Orville and Buck

Friday morning we left Albany and finished our trek across the states of New York and Massachusetts. And please note, if you ever drive around the East Coast, be aware of expensive tolls. I think we probably spent about $40 on tolls, mostly crossing New York and Massachusetts. Dad pointed out these states have large snow removal costs, and I can't complain — the roads are in good shape with lots of clean food/gas plazas (unlike 1-70 through Pennsylvania).

massachusetts welcomes you
(I like how the sign is slightly different than the standard state sign: "Massachusetts welcomes you" as if the whole state is happy you are there.)

We stopped at one of these plazas before heading into the city of Boston. We hadn't heard the accent until we made this stop. It didn't really hit me until that moment, how different our new home is from our old one. And I confess, we did eat McDonald's. But it was cheap. You can't do healthy and cheap very well while traveling, and with no income yet, cheap wins.

We got to the apartment just a bit after lunchtime, and Micki and Grandma Judy arrived almost at the same time. They said everyone was very helpful as they navigated public transportation from the airport to our doorstep. Caleb, fellow Kansan and grad student at BU, also came to help us move. And Caleb, I can't tell you how much that helped. Without you, we would still have been moving boxes the next day.

After all of our possessions were out of the truck and in our new home, we crossed the back parking lot to a pizza place to order out some dinner. Exhausted but full, Caleb headed home and we got settled as much as possible. This involved an unsuccessful attempt to find the shower curtain hooks, baths, and beds. I, however, couldn't retire until I got out the KitchenAid from Grandma. It patiently waited 1.83 years for this day. I didn't want it to wait any longer.

kitchenaid waiting to be unpacked
carefully placing it on the counter
admiring the shiny kitchenaid

The KitchenAid and I are both happy it's home.

Saturday we took the Penske, dropped off Grandma Judy and Micki to get groceries, and headed to IKEA for our missing furniture (sofa, bookshelves, lighting for the living room which has no fixture, etc.). We went in with a list and a $1000. I felt like we were on an HGTV show, coming in just under budget. We love our new furniture, despite the difficulties in getting it up to the third floor. The sofa required two attempts — Micki and Ian finally got it. I'll post photos of everything once it's all presentable (not perfect, just not obscured by boxes).

Sunday was our exploring day. Grandma Judy had never been to Boston and we wanted to show her around. So we started with the office. They have a beautiful view of the Charles River, and the building, an old paper mill, is very interesting. After Fox gave us the Sasaki tour, we went to his favorite restaurant in Watertown — The Upper Crust.

the ceiling at the upper crust

They serve fantastic pizza by the slice!

After lunch, Fox headed back to the office and we took the bus to Hahvahd. When we got off the bus, a nice man named Orville helped me get Charlie Cards and figure out our best options, as new residents. A memorable name for a memorable man. It's very nice to find someone so friendly and helpful!

After a stop at The COOP, Ian led us around campus. I think the ivy isn't QUITE as big as Cornell's (Dad) but it is a beautiful school.

not quite as big as cornell's
beautiful windows

We also managed to accidentally wander in the student dining center. I snapped a photo before a staff person very politely asked us to leave. It looks like Hogwarts.

memorial hall

We next headed to the Holocaust Memorial. On the way, Grandma Judy met a guy.

judy found herself a man

I don't think it will get very serious though. He's not much of a communicator.

The New England Holocaust Memorial is a very moving experience. Six towers of glass representing the six main Nazi death camps funnel steam, evoking the images of the crematories. Covering every inch of the glass towers are numbers, just like the tattooed numbers of holocaust victims. Although filled with visitors, it is peaceful, allowing visitors to reflect on the quotes and images of the memorial. Small stones resting on top of the entrance markers are placed by visitors — I was told its Jewish tradition to leave stones to remember things (like in the Old Testament).

the things i saw beggar description
stones to remember
they have even taken away our names
a view down the memorial

After spending some time at the memorial, we took a trolley tour of the city — our feet were tired and it's nice to hear extra info about the places you're seeing. Buck, our tour guide was great — lots of fun stories and interesting facts. I'd definitely recommend Old Town Trolley Tours.

We finished up the day with dinner at The Barking Crab, where Fox met us. Great food, but the portions are huge. If we do it again, we'll definitely be sharing more.

Yesterday, we enjoyed our final moments with Grandma Judy and Micki before accompanying them to the airport and seeing them off. It was strange saying goodbye. After being with family since July, it's different now that it's just the two of us, asking "what now?" But we're excited to find out!