In the past few weeks, I’ve caught up with a few college friends.  Always in our conversations, I am asked what I’ve learned in Boston during the past two years.  How has Boston changed me?  Professionally, it’s easy to say that if I hadn’t went to Boston, I would not be where I am right now.  Yes, my job had redefined my research interests and inspired me to pursue this career.  But that’s not what I think about when I wonder what Boston means to me.  No, what comes to mind is God.  I’ve realized, the most important thing I learned in Boston was how to want God more.  

When I think about how easy it has been to move to San Francisco, I cannot help but remember how horrible it was to move to Boston.  I think about the shock of seeing the filthy apartment I was supposed to live in for the first time (I didn’t have time to visit before signing the lease).  I think about walking into a different church every other week and feeling lost and disconnected.  I think about the frigid winter days spent inside my room, wishing that there was somebody I could talk to.  I think about the disappointment of how even though I had moved across the country, I was still the same person after all.

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I turned to the faith when I was in college.  I went to a wonderful church where a strong community of fellowship was always available to me.  On Sundays, the atmosphere in church is almost euphoric when everyone is jumping to Christian Rock during worship.  When you are surrounded by peers who are feverish for God, it becomes really easy to believe.  But faith should be more than following the crowd and awesome worship music.  Because if you only know God’s presence in that context, then it feels like you’re lost from God anywhere else.  

I have never wanted to see God more than when I was stripped of friends and community.  I tell people that I hated my first winter in Boston.  But it was more than just the endless snow and biting wind that made it winter; it was the absence of God.  Yet, those periods of spiritual dryness is where I learned to desire God the most.  I have never prayed so fervently, never scoured the Bible so earnestly, never sought the comfort of His presence so sincerely than in that winter of solitude.

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It would be a lie to say that it never crossed my mind to question whether my prayers were heard.  But I could not stop, because even if I lost all other reason to pray, I will pray for His sake.  I will not ask Him to save me from my problems; I will not ask him to make things work out in the end; all I will ask is for Him to walk with me, everyday, for all the days of my life.  And this is all it takes sometimes, to fight for your faith.

I see now the purpose of my time in Boston.  It has never been about boosting my career, but it was all about pursuing Christ in my life regardless of any circumstances.  Right now, I am incredibly blessed to have family and close friends living nearby.  But I don’t think I would have really appreciate what they mean to me if I had not lived in Boston.  As excited I am about starting my graduate school career, I am even  more excited about finding community here.  I don’t know whether I will find success as a scientist, but wherever life takes me, I know that all I really need, I already have.

“No place I rather be, than here in your love.”

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This past week, I visited the farmer’s market at UN plaza and indulged myself in some local products.  I sampled some homemade chocolate covered candied oranges, bought a jar of deliciously fragrant lavender honey, a jar of smooth almond butter, and finally, some caramel sauce that I intend to use over some poached pears.  I cannot wait to use these ingredients in my next baking projects.

Foodwise, I also tried the Arizmendi’s pizza, which tastes a lot like Cheeseboard, in my opinion, except Arizmendi has a better sourdough-y crust.  Finally, I also discovered the Banh Mi sandwiches from Wooly Pig cafe, which is just around the corner from my apartment.  The raw papaya and mint leaves really make the sandwich.  This will  probably be my favorite go-to lunch sandwich from now on.

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Matcha Cake Roll

I’ve been wanting to use Matcha powder in something for awhile now.  I finally found it while shopping at a Japanese supermarket.  And I was pleased to note that you can really taste the green tea flavor in this cake.  I see many more Matcha flavored baking goods in the future.