Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I caved and bought Panda Express...

Rhinda's flights had been rescheduled until 8am the next morning so we had to keep it reasonable. This still meant getting up at 5:30am and leaving by 6am since the T only starts a little after then. We said our goodbyes in the morning and this time I was truly alone.

It felt a little weird, to be honest...waking up in a hotel room by myself after sleeping in a room with five other people the last few days. At least I'd had someone sleeping next to me last night...I do get the impression that that might have been lonely and weird. Despite the fact that I live alone and have for the last...well, many years.

I did have errands to run though and there were things I wanted to do before leaving Boston. My flight was at 6:45pm that night and I had a schedule to keep. So after a quick shower and repacking of my bag, I was checked out of my hotel and walking down the streets like a native Bostonian on a mission.

One of my first stops? Copley Place - the high end mall of Boston. I know that sounds silly, but really, when a girl gets a chance to shop in America, she's gonna take it. London may be a great place to shop for some people, but I'm not one of those people. I've found British fashion to be...lacking in the style I am looking for. Plus everything is overpriced in comparison to the States. And with laws like "no sales tax for clothing purchases below $175" and a sales tax rate at 6.25%...I was definitely going to shop to my little heart's content. There was business to be had here. And I had serious missions to fulfill.

One of these missions was to find the perfect black pumps. When I moved to London I had to throw out several pairs of my shoes, one of which was my classic black patent leather pumps. They were old, worn, and cheap. Working in London's design department has definitely taught me that this is not alright and I wouldn't have been able to get away with them. Plus as I've worn heels for longer and longer periods (this includes my time in Helsinki), I've really realized the cost to comfort ratio, especially for heels. At the end of the day, all heels hurt. So it really does make a difference - cheap heels can only be worn for maybe 2-3 hours, max. Quality heels will not only last you a good 6-8 hours, they're also easier to clean and will likely make you look great in the process. There's something to be said for premium materials and design. Nuff said.

Needless to say I hit Saks Fifth Avenue first to try to find my One and Only. I tried on Manolo Blahniks, Chanel, Gucci, and Prada. None of them were perfect. I was fairly happy with the Guccis, but if I'm going to drop that kind of bank, it better be perfect. And it wasn't. So I left for greener pastures.

At this point in time I was starting to get a little lightheaded and hungry from all my mission working. I'd not eaten breakfast and it was my intention to hit Legal Seafoods as my last Bostonian food adventure. They had been recommended to me by several people as well and I wanted to have their clam chowder or maybe lobster bisque as my last meal. Plus they had one conveniently located at Copley Place. How more perfect could you get?

Unfortunately for me as my hunger set in, that was still another half an hour away. And I didn't think I could make it that long without something to eat. At that exact moment I happened to pass a food court. What did it have in it?

Freakin' cracky Panda Express.

Now, to those of you who don't know me well enough and my love of Panda Express...let me explain for just a minute. Almost every time I go back to the States I get Panda Express. It usually happens with my sister, who understands my love of bad Chinese food, and usually when we're doing something equally awesome, like watching romcoms in sweatpants. This is the kind of comfort food that Panda Express is to me. I completely understand that it is not Chinese food and that it's not even really good food. But for some reason it is food I need to have. Like once every 4 months. Or more often, if I can get it. It's like how I feel about nacho cheese and Burger King (though now that I can get Burger King in London I feel less about it somehow).

Anyway, this is what happened to me as I was starving, in a fancy mall, waiting for legit Bostonian food to open.

I hesitated. Could I really eat Panda Express in a city known for its lobster, crab, clams, and fish?

Yes, yes I could. I caved, and I caved hard. Not only did I eat Panda Express, I bought the two entree meal for myself and ate the entire thing in one sitting.

One sitting. I am a little person you have to remember. It usually takes me a solid two to three sittings to get through this box. But I guess after a week of nothing but eating, my stomach and metabolism had stretched because I didn't even feel grossly full after finishing this. I just felt satisfied. Not even guilty at my choice. Clearly a win.

Oh, and those who were curious: I got chow mein (always, the fried rice is only good if you want to soak up the sauce of something you've ordered...I feel very meh about it though going half half with rice and chow mein is okay), orange chicken (naturally, what other kind of cracky chicken would you really get), and Angus beef (I was disappointed in this because they charged me $1 extra but didn't tell me until they were already scooping it into my box...something something tell me that shaz beforehand and you weren't tasty enough to constitute the higher price).

Anyway, feeling refreshed and not so shaky after my rather embarrassing meal, I continued on my shopping madness. Straight across the street to Lord & Taylor.

Now I'd actually never heard of this store before. I only knew about it now because Rhinda had pointed it out to me on a walk together and mentioned how it was a fancy department store or something. I was curious and needed all the shoe variety I could get, so I went there hoping for glory.

Glory is definitely what I got.

I not only found great Calvin Klein black suede pumps for an unbelievable price, I also got black Steve Madden booties on sale as well. If I had been allowed to stay there longer I would have likely blown past any sort of control issues I have and bought myself out of house and home (that's not true but I did want to buy more shoes).

So, goals, check and check. I was feeling fine.

I had about an hour left before a scheduled call with my sister, so I walked down the main street of Boston, enjoying the sunshine and a delightful Starbucks chai latte (guess it's only fitting that I start and end Boston with chai lattes). I ran into a Trader Joes (had no idea they had them) and quickly went inside to raid for snacks I can't seem to get anywhere else - the jumbo raisin medley (one of my favorites and something I find so difficult to find in other parts of the world) and lightly salted almonds (I have no idea why but the British don't like to sell almonds...at all...or they're only slivered for baking...why would I want almonds for baking?! I want them for eating like regular nuts...they're one of the healthiest nuts!).

I then went to the Boston Commons and chatted for nearly two hours. It's one of the best parks to talk in - you can walk amongst the crazy nut-hiding squirrels and no one looks at you for talking outside. The scenery is gorgeous and the weather was fine. I was feeling wonderful about things.

And then it was time to leave this amazing city. I've not wanted to leave a place since visiting that peaceful archipelago near Turku in Finland. There are just some places...

Boston is a wonderful, walkable city. I could really see myself living here someday. I can see the appeal, and it is my full intention to return here someday.

Until then, I'll just have to keep all of these amazing memories. Like I said: it's not everyday you're celebrating your best friend's bachelorette party. And certainly not for a week in an amazing city.

Sometimes life is really, really good.

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