Curiously, almost exactly one year ago this very minute, I was in the vicinity of St. Louis.
We were passing through on our move to Boston.
Tonight, St. Louis -- or at least, its baseball team -- was passing through Boston. The Red Sox won the World Series tonight in the city for the first time since 1918.
Technically, it's Oct. 31 as I sit here. Which completes a full calendar year since our arrival Nov. 1, 2012.
What an amazing year it's been. I can hardly keep track of all the eventful things that have happened... a blizzard. Substitute teaching, my first week of which ended on the day of the Sandy Hook shootings just a couple of hours away. The marathon attack and its weird aftermath. A Stanley Cup final. The Whitey Bulger trial. The Aaron Hernandez murder(s?). Record heat. Blessed employment! Two horrific local crimes against young women that show the ugly side of life.
I've made major adjustments to my comfort zone... heavy usage of public transportation, dealing with the erratic persona of this place, living in a completely different environment. It's been fascinating, but...
... living here can be exhausting. The pace is frantic, and got even moreso when I began full-time work. I've stepped up my game, but I've had to.
Maybe the most disappointing aspect of life here is how difficult it is to make friends. My social circle has been small for a long time, and that's been by design -- the quality of friendship is much more important than the size of it. Individually, people here can be very warm and responsive, but collectively, there's a hardness and aloofness that is disappointing. I just don't want to succumb to that.
It's strange for me, this friend thing. It's like people are too busy for it. There is absolutely a bit of clannishness to it that seems to be in place... people run with the people they've run with for years, and few of the circles overlap. Plus it's hard to develop friends from your work contacts because there's always that line out there that no one knows for sure where it is, and when the discomfort begins.
I could probably riff on this a lot more, but even talking about it makes me feel odd.
Anyway. It's certainly been an interesting year. And if nothing else, it's served as a reminder that things can change very, very quickly. Will we be here in a year? Five years? Is this the place to put down roots? It's hard to know. Career-wise, things are going in a good direction. Life-wise, it's acceptable if a little socially stunted.
It's an interesting, stimulating place with lots of opportunities and potential, if a little cool. What will Year 2 bring?