Home of the Red Sox baseball team, Harvard University, and a mountain of American historical landmarks, Boston is one of the most pleasant and the most beautiful cities in the United States. This is my second visit to Boston, and — as with my previous visit, back in 2000 — I'm here primarily to see my wonderful cousins, who live here and who call this place home. I'm also here to have a reunion with my Dad, and with my Auntie and Uncle, all of whom I've been away from, since I departed from Australia 8 months ago.
Adam and Becca's cousins from New York are great guys, and they came up specially for the occasion. Can't remember the name of the 15-year-old kid and his friend, but Josh is 17, and is endeavouring (with little success) to master a good Aussie accent. These three boys kept me company for much of the celebrations — good to have some mates around, since I didn't know many other people here.
Adam's barmitzvah celebrations began tonight, at the Goldstein house, with a fully-catered shabbat dinner. Big crowd — much of the extended family arrived this evening, mainly from New York and Philadelphia — and plenty of new (and very distantly-related) relatives to meet. The food was great, and it flowed from the kitchen in copious quantities. A very nice, heimische start to the simcha.
The perfect Jewish American breakfast. And since I got in to Boston, I seem to have had it almost every morning — mainly because Tara and Ashki don't have that much else lying around the kitchen, in the way of breakfast foods. I can't say I don't like it — it's quite delicious — but then again, I'd prefer something a little more like what I'm used to. We'll have to stock up on some cereal soon. In the meantime, it doesn't hoyt.
Ivor, Manuela, dad and myself went on a stroll of downtown Boston today, as an introduction to the city for my aunt and uncle. Saw some nice buildings, including the Boston Public Library, and a few of the city centre's big churches. Also saw some of the lovely streets of Beacon Hill, the upmarket and very quaint district where Ivor and Manuela have rented an apartment for the week. We tried going up the Prudential Tower, the tallest building in Boston — but it was very cloudy today, so there was nothing to see from the top.
My uncle and aunt from back home in Sydney, Ivor and Manuela got into Boston late this evening. Like the rest of us, they're here for Adam's barmitzvah, as well as for the general family get-together surrounding it. And like my dad, this is the first time I've seen them, since leaving Sydney 8 months ago. "The other Epsteins" (as I sometimes call them) are in town for about a week, after which time they'll be going on a little road trip through the New England area.
One of Boston's most famous attractions (for tourists and academics alike) is Harvard University, one of the most famous, prestigious, and expensive universities in the world. Harvard is easily the top (as well as the oldest) university in the USA, and it's probably rivalled only by Oxford itself in terms of reputation. Harvard is also the second-richest non-profit, non-government institution in the world, surpassed only by the Roman Catholic Church. Today, my dad and I went on "the unofficial tour of Harvard", one of the guided tours that you can do of the university's main campus. And so, therefore, we can now say that we've been unofficially introduced to the place.
A few days ago, I e-mailed my friend Moshe Weitzman (one of the people that I met at DrupalCon Sunnyvale, back in March), to let him know that I'd be coming to his home town of Boston soon. Well, as it turned out, the Boston Drupal Users' Group (Boston DUG) organised their monthly meetup for tonight! Moshe, of course, was nice enough to invite me along for the evening. So after finishing my jetlag duty today, I headed over to the Berkman Center at Harvard University, to meet and greet the Drupallers of the city of Boston, and to see what's going on Drupal-wise in this part of the world. Oh yeah — and also to catch up on the goss from (unfortunately it was too-far and too-bad-timing for me to attend) DrupalCon Barcelona, which took place about a month ago.
My dad arrived here in Boston this morning, after getting delayed in LA for 12 hours yesterday, and having to take an overnight flight from west coast to east. So my duty today was to help my dad stay awake all day — so he can combat his jetlag, and adjust quickly to Boston time — by touring the city with him, and elbowing him at the firssigns of chluffing. An in this noble endeavour — i.e. in my "jetlag duty" — I believe I was quite successful. We managed to see a few of Boston's sights, and my dad lasted until the evening.
What can I say — he's my dad! And until today, I hadn't seen him for a ridiculously long time of 8 months, since I left Sydney back in February. This morning, my dad flew into Boston (after having a flight cancel on him, and getting stuck in LA for 12 hours), and we had a warm and heartfelt reunion. Like me, he's here for my cousin Adam's barmitzvah. And unlike me, he's not doing a crazy 12-month trip around the world: he's just on holiday for two weeks, and then he goes straight back to Sydney. It's very, very nice to see him again — as with all my family, I've missed him a lot during my time away from home.
This super-nice married couple are best friends of my cousins, the Goldsteins — in fact, they're so incredibly super-nice, that they're letting my dad and myself stay in their house for two weeks, while we're here in Boston! Tara and Ashki haven't got any kids yet — but no doubt they'll be getting round to it, before too long. The couple are both studying (post-grad) at university this year, but they'll be getting back into the workforce come next year. Tara does a bit of work as a Hebrew teacher, and she helped Adam to prepare for his upcoming barmitzvah. Really friendly people, and full of warm heimische spirit.