Friday, 21 December 2007

Perfect to Stay

I said I love time, but never ever this long
[...]
Sooner or later I'll be perfect to stay

ON Thursday, December 16, 1773, the Sons of Liberty - American patriots and/or antiestablishmentarianists - reacted to the Tea Act, newly introduced by the British government, by emptying casks of tea from the Dartmouth into Boston harbour. The event, the Boston Tea Party, is often seen as a spark of the American Revolution, in which America rid its hands of those pesky Brits. A small sample of that tea actually still remains. Rescued and preserved it is now displayed in the Old State House museum in the centre of Boston.

Boston then, the final stop of the grand old tour of the world. A trip which I hadn't truly appreciated until I stood inside the Mapparium, a 30ft diameter walk-in globe, a three-dimensional map of the world as it was in 1935 composed of 608 stained glass panels. Situated in the Mary Baker Eddy library, adjacent to the First Church of Christ, Scientist (a concept I simply do not have time to explain), it was illuminating for two reasons. First, it is surprising quite how the politics of the world have changed in just 72 years. Countries were marked that have not existed in my lifetime; the power of the Soviet Union suddenly made sense seeing quite how large it really was; colonies were still in abundance. Second, it highlighted just how far I have gone in just four months. No wonder my mother was worried!

When we arrived in Boston it was under a foot of snow. When we leave tomorrow evening, it will probably still be under a foot of snow. Rarely has the temperature been above freezing. Rarely in this trip have I needed to wear so many layers. And now apparently it is Christmas, another fact I am having difficulty coming to terms with. For me winter began last week when I flew into the northern hemisphere for the first time since Singapore.

Boston is my favourite of our stops in the USA. It is pretty and interesting, less busy but more cultural than our previous stops of Washington DC and New York. Granted it is not the cleanest of places, and seems to have more than its fair share of insane people (I jest not), but it is a pleasant, friendly and agreeable place. It is also the intellectual corner of New England - yesterday we visited M.I.T and Harvard, though we got lost around Harvard, proving that we would not necessarily be cut out for this respected educational establishment.

Now, finally, it is time to come home, and about time too. Everything I have seen along the way has been an amazing experience, for I have seen and learnt things I shall never forget and I am extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to do so. But four months is too long to be away. I miss my family, my friends, my bed, beans on toast, English houses, tea, proper milk, pubs, the way the grass grows (for it truly is unique in Britain), proper money, proper food and a good old familiar routine. Most of all I miss Rachel, who has been patiently waiting for me to come home and to get the travelling bug out of my system. I'm afraid I haven't, so I'll just have to take her with me next time.

Thank you for reading the stories I have been able to tell while I have been away. There are so many more that I have not had time to share, which you will all inevitably hear with time, but don't expect to hear from me until after the new year, because straight after Christmas I'll be leaving on a jet plane...

Merry Christmas!

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