Living in the aftermath

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Hello all,

It has been quite some time! Since my last post I have moved back to Boston, found work and volunteering opportunities in places that I enjoy, and begun farming crops (tomatoes, spinach and basil :D) in my 4th floor apartment. Life is busy and life is wonderful. I have not run a 5k yet but I have been weight training and muscle conditioning for the last two months while it has been to cold for me to comfortable run outside. It’s warming up so I think I will begin exploring my new home with my feet soon.

Speaking of running I feel the need to write about the events this past Monday along the course of the Boston Marathon and the feelings it awakened in me as a native New Yorker. On a warm September day just shy of my birthday four planes changed the course of our nation’s history. As I walked home from school with my two best friends that day I knew that nothing would ever be the same. The life I had before that morning in September were the halcyon days of summer. I came of age in the icy grip of fear, terrorism and policies that hurt my people as a citizen of the world.

This past Monday I intened to take some of my students to enjoy their first marathon at Copley Sq. I wasn’t feeling well and I ultimately decided to call in sick and stay in bed. Just after 3pm I heard the sound of numerous police and ambulance sirens. Unusual in number but not extraordinary in and of itself. Then I was informed by my friend working at the table while I laid on the couch that two explosions had rocked the finish line of the Boston Marathon–an area where our students and dorm residents would be, a place where I should have been, and a location less than a mile from where I was lying.

I have resided in the Boston area for the bulk of the past 5 years, yet I neither considered it my home nor myself a Bostonian. There are many reasons for this, most notably the fact that it is the heart of Red Sox nation (abominable to all that is New York) and according to my previous estimates a deeply unfriendly place. On the former I remain steadfast, but for the latter my resolve is melting.

As the circumstances surrounding the event unfolded and my coworkers and I struggled to account for our international students I felt oddly removed. Within my friends and network no one was killed and a handful were injured, although two had to undergo amputations and one is still undergoing surgery to save his leg. Compared to the events of that fateful September the scope seems minuscule, the number of injured small and the ramifications unclear. ‘Boston,’ I thought to myself ‘should have learned from New York’s example and been better prepared at such a large gathering.’

How does one adequately prepare for hate? The emergency response was swift and treatment immediate for victims, so I must say I do believe Boston acted to the best of its ability. I feel protected rather than antagonized by service men and authorities stationed in the T and on the street who are gentle and courteous when conducting searches. As I walked home from the train today I was touched by the words of encouragement and affirmation I saw pasted on mailboxes, strung up on bridge fences and affixed along the barricade on Boylston St.  I found the collective message poignant and I am now realizing that this too is my home. In the aftermath of hate I am thankful to have discovered community and strength in our ties to one another.

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Boylston St last night:

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