Speedo

So back when I used to live in Boston I always wanted to do this run because not only does it benefit a local charity in Boston but it’s kind of a classic Boston thing to do. It was always on the front page of the Metro and Boston Globe the following Monday and every passing year I was upset that I was never able to register.

Well guess what. I registered. Me and a bunch of my friends are going to be running a mile around downtown Boston on December 10th rocking nothing but a speedo and some running shoes. Will it be cold? Um, duh, it’s Boston in December. But will it be worth it? Of course!

This year the run will benefit the Play Ball Foundation, which provides Boston middle school students with a chance to play and build friendships and character through the lessons of sport – teamwork, communication and discipline. And not only that, but the run is a Boston tradition and I’m finally able to be a part of it! So please donate today! Any amount helps and it goes to a great cause!

Plus I’m sure some chick will be there taking mildly embarrassing pictures if you want to laugh your ass off because I’ll be out there (really, really out there) in December!

Catch-up

Holy crap I haven’t posted to my blog in a while.  I should probably catch you all up.  Let’s see, since we started HB2 in school I had a couple of weekends free to travel up to Boston.  One weekend I went up just for fun, and the following weekend I went up for Head of the Charles (HOCR).  I got to see my buddy CH, and honestly after spending so much time indoors studying for the HB1 exam it was nice to just be in Boston and walk around outside.  I met up with my old roommate ER for a drink (turned into pitcher after pitcher) and then grabbed some much-needed delicious brunch the following day at Grafton Street with SR.  So good.  Then during HOCR weekend I got to see my old crew buddies and watch on as some of them raced in the Alumni 8+ event in the HOCR before watching some more races and hitting up Border Cafe with the Westwood crew.  Plus I got to catch up with ER again and see JJ and ML.  All in all, it was good to see everyone.  And it was great to get out of Farmington for a couple of weekends.

And can we talk about this October snow storm?  What the hell?  Even after strategically parking my car for the night of the storm I still woke up the following morning to find a branch resting on it (but thankfully no damage).  But falling asleep that night was eerie because you could hear distant (and nearby) branches snapping off trees and crashing below.  Branches and trees are down all over the place, and the whole northeast half of Connecticut is pretty much entirely without power and heat.  There are only a handful of people in my class that have power.  Let me be the first to tell you that it’s pretty chilly sleeping at night.  Last night I had to dawn sweats, a hat, and socks to stay warm underneath my blanket and comforter.  But it wasn’t too, too bad.  I mean, we’ll survive.  Right now for electricity and internet (and heat) we all hang out at the health center (not like that’s anything new).  But hey, it’s the whole half of the state, so we’ll just have to be patient and wait for the CL&P crew to get us all back up and running.

And to think we probably got the worst storm of the season in October.

Boston

Boston.  My city.  I miss it.  I’ve been getting insanely homesick and want to get back, visit my friends, and go out and have a good time.  Let’s just say life here in Farmington is, well, different and it’s definitely taking me some time to adjust.  I mean, I love my classmates, but still some of my best friends are back in Boston and I miss them.  And I miss the nights where CH and I would “have a drink on the Esplanade” and then wind up at Eastern Standard at 2:00am on a Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday) night for $3 shift beers and some late night treats.  Hell, I miss just wasting away an entire Saturday bumming around downtown with CH.  I miss relaxing with the old roomies out on the porch as the sky turned that purple-orange-pink of a summer sunset.  I miss raging to the 80s cover band Fast Times with all my BC friends down by the Garden as the memories of the night began to blur together.  And I miss the city.  Sure, there are the “fun” parts like the T shutting down early, crazy Red Sox traffic, and stupid, cracked-out BU hipsters, but all in all I love Boston.  Over the six years that I spent there during school years, the summers in between, and my couple of years of employment after graduation, the city became my home.

I first left my hometown of Byram, NJ to go to college at BC.  I remember visiting the campus for the first time after I was accepted and I was instantly obsessed.  Coming from a small high school I hit a point where I wanted to (and needed to) reinvent myself, which is why I moved out of the state and wanted to go to a school where I didn’t know anybody.  I wanted a fresh start.  I literally wanted to leave everything (but not everyone) behind.  In fact, the song “Boston” by Augustana was like my personal anthem, particularly with lyrics like, “I think I’ll go to Boston / I think I’ll start a new life / I think I’ll start it over, where no one knows my name.”  I just needed to get out, I needed to challenge myself, and I needed room to grow and to figure out who I was (as cheesy as that sounds).  And together BC and Boston allowed me the freedom to become the person I am today.

I remember the moment when I fell head over heels in love with Boston.  It was sometime when I was at crew practice and I was out for some reason, so I was put in charge of filming the rest of the guys to check out their rowing technique.  But it was early, probably sometime around 6:00am when we reached the basin of the Charles River.  The sun was rising above the Prudential and Hancock buildings, and it was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun was so bright it was blinding through my sunglasses, and the shimmering yellow-gold-white reflection off the water was breathtaking.  Absolutely breathtaking.  At that moment I was in love.  The Boston skyline was so beautiful right at that moment, how could anyone not love it?

I already have plans to make it back for the weekend of the Head of the Charles to reunite with my old crew buddies and enjoy a weekend of freedom after my first exam.  And honestly I can’t wait.  It’s the light at the end of my seemingly long-ass tunnel.  I’m almost even contemplating going back the weekend before HOCR just to do everything non-crew related and actually be able to go out and visit everyone that I can.  But that’s still up in the air, because who knows what sort of celebratory festivities may be occurring that weekend after our first exam down here in CT.  But regardless, I’ll be back soon enough.

Oh Boston, how I miss you.

(And Flickr’s being stupid, so here’s the full-size picture of the sunrise I was talking about.)

Victory

Amazing.

That’s all I can really say about last night.  The city of Boston was on fire last night as the Bruins came to secure the Stanley Cup in Game 7 with a final score of 4-0.

I’m not going to lie, I was extremely nervous and superstitious going into the game.  I didn’t want to jinx it in anyway whatsoever.  I didn’t entertain the thought of possibly winning in my own head.  There was an unspoken fear going into the game amongst Bruins fans that we were going to get destroyed (again) at Rogers Stadium back in Vancouver.  The Bruins had lost each and every game of the series held there.  The team and the fans knew that they really needed to step it up, but still I was afraid we weren’t going to be able to pull it off.

I went down to Kenmore to watch the game with my buddy CH and enjoy some gin and tonics (with a splash of St. Germain, of course).  I was running late and was following the Bruins on Twitter through most of the intense (and surprisingly very quick) first period.  The entire T ride to Kenmore seemed to take forever as I constantly refreshed my Twitter feed and then nervously reading every Tweet from @NHLBruins.  I was glad, however, that I wasn’t watching the game at a bar.  Personally, bars for games like this make me nervous because people are drunk, there’s always that one tool of a fan of the opposing team antagonizing Boston fans, and then a fight erupts.  So to I was happy I was on my way to my buddy’s apartment where I’d be able to relax (or at least try to) on a comfy leather sofa and pour my own drinks just the way I like them.

The moment I got to CH’s place the goals started coming.  Marchand assisted Bergeron’s first goal of the night toward the end of the first period.  And then Marchand and Bergeron scored another pair of goals in the second period to bring the score up to 3-0.  I was finally able to calm down, although I’m not going to lie the gin was definitely helping with that.  Only at the end of the second period was I beginning to actually entertain the possibility of the Bruins actually winning the Stanley Cup.  And then as time ticked away in the third period, Marchand silenced the Canucks fans with yet another goal with less than three minutes to go.

The clock ran to 0:00 and the buzzer rang in victory for the Boston Bruins.  Boos from the Canucks fans were the sound of pure joy here in Boston.  The whole city erupted, from North Station to Kenmore to Fenway.

Of course, today the whole city is hungover today (myself included, as I rolled into work at 11:00am sporting my Oakleys and sipping an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts), but at least it’s justified.  It’s the first Stanley Cup win for the Bruins since 1972 which is definitely reason enough to have celebrated late into the Wednesday night.

Congrats, boys.  Enjoy it.  You guys deserve it.

And for awesome pictures from the game (from where I got the pictures for this post), be sure to check out the gallery on the Bruins site here.

Skydiving

I’m pretty sure we all have that list stashed away somewhere up in our mind of things that we’d love to do but never really get around to doing them.  Essentially we all have our bucket list.  Well, last year I made a New Year’s resolution to start taking things off my bucket list.  I figure, why wait?  You only live once, so you have to pull a carpe diem kind of thing every once in a while.  And so last year I ran my first half-marathon with Team Challenge to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and also stepped it up and ran my first full-length marathon (26.2 miles is really, really far).  So I decided this year to keep that momentum going and keep checking things off my list.

Now I’m what you may call a little bit of an adrenaline junky, and I’ll do anything to get that rush holy-crap-my-life-is-in-danger feeling.  I like doing things that make my heart rate skyrocket and make me really question, “What the HELL am I doing right now?”  So last year when there was a BuyWithMe offer for Skydive New England to go on a tandem skydive for $160 (down from $240 or so) I, along with my roommate ER and my fellow co-worker ET, decided to pull the trigger and buy it.

Best.  Decision.  Ever.

We picked the most beautiful Saturday in early June to road trip up to Maine and jump out of a plane.  (Does that sound a little ridiculous, because it probably should.)  It was warm, sunny, and only a few puffy clouds in the sky.  The whole place was very hippie-esque, with regular skydivers lounging around outside on couches, a chick with deadlocks behind the counter running the whole operation, and a peace sign built out of stone in the back.  We checked in for our class, watched our little safety video, signed and initialed a bunch of waivers (and I mean a bunch), and next thing we knew we were getting suited up, strapped in, and loaded onto a plane.

It took about twenty minutes for us to get to altitude.  Twenty minutes to keep climbing up higher and higher, watching the ground out the window getting further and further away.  At some point on the ascent to our now impending skydive, my camera guy commented on how great the view was from up there and also informed me that we still had about 10,000 feet to go.  (Gulp.)  Finally, after twenty long minutes with my heart pumping faster and faster, our plane leveled off and we got the green light to jump.  The door opened up, wind rushed into our plane, and we all started to scoot forward on our seats to get ready to jump.  The girl jumping before me approached the door with her guy, there was a quick count of 1, 2, 3, and she was gone.  My eyes widened.  It literally looked like she got sucked out of the plane.

My turn.

“What the HELL am I doing right now?”  I looked out the door and let out a muffled nervous laugh.  The wind was blowing loud and hard and we were definitely 14,000 feet up in the air.  We squatted down, got the count of 1, 2, 3, and jumped.

In seconds we hit our max speed of some 100-something miles an hour, and I let out a brief, “HOLY SH*T!”  The rush of air blowing past us as we fell, without any real support, for over a mile in a matter of seconds was intense.  I mean, you’re falling at high speeds approaching a very hard ground without any safety net.  Sure, you have your parachute, but that’s not open yet.  You’re just FALLING.  And falling and falling.  I mean, really think about that.  You just jumped out of a plane.  Yeah, normally you don’t do things like that.

When we reached the right altitude my guy pulled the shoot and we had a nice coushy deceleration.  Luckily he prefaced me with, “What you’re about to feel is totally normal,” before he loosened the straps on the harness which caused me to drop an inch or two and gave me a mild sense of be released to my doom.  Luckily, however, the float down to the ground was pleasant and quaint and I was able to consciously take in the view of the mountains and amazing scenery that Maine has to offer from a few thousand feet up.  Although I couldn’t stop laughing at what I just did.  I kept thinking, “Holy crap I just went skydiving!”

Bucket list activity, go skydiving: Check.

We landed, safe and sound, and so did my roommate and co-worker.  We felt like such badasses, and rightfully so.  Once we got our suits off I called home to let Mom know that a) I just went skydiving (she didn’t know beforehand), and b) that I was safe and back on the ground.  All in all, it was totally worth it.  Now I just need to think of what I should do next.

Bungee jumping anyone?

View full-size images of these pictures on my Flickr page.

Launch

Alright I gotta be real for a second.  I’ve got a lot of friends who have blogs, and to be honest some of them are pretty dang good and I enjoy reading them on a regular basis.  So I’ve decided to join the masses and start my own.  I’m not going to have a theme because I feel like it’s too restrictive, and there’s more interesting stuff to life than focusing purely on one particular topic.  I want be able to write about things that I find interesting to write about.  Seems pretty blatantly obvious, but that’s exactly why I want to have an open, honest blog.

So basically here’s the deal.  I’m a 24-year-old living and working in Boston for one last final summer before heading off to pursue my dream of getting my MD/PhD at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine (that’s what’s up).  As a graduate from Boston College in 2009, I’ve sort of fallen in love with everything about Boston, from the crazy drivers who essentially ignore all traffic laws, the reliability of the Green Line (yes that’s a joke, you can laugh), the way the Citgo sign lights up Kenmore at night, eating canolis from Mike’s Pastry down by the waterfront, to just chilling out on the Esplanade along the Charles River.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate and cherish my roots of growing up in good ol’ Byram (NOT Sparta), New Jersey, where no, there aren’t sewage plants and run-down industrial buildings next door.  Rather, home for me is on a beautiful small lake where the waves of passing boats lap in rhythm against the dock and bulkhead, where the swans and ducks bob for food with their butts in the air, an occasional fish breaks the surface to snag a dragonfly, and where Mom still greets me with something freshly baked right out of the oven.  It’s a rough life, I know.

But I don’t really like to let anything define me.  There’s not one part about me that’s “who I am,” so to speak.  There’s more to me than just science nerd, marathon runner, BC alum, Crohn’s patient, hockey fanatic, or professional badass (just kidding on that last one).  Sure, they contribute to my life, but picking out a single one of them doesn’t really define who I am.  That’s why this blog is going to be whatever I want to write about at any given time, of course with contributions from some of the bigger things going on in my life.  Just as my life changed when I moved to Boston to go to BC for undergrad and I knew absolutely no one up here, I’m doing the same thing again in a few months when I move to Connecticut (for the next seven to eight years of my life OMG).  I’m 24.  I’m young(ish).  I’m fortunate to have some fun experiences with friends while still pursuing my professional dreams.  So it’ll be fun to share stories and experiences from my life on things that I find interesting to write about.  Enjoy.