#BostonStrong, You're My Home

charlesriver

Most of you know, I'm not from Boston. I'm originally from Las Vegas - a VERY different city. I attended grade school, middle school and high school here. And one semester of college at UNLV. Those of you that know me on an even more personal level, know that I hated growing up there. Apart from the fact that my family and friends live there, there was absolutely nothing I loved about that city - no substance, no culture, nothing.

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I moved to Boston in April of 2011 for school (and for the Red Sox). I had never been to Boston prior to moving - boy, was I in for a culture shock. The vibe here is similar to San Francisco, but it's not. Boston is a little less friendly, a bit more tough. Boston's financial district is a staggering contrast to Beacon Hill and the smaller, older areas of town. I was fascinated by the Dunkin Donuts, 7/11, and other modern day chains hidden inside the old brick buildings. But apart from all this, there's no better feelings than that first breeze of Spring, the first time you go to Fenway park (whether it's your first time ever or your first game after the winter), that first chill of the cooler weather in the later months of the year, and the bond you form with your fellow Bostonians.

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While it is true that I can't consider myself a true Bostonian - I don't have the accent, I don't know my way around the streets as well as I should, and I can't stand the cold without my down jacket - I've been through more with city than I have ever been through with the place I consider my "hometown." Hurricane Sandy. The Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup win. The Sox's 2011 September Collapse. Hurricane Irene. Storm Nemo. And now this. It may be odd to some that sports are included in a list of things that we, as a city, have gone through, but it's part of our blood. Sports are something we can always run to, whether it's win or lose.

I convinced my best friend to move out here in January to go to school and am currently trying to convince my other best friend to move here for grad school. I complain about riding the MBTA Green Line, the cold weather, the random weather ("If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.") and just random things about the city. But at the end of the day, there's no other city I'd rather be.

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In March of this past year, I celebrated a milestone in my life - my 21st birthday. It may sound weird, coming from a girl that grew up in the City of Sin, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Spent the last night as a 20 year old in my favorite restaurant in Boston with my boyfriend and one of my best friends. (And my boyfriend at the time flew out the third of that tripod as a surprise for me.) No clubs, no loud crowds - just the murmur by the bar and some of the best steak and fries you'll find on the East coast (I'll bet you on that!) That's Boston. You can find somewhere to duck away when you need to - whether you love a quiet night at the bar or a quiet day by the pond in the Public Garden or an afternoon run along the Charles on the Esplanade. There's something for everyone.

Since moving here, I've learned to open up and see things differently. I've learned that it's okay to talk to the old woman on the T on her way to Fenway to see her first (or fiftieth or hundredth) Red Sox game. I've learned that diversity is one of the most amazing things on planet Earth. And I've learned that no one can stop a person from reaching their maximum potential but themselves.

To be surrounded by some of the best schools, best doctors and some of the brightest minds in the world on a daily basis is a privilege. To get to know people from countries all over the world, where education is valued above all else, where their families are so unbelievably proud to say their children attend a university in Boston, Massachusetts, is a blessing.

There was an article I read that was titled "You May Leave Boston, but Boston Never Leaves You." I never thought about it because I'm still a bit away from graduation and moving on from this little city. But after reading it, I can't help but to think, "I have such an attachment to this city.. to the living, breathing parts of this city." Boston is a special place. It's a place where you know the name of the homeless man in front of Dunkin Donuts, where your barista at Starbucks actually gets upset when they almost get your name right but didn't want to risk it, and it is a place where you're excited to take everyone you know around to show your pride when they come to see your city.

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I live less than a mile from the tragedy that happened on Monday. My best friend who lives here now works a couple blocks over from where it happened. To know that this happened in my backyard basically is ridiculously scary. To know that someone I know could have lost their life on Monday is too much to think about. But this is Boston, and as Obama said, we're a "tough and resilient town." We're going to get through this. I love you, Boston. We'll get through this together.