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Trying new things.

Did you know that in Boston the Bank of America have ATM-greeters? Seriously. People stand in there next to the door, dressed in their finest layers and layers of scarves and hats and dodgy coats, and when you go in to get cash or deposit checks, someone always is there to say, “How ARE you today?” (Trust me. They have the extra emphasis on the “are.”)

Truth be told, it’s actually not greeters who are hired by Bank of America, although I’m sure you knew that. More often than not it’s homeless people who are just trying to get out of the cold and slip inside after someone. Just for safety’s sake, I’ve always kind of avoided going into those ATM’s if I notice people in there, unless they are actually doing some sort of transaction at the machine. It makes me a little nervous, otherwise.

That brings me to my point: homeless people. I know this sounds terrible, but I am never quite sure what to do or say when they ask for change when I’m walking by. (I mean, I’m not saying there’s tons, but you know, they’re there.) Normally I just keep my eyes forward, continue walking and try not to make eye contact. The other day there was a man on the corner at Brigham Circle. He was standing in front of 7-Eleven, asking for change for coffee. This was one of those times where I got caught off-guard and felt like he was asking me a direct question, so I said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any change on me.” And just kept walking. That should have been the end of it, right?

Wrong.

I actually was going to get coffee and breakfast. I sat there for a while in the coffee shop, eating my food and reading my book. I was enjoying getting out of the cold and wind and just relaxing for a few minutes. I finally left the shop, coffee in hand, and started walking back home. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about the man on the corner who had asked me for change for coffee. When I saw him, he just looked at me. And I looked back and didn’t know what to say. I felt terrible, because really? I know I don’t need to be giving stuff to every person I see, but that just made me feel awful. I considered giving him my coffee for a minute, but I kept walking and then the moment had passed. I was disappointed in myself.

On a happier note, this weekend was pretty quiet. I finally gave myself permission to get a few new books (yes, I am lame), and have been reading like crazy. I read ‘The Almost Moon’ by Alice Sebold, who is the author of ‘The Lovely Bones,’ one of my other favorite books. It was an intense book. I loved it, but I was horrified by it at the same time. That’s the thing about Sebold: The subjects in her books are like that. It’s like a car crash–you can’t look away, only in this case, it’s impossible to stop reading. I remember thinking, “Why am I reading this?” and yet…I couldn’t put it down and stayed up until four this morning finishing it. That’s the mark of a talented author. I envy her.

I started reading ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genuis’ by Dave Eggers this morning. Five pages in and ten minutes of giggling later I can tell this book is going to be entertaining. I’m looking forwrad to sitting down today and reading it. 🙂 I chose this book because I’m thinking of attending a book club for people in their 20s in Cambridge and this is their book they are reading this month. I’m trying to do anything I can to meet people in Boston, and I figured a book club would be a great place for me to start. So we’ll see if I can work up the courage to go.

Next on my list of books is ‘The Abstinence Teacher’ by Tom Perrotta and ‘The Weight of Silence’ by Heather Gudenkauf. There are a few other books I want to read, such as ‘This is How’ by M.J. Hyland and ‘Seven Types of Ambiguity’ by Elliot Perlman, but I haven’t picked those up yet. I need to peruse some secondhand books stores in Boston to find all these titles. It definitely would be cheaper, and there’s something special about a book that’s been passed around. I like knowing it fell into my hands. (Bam! I just solidified my status as a  lame book lover.)

Since I’ve been to Boston I’ve been making an effort to make sure that I try something new each week. I tried two new things this weekend that I’ve been wanting to do.

Friday night one of my new friends, who is a student at the Museum of Fine Arts and an artist who has had shows in several different countries, took me to First Friday at the MFA and to a bunch of different art galleries. Like the First Friday Art Trail in Lubbock, the first Friday of the month is when art galleries have openings and show off their new artists.

Honestly? I fell in love with the entire evening. That culture, that world, is what I’d hoped to get wrapped up in when I came to Boston. I love art, but I never had been exposed to it before now. One of the things I was excited about when I moved up here was getting exposed to art.

The evening began with us walking all the way to South End from my apartment. On a side note, the South End is awesome. It’s completely idyllic. There are streets and streets of brownstones. The basement apartments have ground-level patios, which makes the whole thing completely parisian. The trees lining the residential streets bend and the branches all meet together at the top, so it forms some sort of amazing canopy. If I thought it was this gorgeous in the dead of winter, I can only imagine what it looks like in the spring or fall. I can’t wait to see it.

The galleries were so interesting. What I like about contemporary art is that I felt like I never knew exactly what I was looking at. One of my favorite exhibits, that I can’t remember the name of, featured a woman who did a unique type of painting. It was similar  to a collage. My absolute favorite was done in blues and purples and turquoises. I thought it looked like if you took a peacock feather and put it under a microscope and dug around in all the layers of the feathers, that is what’d you see. I really like that description. I almost said it to the artist, but then I didn’t want to offend her. My friend said I should have told her. He’s probably correct.

Besides the art, I also loved listening to all the people around me at the galleries. Like I said, I’d never been to anything like this before, and it was fun to hear what other people thought about the exhibits. I like knowing how many different interpretations of one thing there can be. It really shows how differently people think about things. We really are a culture of free-thinkers.

I’m looking forward to going to more art shows and art museums. We ended the evening at the MFA. It was pretty amazing. I need to go back and really take more time and examine everything. But since it’s twenty bucks to get in, I’m waiting until I have an entire day to devote to it. I have to make sure and get my money’s worth. 🙂

Later this week I might go to the ICA, the Institute of Contemporary Art. It’s free on Thursdays after 5 p.m., so it should be a good way to while away an evening.

The second new thing I tried out this weekend was yoga. I had done it one other time in my life a few summers ago, and loved it then. There’s a place called the Back Bay Yoga Studio and it has $5 yoga classes. AND they’re 90-minute classes, so it really is a bargain. I went yesterday and LOVED it. I may make it a Saturday ritual. Of course, today I’m extremely sore. But it feels good.

I feel like going to that class really shows how Boston is slowly changing me into a less self-conscious person. I told my dad that I went to the class and his surprise that I went without knowing anyone really humbled me. I’m glad that I’m learning to just do the things I want and not worry so much. And that was what I focused on during the class: Worrying about just ME and not what anyone else thought about me in the class. Since I was so new at yoga I knew I’d look awkward. But I didn’t want to ruin the experience by stressing out over if people were laughin at me because I was shaking or not doing the pose completely perfectly. And when I stopped worrying I had a fantastic time. I feel like I’m becoming just a little braver.

I even saw someone I knew in the class. How does that happen? It made me feel good.

Oh, yeah, hey guys. I forgot. I GOT A JOB. I’m going to be a personal assistant to a wedding dress designer. As my best friend put it, it’s completely bizarre and something that only I could find, but yes, it’s a job. 🙂 I start the 15th, so I’ll know more about what the job entails then.

If you’re still reading, kudos. This was long.

Love to everyone.

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