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The Glow of Appreciation after 2 Years Without Winter

The resounding song in my universe since returning from nine months of travel has been entitled: “Appreciation!”

There is nothing like being away from something for a time to make you re-see it in its original glory.

Beautiful Boston Lights
Boston’s Back Bay looks lovely with holiday decor.

That said, life isn’t always a happy-shmappy song. Right now, for instance, I’m in a nutty mood. My daily 5:30am alarm this morning was not enough to force me out of bed fast enough to catch the Orange Line train I wanted, so I missed the 6:30am bus connection at Ruggles station, so by the time at I arrived at the weekly faculty co-op breakfast (how nice is it that we have that?!) I had only 2 minutes to stuff banana bread and coffee into my face… not a moment too soon because without my usual addiction-feeding coffee at 5:55am, the caffeine withdrawal headache looms!

Then the piercing Homeroom bell shrieked, and I sprinted (or rather, shoved my way, as through a clotted artery) down the student-choked halls to enter the pitch dark classroom (the sun hadn’t quite risen) in which fourteen students were already sitting, waiting for me to turn on the light, because only a trained teacher can turn it on, given that the light fixtures are from roughly the year 1830 and are activated by (I kid you not) sticking a paper clip into a metal socket in the wall until you flip an internal wire.

Happy third night of Hanukkah!
Happy second night of Hanukkah!

Pant, pant, pant. Whine, whine, whine.

And yet… this life is EXACTLY what I want right now.

In my career as a Boston teacher, I have seen major craziness (FAR crazier than sticking a paper clip in a wall socket each morning), but I have ALWAYS felt fulfilled, and felt that the work was worthwhile. Now, having been away from BPS for a year, I appreciate it so much more! (This rejuvenation in the classroom is a major reason I started to urge and assist more teachers to take time to travel!)

The list of things I re-appreciate after a year abroad stretches on further than my long and gangly legs. On an extremely practical level, I now worship my Medical Benefits and steady paycheck. What a difference that foundation makes!

But what I’m currently particularly excited about after a year’s hiatus are the SEASONS. If you note my exact Around the World itinerary (Southeast Asia -> West Africa -> Iberia), you’ll realize: I have not seen winter in 2 years! As for visuals, in wonderful Thailand (a Buddhist country), there were smatterings of Christmas decorations, but not many, and there was certainly no Hanukkah decor.

There were also no rainbow-colored leaves in autumn, and no graceful, bare trees in December. There were oceans of wonderful things, but there was no family gathering, nor staff holiday party!

Boston holiday lights.
What a warm glow you feel inside when you see these lights.

So stroll with me around Boston with these photos, friends (whoops — I almost write “fiends,” which you certainly are not!), and feel that glow with me!

As splendiferous as palm trees and crystalline beaches are, there is nothing in the tropical world like the emotion of holiday lights on naked trees, glittering through wintery air.

What about you? What are you appreciating lately, and why?


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Sunday 14th of October 2012

I used to love in days of old how the Boston Common was decorated; Filene's and Jordan Marsh in Downtown Crossing had their animated window decorations; and Faneuil Hall looked all festive. Alas Filene's and Jordan Marsh have gone and Downtown Crossing seems to be forgotten; like the old "Combat Zone" has crept up and engulfed it. I was amazed because when I worked in downtown Boston, we used to walk up there for lunch and just watch the people and take in the sites and the sales.

These pictures are great and thanks for sharing them with us! I know the Mall at the Pru used to spruce up for the holidays as did areas of the Back Bay and the Copley area. Hope you post more holiday pictures when the season starts up! :-)


Sunday 14th of October 2012

Though Filene's Basement is no more, Downtown Crossing is NOT dying. Rather, it's growing again in a great new way: hip restaurants and clubs, apartments (which my friends are moving into) and more. Indeed I will take photos there for the holidays, so stay tuned!

Jun Hao Wu

Thursday 23rd of December 2010

What about me? I am a really good boy that wakes up every morning at 6:15 A.M. I work at my fullest at school, but I am still a human make mistakes! Right now I really appreciate how my friends are supporting me at everything and help me go through tough assignments.

Ayub Sharif

Thursday 23rd of December 2010

I really liked how you conjured all of the "Christmas time" holidays all together. Like how you had Hanukkah, which was very considerate to people from other religions. I have a connection to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, when Harry had his first Christmas at Hogwarts and they had different people from different places at Hogwarts, so they were really considerate towards the people that don't celebrate Christmas.They had things from Hanukkah and Christmas which was really considerate towards Jewish people.

namir cabral

Wednesday 22nd of December 2010

One thing i really enjoy about these articles are the photos. They are really awesome and I these places quite often which makes the articles more exciting as I read them.


Tuesday 21st of December 2010

I am appreciating the snow, because I've been wanting it to snow FOREVER!! I love the snow! I'm glad I'm in Boston because a couple years back I lived in Florida, where obviously there is no snow :( I remember describing to my friends about the snow, and they looked at me as if I had two heads, because they've never actually seen snow, except on television.

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