Friday, August 27, 2010

My Boston Harbor Love Story

The lobster traps have all been pulled up, the fishing rods are all de-hooked, the sailing centers are empty, and the incredible co-workers that surrounded me all summer are heading back to school. It's bittersweet, for sure, as all goodbyes tend to be. But my overwhelming feelings, even as I said goodbye to BJ before he left for his first year of college, and even as Conor and I painstakingly organized all of our equipment for its winter hibernation, are of contentment and joy.

Why? Because with the end of the youth programs comes the end of my first summer as a Bostonian, which is actually not an ending at all, but a joyful beginning. I consider this summer my own personal success story of setting out on my own and finding a place where I belong. It's such an amazing feeling to know for certain that this was what I was supposed to do, and where I was meant to be, for the last 9 weeks. And while you might even argue that no one who has lived here less than three months is allowed to refer to herself as a Bostonian, I'm going to have to disagree. Try moving here in the gorgeous summer weather and immersing yourself in everything the city has to offer. Eat new types of food, see Shakespeare on the Common, watch the 4th of July fireworks against the city skyline. Try working in the Seaport district, Charlestown, Quincy, East Boston, Dorchester, South Boston, and on the Harbor Islands-- and learning the bus, train, car, and boat routes between them all. But most importantly, try being in touch with the city's natural environment, and sharing it with the city's next generation, every single day. Then tell me you're not in love with this city. Tell me you wouldn't feel like a true Bostonian, too.

Thank you to everyone who welcomed me to this new home: Lindsay and Jen, thank you for your constant support and guidance. Bruce and Patty, thank you for the opportunity to be a part of our organization's amazing efforts and of this amazing group of people specifically. To my coworkers-- I've said this before, I've learned so much from you this summer -- not only about things like music and movies and frisbee, but about strength and selflessness and passion. Thank you for that. And to the children of Boston that crowded the beaches, docks, sailing centers, and boats this summer-- thank you for reminding me of the wonder only a child can possess, and for helping me discover that I want to make education a part of my life for many years to come. You were the reason we got up so early, sweated through the hot days, and shivered through the downpours... so that you could be the next generation of Harbor stewards. Thank you for exploring the Harbor with us.

I am sad to see the seasons changing and the youth programs ending, but I am grateful for the gifts this summer has given me. Surrounded by a network of both old and new friends, anxiously awaiting my move into my new Cambridge apartment on September 1st, and guided by a phenomenal summer's memories, I see a long love affair with Boston, and its Harbor, stretched out before me. Hope to see you all again along the way.

Lots of Harbor Love,
Michelle Palermino

No comments: