Boston Highs and Lows

I’ve been in Boston nearly three weeks now, and – my – what a whirlwind it’s been. Here are some of the highs and lows…

High – finding an apartment!

After a relatively painless few days of apartment searching, Noah and I have our own place! We’re moving September 1. Yay!!! (side note: photo below is to trick you and is actually not of the apartment we’re moving to…)

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Low – stolen bike šŸ˜¦

My beloved bicycle was stolen while it was locked to a bike rack and I was at dinner. Major bummer…but in optimistic spirits, this can become a high…

High – a new bike!

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I got a new, beautiful, Trek FX Disc 7.2. I love it. šŸ™‚

High – exploring the city with Noah!

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One of the highlights of our explorations so far has been anĀ architecture cruise on the Charles River with the Charles Riverboat Company. The cruise lasted about 90 minutes, and we got a Groupon deal for it so it was pretty cheap! We went up and down the Charles, getting some great views of the city skyline, learning about the prominent buildings and history of the city.

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High – a visit to Martha’s VineyardĀ 

We spent a lovely 5 days on Martha’s Vineyard with Noah’s family, and it was the perfect relaxing vacation – lots of reading, game playing, bike riding, and delicious fresh fish!

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Low – sleeping in too late!

I’ve been enjoying my lazy schedule aĀ little too much and have been sleeping in! This has, unfortunately, meant that I haven’t been getting up in time to go to the November Project with the full group. I have, however, still been going to the Harvard Stadium once a week to run the steps on my own – my time has gradually been improving!

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High – learning the little things

One of the most fun things about moving to a new city is learning the little personality traits of the place. I’ve really enjoyed learning little things about Boston and its eccentricities. For example, we’ve seen some of these solar-powered Soofa benches that have been installed throughout Cambridge recently. The benches have hook-upsĀ for you to charge your phoneĀ while you’re out around town!

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Here’s to many more “highs” duringĀ my Boston years. šŸ™‚

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One Week in Boston

My blogging has been in a bit of dry spell, but it’s because I’m in the sweltering Simi Valley. Simi Valley, in fact, is in a dry spell of its own as the area is experiencing a severe drought. We’ve been asked to cut water usage to 85% of regular levels.

I’m in CaliforniaĀ for 5 weeks working at a Jewish summer camp program (for young adults!), and I have 2 weeks left. Before I came here, I had about one week in Boston. One week to “settle” into my new home…but I think I’ll really do theĀ settling once I return to Boston in mid-July. Nonetheless, in an attempt to stay connected to the blog during these crazy California work weeks, here are some highlights from my first week in Boston:

1. American coffee in all its forms
Featuring Starbucks, 1369 Coffeehouse, and Bloc 11 – all in the Cambridge/Somerville area

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Although I’m a huge fan of coffee in Israel (and especially the fact that coffee there is served in reasonable sizes!), the coffeeshop menus in America go way beyond the scope of Israeli coffee menus. In Israel, basically the options were Americano or Cappuccino. I missed the milky-madness and sugar-bomb variety of American coffeeshops. šŸ™‚

2. Fitness!!

Running was a big part of my time in Jerusalem, but I didn’t do any group or organized fitness there – no gyms or yoga classes! So, I wasĀ extremely excited to get my yoga groove on when I got to Boston. Within my first 24 hours, I bought a yoga mat and signed up for a trial week at Be.Yoga in Union Square:

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I also had my much-anticipated return to the November Project. For those who aren’t familiar, the November Project is a grassroots fitness community that started in Boston andĀ has spread throughout the country (and beyond!). The group has no cost, and it is centered around fun and relationships that are formed by sweating together. The group meets three times a weekĀ – Wednesdays areĀ the classic November Project workout: running all 37 sections of the Harvard Stadium steps.

You start at the last section:

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And 48 sweaty minutes later (if you’re me), you get to the beginning!:

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Holy cow. This workout is amazingly hard, but it’s really no wonder that it’s so popular. By the time you’re running up only theĀ second set of stairs, you think there’s no possible way you can get to the end..but then you do. And it is so empowering! I am already looking forward to being back in Boston in a of couple weeks and returning to the steps to try to break my 48-minute time!

3. New restaurants!

Obviously, I love going out to eat. A big highlight of moving to a new city is re-starting the game to find theĀ place’s fun/unique/delicious foods. In the week I was in Boston, I somehow ended up finding myself at Clover three times:

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Clover started as a vegetarian food truck, but it gained such popularity that it now has several storefront locations around the Boston area. There are a few right in the Cambridge neighborhoods, so it is a convenient and delicious spot for any meal of Ā the day. AND….EXCITING NEWS!!! Clover recently announced that they will be going certified kosher. Woohoo! This is definitely a big win for Boston kosher restaurants. šŸ™‚

I also went for lunch with a friend at a bakery/cafe near Central Square called Flour. Flour has the typical cafe/bakery assortment of salads, sandwiches, pastries, coffee, and soup. But it also has some interesting extras like stuffed bread and homemade pizza! Everything on the menu looks delicious, and I would definitely be happy to go back there again in the future:

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4. Seeing the sights!

Noah and I love exploring. For the Sunday we had together in Boston before I went to California, we went to the Boston Science Museum:

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I had so much fun! There were a lot of really interesting exhibits – photography of food, the human body, electricity…the list goes on. The highlight of the visit for me though was watching an IMAX movie on humpback whales – it was so cool! It turns out that humpback whales were almost killed off by human hunters, but when a recording of their whale songs was accidentally discovered and released as a recording, they captured the hearts of the public and were ultimately saved by a series of conservation and protection laws. Also, baby humpback whales are 14-feet long when they are born – CRAZY!

All in all, I had a great week in Boston, and I’m excited for the adventures to continue when I’m back there in another couple weeks! See you soon, Boston. šŸ™‚

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A New City

For most of the summer Iā€™ve been in the hot California desert working at camp, hence my long blogging hiatus. Iā€™m back to real life nowā€¦but real life looks totally different than before.

Goodbye Minnesota.

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Hello Boston!

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The jump from the Midwest to the East Coast has resulted in ā€“ if nothing else ā€“ a much classier stairwell.

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Boston

Boston

Although Iā€™m not in Boston for very long (only a couple weeks before a much bigger move to Israel!), there were a few things that I was looking forward to doing during my time in Boston.

First and foremost, exploring the new area! I love finding and trying new cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants, and while there was certainly more exploration to be done in Minneapolis, moving to Boston provides a whole new crop of activities. During one of our first days in Boston, Noah and I got coffee at Crema Cafe in Harvard Square.

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I got an iced Americano and thought it was amazing! Iā€™ve been back a handful of times since. In addition to coffee, they also have a nice selection of baked goods and a small menu of sandwiches, soups, salads, and breakfast items. The drinks definitely shine more than the food, but the food is still good. Be warned, however, that Crema does NOT have wifi. A clever trick indeed for a coffee shop!

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I was also really excited to try the November Project during my time in Boston. I first read about The November Project in a Runnerā€™s World Magazine article from November 2013. The November Project is a free fitness/social group that meets in the wee hours of the morning (ie, 6:30am). It was started in 2011 by two friends who committed to working out together every morning during the month of November. To increase motivation, they started posting about their workouts on Facebook and other social media, inviting others to join. Incredibly, people started coming, and today, as many as 600Ā Bostonians meet on any given Monday, Wednesday, or Friday to work out with the November Project. The group has also spread to 16 other cities! The iconicĀ November Project workout is running the Harvard Stadium stairs (yes, all of them!), and the group continues to do the stadiumĀ workout every Wednesday. Monday workouts are held at traveling locations and Friday workouts are running Corey Hill in Brookline.

On Monday, I went to the traveling workout – this week at Old MorseĀ Park in Cambridgeport. I wasnā€™t quite sure what to expect, but when I arrived at the park I immediately foundĀ a large group already gathered.

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Even though I knew a lot of people go to November Project, it was still surprising to actually see so many people! The November Project cofounders, Brogan and Bojan, still lead the group each meeting. Monday workouts are usually shorter because the assumption is that people run to and from the workout, so after a brief warm up, the workout was seven minutes of nonstop burpies. It was definitely tough and my chest was sore for the rest of the day!

After going once, I could tell that the social aspects of the group are really emphasized. The ā€˜warm-upā€™ was more about hugging the people around you (no one shakes hands at November Project ā€“ only big bear hugs), learning the names of a few others, and high fiving with awesomeness-affirmingĀ ā€œf*** yeahs.ā€

After the workout, Brogan and Bojan take a photo of the group, give out the ā€˜positivity awardā€™ to one lucky participant, and ‘Happy Birthday’ is sung to anyone who has a birthday that day. After the Monday workout, a group of regulars had breakfast together at a nearby apartment. Since I knew one of the regulars from Minneapolis, I tagged along!

After Monday, I was a little hooked and wanted to see what all the fuss was about for the Harvard Stadium steps. So, Wednesday morning, I woke up bright and early again and took a short jog over to Harvard Stadium.

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There were a lot more people there for the stadium workout than the Monday meeting, and the crowd was a lot more diverse (ie, not only young people).

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There was one older man (probably in his mid-late 60s) who was there with a trombone that he played during the workout for added motivation!

Harvard Stadium has 37 sections, and the workout is to run up the big steps and walk down the small ones.

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For me, running quickly turned into walking about halfway up each section. To complete all 37 sections is called ā€˜a tour,ā€™ and Brogan told the newbies (people who had never done the steps before) to aim to complete a half tour. I completed the half tour plus three additional sections. Holy cow, it was SO difficult! I thought it would be tough, but it far exceeded my expectations. My legs were shaking by the end, and I have been incredibly sore since! The stadium stepsĀ definitely had a little bit of an addictive quality to them, and Iā€™m already looking forward to going next Wednesday and trying to complete a full tour!

This weekend, Noah and I are taking a bike trip to Martha’s Vineyard, so I hope to be able to post soon about that adventure!