Columns, Opinion

CHISTYAKOV: Thankful for Boston

Like many other Californians, I expected going home for Thanksgiving break would be a vacation in heaven, away from the cold weather and the busy city vibe of Boston. I eagerly packed my luggage many days in advance, counting down the hours until I was back in L.A. with my family, eating In-n-Out Burger daily and visiting the beach, since it is still summer in California. I expected myself to be so happy to be back home that I would never want to come back to school in Boston.

When I arrived at LAX, I wanted to indulge in all of the things that only California can offer, like sun, sand and great Mexican food. But soon I realized that there really aren’t that many things that are so unique to it — other than In-n-Out, of course. The beaches are beautiful, but I can find a white-sand beach elsewhere if I put in the effort to travel. The weather is nice, but it felt over-exposing to wear short shorts in November after I had gotten used to wearing rain jackets almost every day in Boston. Seeing my family was comforting, but after a few days, we were at each other’s throats again. Reuniting with my friends was awkward after our dramatic goodbyes over the summer — we thought we’d never be able to live without each other, but it turns out we’d gotten pretty good at leading separate lives.

My California dream was crushed, and soon I began to miss my new home in Boston.

I especially felt school-sick after my first high school reunion. Looking back on it, I’m still not sure why I even decided to go. I was going to see all of my close friends either way, so the reunion would not have helped to bring us together. Yet everyone showed up, even if they felt they had no reason to. The feeling that I got from seeing all of my old classmates was uncomfortable and I immediately wanted to leave. I didn’t like the fact that I could name everyone in the room with me. And we soon realized that high school drama would never disappear. The fights that happened during our four years there were never resolved and were even hashed out at our reunion. Many of my friends left after thirty minutes. After the reunion, I was more than excited to get on the plane back to Boston. I was thankful to transition to such a large university where I can be anonymous most of the time.

A luxury of Boston that California can no longer offer me is the safety of traveling around town and not having to run into people I know. Here, I barely know anyone outside of BU. When I go out with my friends into the city, I don’t run into a dozen people from outside of my school like I would in L.A. Driving on the streets of Ventura Boulevard made me anxious because I would constantly see people I knew from around town, people I did not necessarily want to ever see again. Over the summer, I said goodbye to all of the people, places and things I disliked so much about my hometown and during my trip back, I happened to see every single one of them.

I never realized how comforting it is to live in a city where no one knows a thing about me.

Sometimes it’s very important to leave the place that you love to realize how amazing it really is. But my week in L.A. made me realize why I decided to move to Boston in the first place: it was as far away from home I could get. After seeing all of my friends who stayed in California, and visiting some of their schools, I’m so thankful that I do not live there anymore. There are many great things about living in California — like sun, lack of seasons and great Mexican food — and although I miss it, I don’t regret my decision to move. Many of my friends who have stayed in L.A. feel as if they are still stuck in high school because they cannot escape the city where they grew up.

Moving, especially for college students, helps people grow and move on from the stupid, immature things they might have done in high school. Moving to Boston has been a fresh start for me and many of my friends who live on the East Coast have also learned how to appreciate such a new experience. So although my trip home was filled with anxiety, I’m glad I went because this trip made me realize how much I really love Boston … despite the rain.

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