Monday, August 6, 2018

Shipping up to Boston

"I'm a sailor peg
And I've lost my leg
Climbing up the top sails
I lost my leg!
I'm shipping up to Boston
I'm shipping off to find my wooden leg"
- "Shipping up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys

Friends, I am headed home. This trip has been absolute insanity, but I am grateful for every moment of it. I have met with colleagues and visited with friends. I have picked up samples and searched for more. I have finished writing a scientific paper. Altogether, I have been in 7 countries in 3 weeks; I have had 4 different currencies in my wallet, and I have been at every latitude from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. I. Am. Exhausted.

Usually, when I walk through the international terminal of any major airport, I scan the possible destinations and think to myself "I'd like to go there," "Oh, I'd love to go there," and "Ooh, I wish I was going there." Then I'll arrive at my gate, read the name of some American city, and totally deflate. I'll exhale a long sigh and shrug, "Well, I guess I'm going there."

Not today. Today, when I scanned the monitor, I read the names of all the places I could fly and didn't react at all. Then when my eyes finally found Boston on the list, my heart jumped. "Yes, Boston," I thought, "My airport. Home."

I never expected to feel this way about Massachusetts. Actually, I don't know if I expected to ever feel this way about anywhere. I pride myself on my mobility, on my ability to turn any place into a home, but that talent also involves being totally uncommitted. You can literally drop me anywhere in the world, and I will make friends, learn the local culture, and make the place my own. But I've never found a place that I wanted to stay any longer than originally planned.

With Massachusetts, it's different. I don't have to try to feel at home - I just slide right in. It's like the state was always there, waiting for me, ready to accept me as one of its own.

I'm shipping up to Boston. Friends, I'm going home.

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