July 11, 2007

It Lives!

Here it is... my first update from Worcester, MA. We arrived here on July 4 and have been furiously unpacking and such since then. My internet and cable service got turned on less than an hour ago. Everything appears to be working.

I have been tremendously out of touch with the world of late. I've had my MP3 player, which receives FM radio, as my only electronic media connection. FM radio in Worcester is largely classic and oldies rock formats; there's one talk station from Boston that I can pick up, but it's fairly right-wing and most of the shows are, frankly, far too stupid to listen to, and I mean that in the most factual sense of the descriptor.

The day after our arrival here, three of my new lab-mates were nice enough to take time out of their day to help us unload the truck. Good guys, the lot of them. After we'd finished, we met at a restaurant where I bought lunch and a couple of pitchers of beer. One local brew, Green Monster Ale, was tremendously hoppy. It started strong but finished pretty weakly, much like the team that calls the stadium in which its namesake stands home. I must be very careful about making such comments here. Worcester so far seems like a town that loves its baseball, and the home team is, of course, the Red Sox. My landlord, in fact, has a Red Sox flag — a full-sized one — hanging from a flagpole in the front lawn. I haven't mentioned what team I prefer lest I find myself evicted! Suffice to say that my Yankees caps are all hidden in the back of my closet until further notice.

There is good ethnic food here. Vietnamese restaurants are especially prevalent, and we've also "discovered" an excellent, family-run pizza place just a block from our apartment. I had the best calzone I've had in years last night... spinach and feta, no less. It's probably a good thing that I've started walking a lot more lately. I can see gaining any number of extra pounds around here. There's a seafood place, again within walking distance, that sells lobsters for $6.99/lb and steamer clams for $3.99. The closest supermarket has entire aisles of ethnic foods from Italy, Brazil, Poland, India, you name it. It's huge and we can get anything from ghee to gefilte fish anytime we want. It's been a long time since I've seen a supermarket like that. It's been a long time since I've seen a city like this, too. The cultural diversity here is amazing. I even got to practice a little Portuguese with the guys who installed our cable today (both Brasileiros).

LL and I did take a little time out of unpacking to visit the Worcester Art Museum a couple of days ago. Great place, and just barely small enough to be completely toured in a single afternoon. They have a very respectable collection, particularly when it comes to Dutch and Flemish paintings, particular favorites of mine. They've also got a very nice collection of Roman era antiquities unearthed during an excavation at Antioch. Once I get my Clark ID, I get free admission to the museum whenever I like. I could see it being an excellent place to get some reading done, particularly in their library.

All in all, I'm happy to be back in the northeast. It feels like I've come home; I don't think I'm having any problem at all getting adjusted here. Everything seems familiar and comfortable so far. I need to get the knack of the roads, but driving here is almost exactly like driving in Brooklyn. Even the accent is close to that with which I grew up. It feels right, and to make it all seem even more homey, I'm going to take a three hour drive and spend my sister's thirty-sixth birthday with her during the first week of August. It will mark the first time I've seen her in eight years, the first time I'll be meeting my niece, and the first time that my sister and I have lived within a 500 miles of one another in 20 years.

I think this is all going to work out well. For now, though, I think I'll go watch TV for the first time in more than a week and maybe play a mindless online game for a couple of hours. We've finally arrived fully, I think.

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