BAHSTUN (Boston): Study Abroad Reunion

Once again, been awhile, but I actually have midterms to blame it on this time… and my newly found One Tree Hill obsession. (My name is Marissa Gaal, and I am an addict) But in the past month when I was struggling to stay on track and not fully give in to my senioritis (which I technically have since I graduate in December), the thought of my trip to Boston to see some of my Scotland friends (no, they are not Scottish, that’s just what I call them) kept me afloat. It was an amazing 3 days with the majority of them and the last 3 days with some one-on-one time with good ol’ Amy Luskin: aka my soul sister:)

They are all my soul sisters in one way or another, and that was confirmed when we were altogether again after 10 months apart and it felt as if nothing had changed. We had major catching up to do, but it was natural, comfortable. The true test of friendship isn’t if you stay in touch and up to date, but rather that when you all meet again, no matter the changes and paths you are on in life, it feels natural and true. There wasn’t a second when I didn’t feel that with Lindsey, Savannah, Shannon, Kaydee or Amy. I was always afraid that the gap of our departure would some how make things awkward, since we no longer shared Scotland as a home. But unlike how Scotland will never be the same for me without them there, they will always be the same amazing friends I was lucky enough to meet there.

Our weekend with everyone together was fan-freaking-tastic. Friday night after everyone was picked up and mere hours before we picked Kaydee up in the morning, we sat around talking in the one room apartment we rented for the 6 of us, eating our classic Kraft Mac’n Cheese dinner. Saturday started off early, picking up Kaydee at the airport at 7am, which included us running into each others arms dramatically and then being upstaged by a touchy, kissy, romantic couple. Not cool.

We some how then convinced Kaydee to stay awake and take a tour of Boston. We hit up Harvard Yard (Hahvahd Yahd), although we did not park our car there, which was just down the street we were staying on in Cambridge (on Harvard St, in case you were wondering).Then it was off to the T (better known as the subway) to the big city! We wandered through the Boston Commons and Garden, and then made our way to the Boston Marathon finish line, which the keep painted. Then Amy indulged my love of books by taking us to the Boston Public Library and letting me smell Shakespeare’s leather bound plays. Once we ate lunch and made our way back to Cambridge, we packed all 6 of us in Amy’s 5 seater car, leaving Kaydee and I double buckled and spooning in the back seat. Not the most comfortable 2 hour drive. We were off the Amerhest, Amy’s college town, to explore UMASS college life.

I have to say, Amy’s house has the picture perfect New England cabin feel, hardwood floors and wooden ceiling beams included. It was so surreal to be standing in her room which I had only seen on a FaceTime tour. We got all dolled up and hit the town, meeting some forgettable guys compared to the Danish men we ran into (more like shoved ourselves into). We obviously ended the night with more Mac’n Cheese and put on our group movie, She’s the Man (Amanda, come back to us!).

Sadly, the next day, Sunday, Lindsey had to head back to New York for stupid school, so we parted ways in the morning with the intention of going the St. Paddy’s day parade in Southey, but instead we got caught up Skyping Katja in Scotland (Our Austrian Scottish friend), and by the time we got there, the crowd was trying to leave while we were trying to arrive. We escaped into a bar and met up with Mary and Kellee, two other girls who lived on our floor in AKD Hall!  A total of 8 Scottish friends had met in one place and I think that is majorly impressive.

Sunday night was spent inside our crazy small, or rather cozy, apartment eating Dominos pizza and playing True American. Look it up. On Monday we got the official Amy Luskin Boston Red Sox tour. Her excitement was intangible. She took us to Yawkey way, showed us Fenway Park and the notorious Green Monster and Citco sign. We then had some famous New England Clam Chowder (all I ate) at the Bleacher Bar which looks out into the outfield of Fenway.

Since Amy and I had airport duty the next day, we thought we would turn in early so we could get more than our usual 4 hours of sleep. Turns out turning in early meant 2 am, while we were up chatting with Meaghan, yet another Scotland friend:) It would have been fine if we didn’t have to get up at 5am…. We never learn. Somedays I hate myself, and that was one of those days.

It was a sad day dropping everyone off. Our group number slowly dwindled and then there were two. We made the 40 minute drive from Boston to Wrentham, Amy’s hometown where I got the full tour, met her hospitable and funny parents, and did some antiquing, because we are old ladies. Wednesday, our last full day together, was spent exploring the armpit of Massechussets(look up a map, it literally is in the armpit).  We visited Mirror Lake, Walden Pond (where the infamous Thoreau lived and wrote), visited the Battle of Lexington site, Louisa May Alcott’s house and finally Emerson’s house. Its strange to think so many influential American writers lived so close together.

It’s not very often that you get a chance to see into someone’s past and personal life, especially if you were never a part of it. But I was so grateful to see that side of Amy and her family and I just feel I know her better some how. I feel like I know all my Scottish friends better now. I know we all went into this Spring Break idea thinking in the back of our minds that it may not happen. Schedules conflict and we had people trying to plan from all over the country, heck! even out of the country (Go Canada!). But it did all work out and that is the amazing, incomprehensible thing to me. We could hardly organize ourselves when we lived in the same hallway!

I am utterly thankful to all my friends in the world, all over the world. This trip showed me that when people truly mean something to each other, taking the time to see one another isn’t as hard as it seems, and its even less hard to fall back into the place you left off from. I can’t speak for the others, but I know this trip is ranked up there with Scotland, because both held the people that made it memorable.

PS: Still plan on renting that beach house in Cali for winter break, ladies! I need to work on my tan…well, freckles.


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