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Juan and I were driving down Huntington Ave when I decided that we had to stop by and take pictures of The First Church of Christ, Scientist while it was caught in the last rays of the setting sun.  I like how late afternoon light always gives everything a nice warm golden glow and helps bring out the texture from the building’s reliefs.

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I’ve only been in the church once.  That was a year ago.  They have tours to explain the founding of Christian Science and to show off their gigantic organ pipes and stained glass windows.  I don’t remember much of what I learned, but, personally, I think the architecture on the outside is much more impressive than what I saw within.

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Before processing. Underexposed sky, overexposed building.

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After processing. Looks so dramatic. On some days, you might be able to catch a toy sailboat race in the reflecting pool.  Too bad I didn’t get a picture of it last time I was here.

I can’t believe that I’ve had three summers in Boston and I never went to the free Wednesday evening Hatch Shell concerts until a week before my departure.  One of the most striking scenes when I first moved to the city two years ago was from above the Charles River as I zoomed by on the Red Line over the Longfellow Bridge.  From there, I can see the Esplanade, the brick houses on Beacon Hill, the Prudential Tower, the iconic CITGO sign, and the sails billowing across the water.  I always felt that this spot right here was really the heart of the city, the center of the hubbub.  Probably because I pass by this everyday on my commute to work.  This picture doesn’t do it justice.

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I figured that the Shell would be packed with people, so I didn’t even bother trying to bring lawn chairs or a blanket.  I was right.  Everyone was out to enjoy the cooler evening air and Mozart played by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra.  The only open space left on the lawn was way in the back on the ground that was littered with cigarette butts.  It’s much nicer just to stand by the sides or wander closer to the river where you can still hear the wonderful music while watching the windsurfers fall off their boards.

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Water is hard to capture on film.  It looks almost like an enormous piece of blue, undulating satin with ripples ripening into other ripples.  We sat at the edge of the pier and dipped our feet in.  Juan likes to tell me stories about the water quality back in the days when the Charles was majorly polluted.  Nowadays, with an EPA grade of B+, we can fall into the water without worrying whether we’d need a shot.

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If I had known there were public lawn chairs on the pier, I would’ve came here everyday just to enjoy the sunset.  Even though I’m excited to be moving to San Francisco, it’s times like these that make me wish that I could’ve stayed in Boston for longer.  Two years is long enough to fall in love with a city, but not enough to exhaust all its possibilities.  Boston is the place where I held my first job and learned to be truly independent; it will always be special to me.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to live here again.

I usually get out of work at 6:30, but that afternoon I packed up my stuff and left with two hours to go on the clock.  There was little labwork to do, and even though I could have stayed to organize data or do some productive reading, I could not make myself sit still.  Outside my window, I could see the warm golden sunlight bathe the rusted, corrugated roof of the abandoned warehouse next to our lab building.  The seagulls are back this year and roosting in pairs.

It’s funny how you can live and work in a beautiful city, but never take the time to appreciate it.  Flocks of tourists crowd the Boston streets every summer to visit the historic landmarks, riding around in city trolleys or waving their hands from those ridiculous Boston Duck Tour vehicle-boats.  I live within a few blocks of the Charles River and work in the Charlestown Navy Yard, but everyday I eat lunch in my lab building and I walk straight home after work–too busy to take the time to see the sights that tourists fly hundreds of miles to see.  I tell myself that I live here so I can do all that stuff when I have time for it.  Well, what about today?  No, today’s no good, I have laundry that I need to do.  How about tomorrow?  Well, I would but there’s dinner to be prepared, you see.  And bedtime is at 11:30 PM and you want to at least catch up on some episodes of How I Met Your Mother, so who has all that time to go tramping about aimlessly?

It feels good to wander around sometimes.

I took this picture on my afternoon walk.  It reminds me of how often I’m caught up in the passage of time.  Not just on the days where it feels like time is stagnant and I’m painfully waiting for 6:30 to roll around.  But also on those busy days where all my time seems to be sectioned up into 5 minute, 10 minute, half hour, one hour, three hour increments and all I’m doing is rushing from one segment to the next.  At least, that’s how being in the lab feels like sometimes.

One of the things I’ve wanted to do before I leave Boston was to hit as many burger joints as I can.  Why burgers?  I don’t know.  It’s just one of those staple foods that you always end up ordering at a pub with your coworkers.  Solid, inexpensive; hard to mess up but difficult to make impressive.  A burger is also one of those things that will make you feel disgusting after ingestion no matter how heavenly it may taste at the moment.

This Saturday, Juan and I went to Davis Square to check out Boston Burger Company.  There’s always a huge line at the door so we were prepared to wait at least 45 minutes before we could get a table.  But service is so quick that we were seated only after 15 minutes; even so, the meal would have been worth the long wait.  They have some funky burgers on the menu with some catching ones, like The King, which has peanut butter, bacon, and fried banana.  Definitely for a more adventurous day.  Juan ended up choosing the Hot Mess because of the Rachel Ray recommendation, and I went for the Green Monstah.

Waiting for food to come.

I’ve had “outstanding” burgers before, but this was probably the best one I had in Boston.  No joke.  Better than Bartley’s (totally overrated) and R.F. O’Sullivan’s.  Fresh guacamole and diced tomatoes were piled high on my actually medium-rare patty.  A three quarters inch slab of meat heaven that was juicy without being soggy (at least it disappeared too fast for it to get soggy).  The creamy guacamole really paired well with the beef to make both flavors stand out.

The only thing that really missed the ball were the Lemon Pepper Fries.  I ordered them thinking that they would blow my mind.  I imagined crunchy, deep fried potatoes encrusted with lemon zest and showered with ground pepper.  But what we got were soft, wet fries with a really odd sour flavor that I find hard to describe and even more difficult to eat.  But according to yelp reviews, their fries are one of their best features, so maybe we just ordered the wrong flavor.  Whatever the case, definitely not getting the fries next time.

The old 90’s hiphop music was also a plus.  We enjoyed munching on our burgers to the tune of: “I like big butts and I cannot lie…”

Overall, I can’t wait to come back for future burger cravings.

It is official.  I will be attending the Neuroscience PhD program at the University of California, San Francisco this fall.

Now that I know my days are numbered in Boston, everything here—even the frigid cold—has taken on a rosy, sentimental feel.  Suddenly, three months doesn’t seem like enough time to do everything that I want to do.

Originally, I had considered working through the whole of summer before the start of school.  But I realized that if I were to slave away for the next six years, then I’m going to need at least two months to “veg out” and seize every opportunity for idleness.  I’d love to travel somewhere, but will most likely be spending one glorious month enjoying Boston and the surrounding areas.  How can I possibly leave without enjoying summer strolls at the Arboretum, kayaking on the Charles, tasting the soft-shelled crab in Maine, sampling wine at a Newport vineyard, picking berries at a local New England farm?

As excited as I am about San Francisco and warmer winters, I know I am going to miss Boston.  This was the first place I ever lived where I truly had to rely on myself.  I remember arriving at Logan airport with two suitcases, walking into a very dirty apartment, and sleeping on a bare mattress that first night because I forgot to bring bed covers.  I felt more homesick than I ever thought I could, knowing that everybody that I ever knew was on the other coast.  But two years later, Boston has become my second home.

This bread was the first thing that I’ve baked for a long while.  I needed something easy to help me get back into the groove of baking regularly.  I loved how the cornmeal in the recipe gives it a nice yellow-brown hue, which is beautifully offset by cheerful purple spots of juicy grapes.  I had this bread for breakfast, but I think it’s actually too cake-like to have during the first meal of the day.  Definitely, if you make this, eat it fresh from the oven so that the grapes don’t have a chance to shrivel.  It seems like most embedded fruits tend to lose their form in pastries, leaving moist holes where they used to be.

Red Grape and Olive Oil Bread from Christina Marsigliese