I was very happy to be back in my neighborhood this summer.
Jess and I entered full on, basic-bitches-in-fall mode for a morning of Apple picking at Smolak Farms in North Andover.
We went so late in the season that we were the only ones in the orchard but we fully immersed ourselves in the autumnal spirit with hot apple cider, apple cider donuts and bags of apples which I had big plans for (apple sauce! apple crumble! apple pie!) but then just ate raw over the next month because honestly, who has time for that.
This city has a certain vibe which although not my exact ideal, has a weird to charm to it.
Bostonians aren't warm and friendly immediately -- but if you do chip away at our frozen (from years of shoveling out our cars in January) social exterior, you'll probably end up meeting all of our friends from high school and getting invited to the family Cape house for 4th of July. All of our bars may look exactly the same (dark wood, vaguely Irish) but I truly appreciate that there's a Dunkin Donuts on almost every corner that's frequented by people in every tax bracket.
P.S. The Simpsons actually did an episode this summer where they went on a "hate-cation" to Boston and it's wonderfully spot on. "It's like heaven for people who don't believe in heaven!"
Bits of summer (from my phone).
This summer in Jamaica Plain included many day trips out, dinners in and a surprising amount of new dog friends for someone who doesn't own a dog.
In May, we scored a great sublet in Jamaica Plain (it's now my fourth apartment in that neighborhood) and settled in for a summer in the city.
Wanting to re-create the magic that was biking around Newcastle, Perth and Singapore, we bought bikes and declared ourselves a two-man bike gang, cruising around everywhere: commuting to a co-working space downtown, to farmers markets in the North End, through Chinatown, Castle Island in South Boston, over the Charles River to Cambridge and yoga in Brookline.
P.S. I bought my sky blue Linus bike at Superb Bicycle on Beacon Street and now it's now become one of the top 3 items I wholeheartedly recommend to people (...the other 2 being a Spotify account and an electric toothbrush -- all 3 will elevate your quality of life enormously). If you want a bike that's super comfortable, easy to ride -- and (let's be real here) hella cute -- I deeply recommend a Linus.
Arriving home in Boston, Scott and I hunkered down at my Grandmother's beach house in Wareham. It was April, so it was more rainy than beachy, so there wasn't much to do. We hit up the arcade and other local hot spots (like Target) but spent most of our time scouring Craig's List for apartments and furniture in an attempt to piece together a solid home for the summer, and perhaps beyond.
After being away for an extended period of time, being home has a way of smacking you in the face with the realities of life.
That was especially true this summer, but having Scott around as part of my team made everything a little easier. He has a way of making even the boring domestic stuff weirdly fun: treating Craig's List like a treasure hunt, never failing to be delighted by ordering "a slice" (you can't order slices of pizza in NZ, only whole pies) and getting excited about grocery shopping ("I discovered this awesome place today. It's called 'Whole Foods'. We HAVE to go there").
The last few weeks of August were spent back on the east coast -- celebrating, moving, packing and exploring all around Boston + New England.
I'm back in Massachusetts and it is SUMMERRRRR.
Being back home in Sudbury/JP/Hamilton Beach with family and friends has been sunny and lovely and full of beach days, dance floor nights and ice cream. I've been doing some freelance work here and there but mostly living off what I saved while working in NZ and it's definitely strange being back in my normal environment without a normal 9-5. Even when I'm good and comfortable, there's always that nagging feeling that I could be doing more, could be making and saving more money.
It actually makes me think of one my favorite little tales, "The Fisherman and The Businessman":
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
...this is obviously a simplified version of the eternal struggle of the work/life balance (is this fisherman planning on paying his kids college tuition with fish?) but it's a good reminder, nonetheless. For me, unfortunately, this whole lazy summery lifestyle won't be able to last for too too long -- but I'm certainly not complaining at the moment.
After saving a lot of money, selling my things, moving out of my apartment, quitting my job, a few farewell dinners/dance parties, a ton of Carvel ice cream cake and some teary goodbyes (my Mum held it together better than Sandy)... I hopped on a one-way flight to London to start my round-the-world trip.
I'm in London now and I don't think it's actually hit me yet. It probably won't until a month in when I remember I don't have a return ticket. (!!!)
After four and half years and two apartments, I said goodbye to darling Jamaica Plain. I'll miss the runs around Jamaica Pond, lazy Sunday brunches on Centre Street, soy cappuccinos at Ula Cafe, reading on our treehouse of a porch and running into friends at City Feed. And of course, my lovely roommates in apartment #3.
+ Keep clicking the photo above for a few more photos.
August proved to be a solid month filled with parties: birthday, housewarming, engagement, wedding and of course the usual weekend dance party. Great way to end a great summer.
Shooting the Brass preview collection made for a lovely Saturday in the South End. The darling Brass dresses were styled with killer accessories Jay and Katie (owners of Brass) picked up to show how each dress can be a staple in any closet. Our model Irene was a dream to shoot and the South End brick stoops and green parks were the perfect backdrop for Brass's polished and classic line of dresses.
+ Keep clicking the last photo above to see more.