Boston-Not the right kind of town?
12, Aug 2009 01:04
As I was strolling Vincent down the street, along came a white lady looking at my "UC Berkeley" T-shirt, saying "Are you from Berkeley"? She stopped to talk to me and out of nowhere did she begin to tell me how much she dislikes this place (New England).
She said, "Don't waste you time staying here. This place has nothing but red bricks and dead pilgrims." "I'm telling you, seriously, these snobbish pilgrims will not accept anyone outside of New England. They don't care about you, they are suspicious and very protective to their rights and positions. Even I am a foreigner to them." "Seriously, I am warning you. You look like a sweet young lady and I, too, was like you when I moved here five years ago. Somebody tried to warn me but I didn't listen. But now I got my lesson. I cried and cried and have a river of tears realizing how hard it is to try to fit into this social circle. But at the end in vain."
She then told me how "unfriendly" people are in Boston. As we were speaking, she tried to say hello to the passengers, but only one, I swear, only one gentleman replied and looked her in the eyes. The rest of them just passed by looking somewhere else. "You see," she said. "This is how cold they are. They read a lot, but they don't talk to you, smile or converse. All they say is 'all set?''yep.' Why? Because by saying yep, they don't have to smile at you."
"But that's not how it works in the West coast." She went on. "In California, people don't care about your position, your color of skin, your academic achievement, etc. We say hi to people whoever we encounter." "But it's not the case in here. They(Referring specifically to White Irish descendants) judge you by your skin, and if you're white but not Irish, you're a foreigner to them still." Sadly, I guess she must have a lot of miserable experiences dealing with the New Englanders, otherwise she wouldn't say so much to a stranger like me.
I acted very politely and thanked her for the kind and sincere advise, and then we departed to different directions. As I strolled along the street, her suggestions still linger in my head. Indeed, People in Boston are not as friendly as people in Lansing or Cleveland, and so far I haven't made any English-speaking friends. I can totally agree with her, realizing the zero possibility to make friends with white Americans. By the way, her name is Sharon, who used to be a high school teacher in Arlington. She told me that once my son goes to school, I will be very lonely because I won't have any social life except hanging out with my Chinese/Taiwanese friends at church. I could imagine that as well. In face, this is the status quo of my life. I barely have any chance to speak English even when I am in the library participating children's programs. This is pathetic!
And then the California sunshine came to my sight. The breeze, the music and mild weather all reminded me how much I enjoyed staying at San Francisco that summer. West coast? Sounds like a good idea to me. Maybe I'd talk to Dean and ask him what he thinks about moving there a few years later.
I'd definitely weigh the pros and cons of Boston. Pros: Good museums, convenient oriental markets, the culture, and one of the best academic research destinations for Dean. But the cons? High living costs, unfriendliness, cold weather, too far away from Taiwan, etc. I begin to wonder whether this place is still the catch for us...