This Corner of the Earth Smiles at Me. - Part One
Take the Weather with You. - Part Two

Two song titles from two totally different artists and genres.

Two songs that have resonated with me over the weekend. Obviously there was the plethora of patriotic tunes, like God Bless America and the National Anthem to audibly ingest - but the title of this post is what has been ingrained in my brain like a bad pop song.

The first song is from Jamiroquai and part one of this blog entry (part two coming later...)

I've been on the road 17 days, and this corner of the earth smiles at me. Massachusetts has smiled upon me, ear-to-ear.

I got into Boston Wednesday night to see Alex Goldsmith (my only cousin on my Dad's side). We are the same age, and get along very well. Alex has been living in Boston for the past 4 years (I think?) and went to Suffolk University. The only other times I've been to Boston were in 2003 and 2008. The later to visit Alex on my way to study abroad in Copenhagen, and the previous for a Red Sox game with my Mom on our baseball road trip during high school.

As soon as I got to Boston, Alex left back home to San Francisco to see her grandmother and her mom's side of the family. Alex's grandmother isn't doing that great, so it is nice that she got to back to see her for the Independence Day weekend. Alex left me her keys and introduced me to her two roommates, Lauren and Bridgett. Alex lives in "Southie", or South Boston. Not that far from the T-Trains and an easy bus ride to downtown Boston. I've been using a 7-day bus and train pass to get around Boston very easily. Thursday morning I ran around Southie to check out the neighborhood and waterfront. I ran along the boardwalk / bike path throughout City Point and Southie for an hour and got my day started. I then got back to Alex's apartment and relaxed until going downtown at 5:30pm to meet Jeff and Stacey for a drink and appetizers / dinner. They are both friends from my study abroad program that I met in Copenhagen. They went to Bentley University in Waltman, northwest of Boston. We sat down at Elephant & Castle restaurant downtown for 2 hours. It wasn't enough time to catch up and recap the past 2 years. Jeff had to leave at 8-ish and Stacey and I walked around talking more. She showed me some fun night life areas as well as we walked, useful for Friday night.

Before Friday night comes Friday morning. I slept-in Friday morning and did some grocery shopping for the girls as a thank you. I also cleaned up the kitchen, did the dishes, and straighten-up. I then went to Cambridge and Harvard University because I'd never been there before. I thought it would be an interesting place to get lost and check out the oldest university in the United States. It turned out to be a beautiful place to be enamored with the architecture of the time period. I didn't learn much about the area because I don't pay for tours and touristic activities. I can do all the research on Harvard online. I said earlier that my trip was inspired by the Art of Non-Conformity blog, so I intend on just "getting lost" in the physical, architectural, and cultural landscapes.

I rode back to Alex's apartment in order to get ready for the Red Sox game. I rode over to Fenway area to meet up with Jenna Barnes, a good friend from the University of Oregon. I met Jenna for the first time when she played lacrosse for the Ducks, but then we got more friendly in classes while jointly studying sports marketing. She grew up in Marion, MA which is an hour southeast of Boston, near Cape Cod. I met up with her, Jessica, and Marshall McLean (her boyfriend of 2 years). We all got to Fenway Pahrk around 6:30 to find tickets before the 7pm first pitch. The problem with the Red Sox is that tickets are always in demand, ALWAYS. They have sold out 594 straight games - that's 7+ years selling out games. Before game time, scalpers were asking $75-$125 for the crappy seats in the outfield and grandstands. We were all willing to spend $50 max, so we went to Cask & Flagon to wait until the second inning when tickets would be cheaper. After a drink inside the #1 rated baseball bar in the United States, we found our $50 seats and got inside for a great game! The Red Sox won 3-2 after a 2-2 battle for the first 8 innings. They scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th on a bloop single. We got to single "Sweet Caroline" and "I'm Shipping Up to Boston". It was truly an awesome experience. The fans of Red Sox nation are the best crowds to watch a regular season game with. I can see why tickets are so expensive every game, totally worth it.

After the Red Sox game, we went back to Marshall's apartment near Northeastern University (the school he goes to). Marshall is a Massachusetts native and a interesting guy to be around. He is straightforward and outgoing. From what I saw, he was the ringleader of the night and the weekend all-together. He motivated the group of 9 people in the apartment to go to the Harp bar and have a great night. The music was decent and the clientele was all having a great time. We all danced and had fun until 1am. We knew we had to get out of there in order to be prepared for a big Fourth weekend.

The I-day weekend got started with Jenna picking me up from Alex's to head down to Marion and he house. [One hour ride later].... Marion is an affluent-based summer town of 15,000 people with sunshine and 5,000 in the snow. The harbor is situated in Buzzard's Bay, which is considered the "South Coast" bay in relationship to Boston. Cape Cod Bay is the "South Shore" bay, which runs along the east coast of Massachusetts. Buzzard's Bay runs along the south coast of Massachusetts and our harbor had over 200 sailboats in it. I would assume there is over 100,000 boats in all of Buzzards Bay and even more in Cape Cod Bay. Kids learn how to sail before they learn how to ride a bike in these areas.

Jenna gave me the tour before heading out with Marshall, her two friends (Dana and Tina), and her dad on their 38-ft yacht / sailboat. I've been sailing four times before, but this was much different. The weather was perfect the whole weekend for sailing, which injected euphoria to everyone in the area. Jenna's dad took the boat out with all of us ready for a couple hours of sailing in the bay. I got to sail upwind for a bit and then tack the boat across wind in order to head back in. All I did was turn the wheel, so it really didn't feel like I was doing much work, and I really wanted to learn more about sailing, the motions, responsibilities, and the terminology. I was asking questions, but it didn't seem like anyone was going out of their way to teach me. In a way I was a little disappointed, but I couldn't ask for a better day to be on the water and have a native sailing experience in the Northeast!

I am going to have to make this Part-One of a two-part blog entry for the past 5 days.

Part-Two coming tomorrow or later tonight....

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