Oddly enough, I totally remembered everything from when I was there back in elementary school. Wandering the freedom trail I ran into a Japanese tourist and got to bust out my Japanese skills. I loved listening to the Boston accents all day. They absolutely crack me up. All of Boston is
Damn jetlag, yet gave me some good photos!
brick, which I am obsessed with, so I had so much fun wandering the streets late into the evening before I met back up with Mish. That night Misha and I met up and indulged in Clam Chowder and fried Calamari. I was putting all sushi and Japanese food on hold for the week.
Tuesday I did one of my favorite things in the world- got my hair cut! While there my parents arrived. I had never been so excited to see them. That afternoon we walked the main shopping area, hitting up my favorites like Banana Republic, Mac, and H&M. Shopping at stores where the clothes fit me! I was quite surprised to see some of the “in” clothing at some of the stores. Layering was a really big deal- very similar to what was in style in Japan LAST year. Needless to say, I steered clear of those fashion options. I stopped at a street market and saw that peaches were so cheap! I am used t paying $1-2 for one peach. I only paid 50 cents! That was awesome! That night we met up with our family friends, and indulged in a lobster dinner. More than
half of my trip revolved around food…..
Wednesday Misha and I headed to the Boston Art Gallery for one of his classes. The museum had some great exhibits. I got in trouble for talking on my cell phone, and Misha got in trouble for playing the piano- always keeping things interesting. That night was a very special night for me because all my Berkeley friends, came to the Simmons’ house for a home cooked dinner: steak, lasagna, Caesar salad, and a few bottles of wine. There is honestly nothing better in life than a home cooked meal by Janet Lary. My other friend Andy also came. Everyone decided to sit around telling drunken stories about me from college to Misha, including my parents. Not so good!
Thursday, my last day back in the states, I spent time with Adam in the morning and checked out Harvard. It has always been a dream of mine to go there and walking around there just made me itching to go there even more. I went shopping again, and met up with Andy for drinks. That night Misha and I headed to little Italy for a last meal. Early Friday I was
I'm a smoot!
So across one of the bridges from Boston to Cambridge, they have 'smoot' measurements. One fraternity at MIT measured the smallest member of their pledge class across the bridge. I am just about the height of one Smoot!
headed for the airport on my way back to Japan.
So my trip back to the states was such a tease. It definitely was not long enough! It was AWESOME to be around people who spoke English. It just felt so comfortable. I could ask people for directions and could understand every word they said (well, sometimes those Boston accents were a lil tough). I did miss alcohol being sold everywhere and lacked the vending machines everywhere. It was amazing to see Misha, my parents, and my friends. Honestly, no matter where I am, family and friends are the things that get you by. Eating was fabulous. I couldn’t believe the size of so many of the portions- much bigger than in Japan- even the size of a can of tuna fish! I definitely picked up some Japanese mannerisms, like how I motion “no” that Misha (having been in Japan) liked to make fun of me for doing. Being back also solidified my desire to go to graduate school. Boston has a cazillion colleges and is swarming with young people. I honestly miss the academic atmosphere and learning, yet also must realize that grad school isn’t undergrad. My four
Home of the famous Boston Red Sox
nights a week of drinking will not continue to happen at grad school. We will see where I end up post-JET. Harvard is a dream that’s for sure!
As for Misha and I….here concludes the end of my Southeast Asian romance. I always said that the Western Hemisphere wasn’t ready for us, but well, I think WE weren’t ready for the Western Hemisphere. We met randomly in Japan, after failing to cross paths at Berkeley. We had to go halfway around the world to meet. What I thought was going to be a crush, something that I would re-encounter years down the road at a Cal football game, turned into a full-fledged romance. The ones you only read about and dream about happening to you. I thought we would meet again someday, take one look at each other and think about what might have been and what could have happened, instantly going back to the moment I last saw him as I got on that train to go home, Misha on his way to Mongolia. Instead we were young, carefree, controlled by passion, desire, and spontaneity. Odds were against it ever happening. We went against all odds and gave
It isn't a baseball game without some overpriced beer!
them a run for their money. It was romantic, fun, and I can say I fell head-over-heels in love. In the end, only to hit reality and go about our futures like originally planned: 5 years at MIT and another year in Japan. One last attempt to oppose reality and finally, succumbing to it. I always say that regret is a sin. But for once, probably the first time ever, I have made myself too vulnerable where I am not sure not regretting is feasible. Looking back, I would think twice now about stepping on that plane to HK. With the way things have panned out now, I can’t say that I don’t regret anything. You'll have to ask me that again in a year...
The states were fun, but my time in Asia isn’t up yet…I still have to become the Hiroshima Flower Princess! Back to Japan…currently….homeward bound.
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