First Week in Boston

It’s a Friday night, and I’m sitting on a cushy chair in my living room, fans blowing and windows open, desperately trying to ditch some of the heat from Boston’s 90-degree day, and reflecting on my first week as an EdTech Guru for Boston Public Schools.

And about the most poignant reflection I’m capable of is… “whoa.”

In the past week, I have moved across the country and farther away from home than I have ever lived. I’ve said goodbye to my best friend and partner in life for an indeterminate amount of time. I’ve started a new job in the city. I’ve ridden the T (subway) to and from work every day. I’ve walked to work along Boston’s Freedom Trail. This is my view every morning as I walk up Washington St. in downtown Boston after getting off the train:

my walk to work

my walk to work

I know, right?! It’s crazy pants.

And yet, when my boss paused today in the middle of a conversation about the online laptop rollout PD we’ve been trying to get up and running all week to ask “how are you doing?,” I couldn’t help but chuckle when I realized I have had absolutely no time to process what just happened.

In many ways, this is a blessing. My life has changed drastically in the past few days. But when I got to work on the first day, we hit the ground running. And I’m not talking a leisurely jog through the park here. I’m talking a dead sprint to the finish line. There are two of us in my position, and we share an office. Thankfully, we were able to get along and think together right off the bat, and off we went. We spent the entire week troubleshooting, designing and developing, joking and laughing, and banging our heads against our desks as issue after issue presented itself. There was nothing we couldn’t tackle, and no major problem we didn’t find a way to solve. I’ve learned more about administrative responsibilities, district operations, and online learning environments in four days than I would have ever expected would be possible. And I’m completely exhausted.

Sprinkle in the fact that Ms. Gertrude and I are still adjusting to our new environment, and it’s kind of amazing that I haven’t completely dissolved into a steaming pile of Liz in the middle of my living room. As it happens, I stinking love Dorchester. This Boston neighborhood is fantastic. In particular, my neighbors are awesome. Here’s a pic of G and I after my upstairs neighbor’s ridiculously cute Frenchie took over my lap last night:

me, missy, and gertrude

me, missy, and gertrude

The sound of small children and dogs graces my windows in the evenings, and the mornings are quiet as I get up early and spend a couple hours writing before work. G and I have even managed to squeeze in morning runs. Somehow, I’m still standing. And smiling.

Don’t mistake my meaning — elements of this move are incredibly difficult. It’s hard to come home to an empty apartment that, despite my best efforts, still doesn’t look, smell, or totally feel like “home.” People here don’t talk like people in the Midwest, and along with the linguistic differences come differences in social expectations and conventions, none of which I’ve mastered. I don’t have a routine, and I’m never sure what to eat in the evenings, since my partner was the one in charge of the meal plan (and he was awesome at planning out what we would eat all week). The silence is palpable and lonely. There are times when it physically hurts to be so far away from “home.” I am dedicated to making this place home. I’m even calling it home. But it’s not. Not yet.

But this week has been good. Hard. Overwhelming. Busy. Rewarding. And good. I will cling to this goodness as I begin first weekend on my own in Boston, knowing I made the right decision, difficult and uncomfortable as it has proven at times.