My vacation in Massachusetts has ended and I’m back in Colorado. I had a fantastic time there and while part of me is glad to be home, I discovered a greater part of me that wants to be back east. I wasn’t expecting this feeling to happen when the trip started and it took a couple of days to sink in, but now I’m looking for the next time I can go back. So today, I’ll be sharing some pictures and stories of my trip and explaining just exactly why I loved being in Massachusetts so much more than I expected to.
My trip started a week and a half ago on the 15th and just finished on the 25th, so we had about 10 days of adventure. We started the trip off pretty rough with a middle of the night flight and didn’t get to the hotel until 4:00, and then we didn’t get to sleep until 4:30-5:00. The next day though we celebrated the graduation of one of my cousins. I guess this is a good place to explain the craziness that is my mom’s side of the family. My mom is the seventh of ten children and between all those children are twenty-five cousins plus one first cousin once removed. So all in all, including my family, there are nineteen aunts and uncles, twenty-five cousins, a second cousin, a grandma, and any significant others the cousins might have. That’s nearly fifty people. Since there are ten children over the course of twenty-ish years and the oldest cousin is only about eight years younger than my youngest uncle, we have family ranging from two to sixty-two, not including my grandma. It’s totally strange; there was a Quinn child being born regularly for the past sixty years.
Anyway, this graduation party was the first time my family had been back home in four years and the first time we’ve seen one uncle (who is currently living in Vietnam) since my sister was born (he’d never met my brother). Most of that time was spent catching up with the cousins and uncles and aunts and Grandma. Four years of not seeing anyone can be a
LOT. Four years ago I was between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, fifteen years old, and VERY different. And for as much as I’ve changed, my cousins and aunts and uncles have changed too. Every meeting is different because of that. The little cousins are close to twice their ages and the older ones have gone through schooling, had children, or some other major life events. It’s crazy. So we caught up on a lot, had food, enjoyed the sun, and all that fun stuff. The entire time (aside from the first night) we stayed with one of my mom’s siblings, so that night we stayed with the family of my graduated cousin.
The next day we went out to breakfast at a really good restaurant with a ton of stuffed animals on the walls. Then later that day some of us went out to play mini golf at a place called Kimball’s in
Westford, MA. The most interesting story of that day would definitely be my cousin hitting a ball way too hard and into the small creek. Being the daring and courageous (and idiotic) person I am, I chased
the ball through the creek on the mini golf course until I finally fell down and caught it, slicing my foot and knee in the process. But hey, I got the ball. I won the game too, but that’s not too important. We finished that day off with Kimball’s ice cream, which is delicious. Even better is that the small ice creams are like two scoops, each the size of two of my fists. Needless to say, it’s enormous.
On Monday the eighteenth, we went to the beach for a couple hours until it started to get stormy, at which point we went to a neighboring beach town and got dinner, shopped, and walked around.
It was a neat little town. Before I go any further, I’ll just mention that for the first few days, I was woken up by my most difficult cousin, most often by having shaving cream applied to my face and/or hand. Here’s a picture I took of the shenanigans he does that is a good sampler of his personality:
Anyway, the next day we went to The Christmas Tree Store. That’s kind of like a dollar store, but with better items. It was there that I purchased two Game of Thrones posters that are totally awesome. Later that day, we went to go see a movie in a really boss movie theater. It only shows one movie at a time and it’s really old timey and it has a snack bar. The seats all have either a bar in front of them or tables beside them to put snacks on. I believe it was called The Strand. We ended up seeing Captain America: Civil War. I really do enjoy that movie and the theater made it an even cooler experience.
On Wednesday, I was having particular difficulties with the aforementioned shaving cream cousin, so I went with my step father to a Russian icon museum. I think I will post an entire post dedicated to some of the awesome stuff I saw in that museum, but I’ll give you a little bit of information here. An icon, at least in this sense, is basically a piece of wood that’s painted.
I don’t know what makes it different or special, but everything in this museum was relating to the Russian Orthodox church in some fashion. Most of the art depicted Jesus and/or different saints. Reading about the history of Russia and its artists was really fascinating and humbling. I had to keep reminding myself not to move too fast because this art is worthy of my attention. While I can’t spend my entire life looking at them, the pieces likely took weeks, months, and years of the artists’ lives. The least I can do is spend at least 30 seconds looking at and appreciating their work. Personally, I find medieval art to be less appealing aesthetically, but the meaning behind it is still very powerful. I’ll explain more about the meaning in another post, but I really enjoyed getting a little culture on my trip.
After that, we went and spent some time with another family. Do you remember the cousin I mentioned maybe a year ago? He was three years old when I last saw him and he was one of the things I looked forward to most about coming back. He’s seven now and still as adorable as ever, but he’s able to speak better and actually do stuff. In fact, we went and watched him play baseball! He had his first hit and scored two points for his team because of it. After that game, we went out to Longhorn Steakhouse and had a delicious (and ridiculously expensive) dinner. Then we finally went home with my other uncle and I slept in a room with turtles in it. Real pet turtles.
The following morning, we trekked into Boston. I can say a lot about Boston, but if you haven’t been there, it’s a nightmare as far as the roads are concerned. They’re pretty narrow, windy and twisty, and have several one ways. So finding parking was a nightmare and a half, which resulted in several explosions from me and my mom at each other. I definitely got the Quinn temper. Anyway, we finally parked and found our way to Faneuil Hall. We started walking the Freedom Trail a little until we came
upon street performers. They were decent, but spent most of the time hyping themselves up instead of performing. Plus, they were definitely race baiting everything. I don’t mind harmless race jokes, and I don’t think they were trying to be provocative, but it was just irritating when they called all white people rich and all black people poor. The performers were all black, by the way. I couldn’t understand why they felt the need to point out race so frequently and pointlessly. They even dragged out a token Asian guy saying something like, “Every group has to have an Asian guy,” and proceeded to refer to him as only, “the cool Asian guy.” Regardless, they did their relatively lame performance and we went on our way. We ate and shopped a tiny bit, then walked along the Boston harbor to the north end, where we found the old north church. My guess is that’s where the lanterns were hung that signaled Paul Revere to start his midnight ride.
We ended the day with some gelato from Mike’s Pastries and went to my grandma’s condo to have dinner with her and an aunt and uncle. That was really fun, and the Chinese food was really tasty. I’ve come to that age where now I can talk to my aunts and uncles more as an adult than a kid. That might be obvious since I am an adult, but the last time I saw them I noticed it too. These trips used to be about seeing the cousins, but now I can talk with the aunts and uncles as well; I actually look forward to seeing them and being with them. That was the first night we stayed with my aunt.
Then we went to the beach again on the next day. It was also very fun, but I still don’t think I tanned at all. I just comfort myself by saying I won’t get skin cancer. That’s how it works, right? After the beach, we went back and showered and stuff before having Grandma and some aunts and uncles over for a pizza dinner. That was more fun as well! We ate and talked and had a good time.
On Saturday, the twenty-third, we had our big day. It was my uncle’s sixtieth birthday and we were having another pool party at a different uncle’s house. It was a blast and a half. We swam in the pool, we did diving board competitions, ate dinner and cake, and played lots of games. Of the twenty-five cousins, seventeen were there and eight of the ten aunts/uncles were there. One of my uncles called the littlest cousin twenty-five, and that made me think about where I was in the roster. I think I am number thirteen, smack dab in the middle. What made this party so much more special was the interaction between everybody. Almost everyone was in the water at some point and playing games with each other, so it really felt like a family event. My favorite part was definitely playing with my adorable little cousin who up until that day I thought couldn’t really care less about me. But on that day, he relearned my name and was asking to play with me and everything. I consider my original goal fulfilled. I knew he wouldn’t remember me from last time since he was three, but I just wanted to get him to like me again, and that happened.
More importantly though is the feeling I got while being there. I know all of my younger cousins pretty well compared to the ones older than me. I’m not 100% sure why that is, but nevertheless I felt like I enjoyed myself so much around them. Even though we don’t see each other that often, we’re all Quinns. I always hated my middle name (which is Quinn) for several reasons, one of which was it was the same as my siblings’ middle names. Another was I thought the name was ugly, but now I think the opposite. I actually like the name Quinn, and it’s a little tough literally not being a Quinn. I’m a Smith, but in Massachusetts, surrounded by my Quinn family, I’m a Quinn. Just because I’m a Smith doesn’t mean that I’m not also a Quinn; I have that blood in my veins (I think I’ve watched too much Game of Thrones. Blood in my veins?). There’s a certain comradery that comes with being in such a big family. We all know we’re family and we’re all Quinns no matter what. I love that idea. But I hate the idea of leaving that behind. I hate that my life is so separate from my family and I know so little about all of them. I see how everyone else interacts with each other and I get jealous. It makes me want to know more about them and build better relationships with them. I want them to know more about me and I want to know more about them. You know, I want that feeling more often.
I don’t know how I can do that while living in Colorado or Utah, which makes me really want to consider moving to Massachusetts. The best time to do that is after I graduate from Weber and search for graduate school. I know there are a lot of awesome schools in Massachusetts and it would be a perfect opportunity to go out there. True, I’d be busy with school and the others would be busy with other things too, but being close is much easier to work with. It’s a tentative plan of mine. I love the area too. Boston is a super cool city; it has lots of history, lots of people, and lots of potential. There are beaches nearby, the woods are gorgeous, and of course my family is there. It’s still about two years away, but I won’t let this kind of four year absence happen again. I now feel like I need to see my family before people start going off into the world. Family is one of the most important things in the world, and it’s time I get to seeing mine.
After that pool party, we spent one more day in Massachusetts, which was spent lounging by the pool at yet another different uncle’s house. We had snacks, ate dinner, sat/swam in the pool, and said our final goodbyes at the end of the day. On the day we left, we had a quick lunch with my grandma and said goodbye to her before going back into Boston and walked around some more. I did get a great shot of Boston harbor though.
We made it to the airport and things went straight to hell. I forgot to put my pocket knife in the checked bag, so I had to give it up. Then, I forgot to take my laptop out of my backpack because my pocket knife was taken from me. And that’s only the start. The flight was delayed from Boston to Washington D.C. by five hours, so we missed the connecting flight to Denver, which means we spent seven hours in the D.C. airport until the next flight to Denver. On top of that, I didn’t sleep because I can’t sleep on planes and I felt like somebody had to stay up to make sure none of our stuff was stolen and we all woke up on time. That person was me, and when we finally got home after sixteen hours of airports and airplanes, I crashed. But that brings me back to Colorado and the end of my vacation. Thanks for reading!