The Scamp and Beantown: Day 4

Three words: Boston Public Library

I’m in love with libraries. Outside of teaching, working in libraries is the only job I have ever had. The Boston Public library is really a thing of beauty. According to their website:

Established in 1848, by an act of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts, the Boston Public Library (BPL) was the first large free municipal library in the United States. The Boston Public Library’s first building of its own was a former schoolhouse located on Mason Street that was opened to the public on March 20, 1854. The library’s collections approximated 16,000 volumes, and it was obvious from the day the doors were first opened that the quarters were inadequate.

In December of that same year the library’s Commissioners were authorized to locate a new building upon a lot on Boylston Street. The present Copley Square location has been home to the library since 1895, when architect Charles Follen McKim completed his “palace for the people.”

In the latter half of the 19th century, the library worked vigorously to develop and expand its branch system. Viewed as a means to extend the library’s presence throughout the city, the branch system evolved from an idea in 1867 to a reality in 1870, when the first branch library in the United States was opened in East Boston. Between 1872 and 1900, 21 more branches began serving communities throughout Boston’s diverse neighborhoods.

In 1972, the library expanded its Copley Square location with the opening of an addition designed by Philip Johnson. Today, the McKim building houses the BPL’s vast research collection and the Johnson building holds the circulating collection of the general library and serves as headquarters for the Boston Public Library’s 24 branch libraries.

The entrance to the library is a grand marble staircase with two lions on guard.

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Sus and I were able to wander around and see the murals and the art that seems to be around every corner, and made it to the rare book room that houses some letters and correspondence from famous authors.

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In addition to the books, the library had some maps on display. I would love to find some prints of them and hang them on my wall.

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The library was not the only place of beauty we ventured into though. We also went into Trinity Church. Recognized as one of the most significant buildings in America, Trinity Church took shape on marshland in Boston’s Back Bay in the 1870’s. It really is beautiful building, and the pictures that I took really do not do it justice.

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Our next destination landed us at the Skywalk Observatory 55 floors above the city. We had a 360 degree view of Boston, and learned some interesting facts about the immigrants that choose to settle in the city.

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We ended the day at the Parish Cafe. They are known for sandwiches made by celebrity chefs. I had a couple of ciders and an amazing chicken sandwich while Sus and I debated education, Obamacare and Israel. We found an H&M (Sus’ Mecca) and shopped some sale items.

This was the first day that the cold and all of the walking really got to me. My joints were stiff and sore, and I was in a little bit of pain. I try not to complain about my Lupus too much, but four days of nonstop walking really got to me.

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I have never been so happy for layers in my life. I ended the day preparing for a very important interview and trying not to be nervous about the future.

The Scamp and Beantown: Day 1

Only this girl would book a trip to Boston during the worst snowstorm the city has ever seen. Eight feet of snow is no joke. I took a red eye, and landed at 8 in the morning, and after an hour subway ride, and a ten minute walk in the ice and snow, I made it to the hostel that would serve as home for a few days. I was so tired by the time I got to Boston that I didn’t even notice the cold.

This was my first hostel experience, and I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. I have a lot of friends who stay in hostels, and very few of them have horror stories, but when I got to the 40Berkeley, I was happy that it was in a safe neighborhood, and was reasonably clean.  The room reminded me of the dorm I lived in in Scotland (well, a less clean version) complete with the shared bathroom and uncomfortable cot bed. I was scared that the extreme cold weather would make the room extremely cold, but when I settled in,, the room was a tropical paradise. I was sweating in five minutes, and when the mysteries of the radiator knobs alluded me, I actually opened a window.

It was snowing….

The neighborhood streets had been plowed, and small paths had been cleared on the sidewalks, but it was still hard to get an idea of what anything looked like.

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By the time Sus arrived, it was late afternoon, and both of us were too tired to any real exploring. I knew that I could be in Boston without going to Cheers, so we walked through the Boston Commons, and had a bite where everybody knows your name.

The Boston Commons may be beautiful, but all I saw was 8 feet of snow.

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Chicken II made his first trip out and about, and he enjoyed Cheers.

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In the dark, with snow flurries and jet lag, I was worried that I would not enjoy my trip. I punctuate my life by the adventures that I take, and I was worried that if I did not enjoy the trip, then my mood would not improve.

Then I remembered the gratitude challenge. The challenge for this week was how I am feeling 9 weeks in. While I was worried I would not have fun, I was grateful to be out of California for a few days, and for the chance to experience the snow and Beantown.

I’m really not sure how I feel yet at this stage of the challenge. There are days when I feel like I am becoming a more grateful person, and that I am being reminded of all of the good I am surrounded by, and then there are the days when I feel like running over everyone I come in contact with. I’m hoping as the weeks go by, I will hold onto the positive feelings and become a more grateful person.