HA. Do you see what I did there? I used a song title from musical group BOSTON for this post. Because I live in MASSACHUSETTS now. GET IT?
Shut up. You know you like it.
Honestly, though, living here IS more than a feeling. At first it started out as all this newness, this unexplored territory just waiting for me to imprint new tracks across it – and I did, and along the way I found an overwhelming persona of the area.
It sounds so simple, but: the people here are nice, ya’ll. I’m talking I have yet to put a quarter in a cart at Aldi’s, the toll booth people have made friendly conversation with Boy and I each time we’ve passed through, some random Atkins Farm employee offered to take a photo of my parents and I outside when they came in for a visit type of kindness. I’ve had waiters provide menu recommendations then actually steer us away from a pricey item because they thought it wasn’t a dish tasty enough and they didn’t want us to waste money, and another waitress who couldn’t stop going on and on about the color of my hair.
“These people are in the service industry, they have to act this way,” you might say. Fine, then what about every single person I’ve passed who has said “Hello, how are you?” on my run or the random woman on the street who complimented my scarf then recommended a great place for lunch?
There is a vibe of relaxation here, a feeling of life fulfillment. It’s so unlike NEPA that at times I just blurt out, “BUT EVERYONE IS SO NICE” to Boy, who I’m sure is sick of hearing it.
Back home, everyone is negative. You can practically see little red waves of hatred simmering off their bodies as they walk about, cursing the lives they lead and the people in them. No one is happy with anything: their job, their friends, themselves.
Around here people seem to genuinely enjoy who they are, what they’re doing. I’ve picked up on this in an odd way: I’ve seen maybe two obese people since we moved in. Anywhere. Everywhere. The people I come across seem to be healthy folk, and it’s no wonder with the abundance of locally grown and made products. I shit you not when I tell you that I could buy groceries and cook meals for Boy and I for a year without stepping foot inside a chain food store or restaurant.
Farms run rampant here and the words “organic” and “locally grown” are everywhere. When my parents came in we visited Atkins Farm, and I’ve never been more overjoyed to see produce in my life. I even latched on to a new veggie, Fiddlehead Fern, to cook (and which I will expound upon at a later date).
People here care for themselves, and for others. The area is wildly progressive; the Northampton Pride Parade that left the main crosswalk in the city awash with rainbow colors is a huge to-do, an example of the open and supportive mindset that seems to settle into the brains of most here.
It’s natural, of course, in an area known for its “five colleges:” Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
There are young minds everywhere, providing ample opportunities for cultural enrichment through various events, shops, and restaurants.
I’ve been told that there is still a set of people who come from the old school, who are not as open, but I have yet to see that. And if they’re there, they don’t cause any sort of stir.
Maybe I’m being naive. I know every location has a dark side, and I probably have yet to find the Pioneer Valley’s. For now, though, let me bask in this honeymoon period with my new area.
Link and I at the beginning of the road trip to our new home. I’m pumped. He’s generally anxious.
BOOM! Our exit.
Seen during my first outside run here – one of many farms. I can’t wait until crops start springing up.
A little MassDOT humor for you – the phrase before this reads, “When changing lanes…”My favorite: a sign about a quarter mile from our house. They literally mark where the town end and begin in spots. It’s so quaint. I hope it doesn’t incite any sort of territorial gang wars.