Hello from Boston! Just over a year after the idea first occurred to me, I am finally here to begin my graduate studies.
I am happy to be in Boston but I am not sure Boston is as happy. I arrived on a Tuesday evening, and was welcomed by a heavy downpour. My host family was at the airport to pick me up, holding a placard with my name on it. We'd never met before then. Over the next few days, they redeemed my faith in the goodness of mankind with many acts of kindness, both great and small.
When we reached my apartment, I realised that they mean things literally here in the US. "Unfurnished" means just that. No lights, no fixtures. A living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, two bedrooms and a balcony is what our lease agreement promised and that was exactly what was delivered. Nothing more, nothing less. Other than the shower curtain in our bathroom, the curtains in the living room, and a solitary light bulb in the kitchen, all of which seemed to have been left behind mistakenly, our flat came as naked as a newborn.
On our first night in our new home, we, my room mate and I, slept in the living room on mattresses that my host family generously brought along, braving the rain and the night. Since then, we have survived on food from Trader Joe's and regular spurts of kindness from them. They drove us to IKEA over the weekend, where we spent a long afternoon marvelling at the wildly successful marriage between Swedish design and Chinese manufacturing. I am 5'3" tall (or 5'3" short, depending on how you look at it) and my room mate can hardly be described as a large person. And so it was my host family that helped us lug our loot from IKEA - large mirrors for us to look vainly into, a microwave to heat our leftovers in, and even a book case to hold the many economics books that we will no doubt acquire over the next couple of years.
We finally managed to put it together last night, after a day of IKEA shopping and furniture lugging. Beef stew with mashed potatoes. Recipe and pictures to follow.