Friday, November 30, 2012

Whimsurfing (Part II)

The call was from my friend Johnny, at whose house I stayed for last Thanksgiving. He had invited me to come again this year, but I wasn’t sure how I would swing that, since he lived in New Jersey. Thankfully, he goes to school in Massachusetts, so all I had to do was take a commuter rail to his school and then go South with him. The one thing I was worried about was actually being able to go down. Johnny was going to go down with his roommate and his roommate’s mother, so there might not have been enough room for me in the car.

The phone call changed all that. Johnny’s mom herself was going to come pick him up. All I had to do was get to Worcester a day earlier than expected. So, I packed my bags once more, and readied to depart from Fr. Victor’s. He was at work, but Matushka was there to drop me off at the T, where I made my parting gestures.

It was noon. I had four hours in Boston to get on that train. I wandered around Boston with my heavy pack. I walked around the downtown area and Chinatown, where I enjoyed some decent and cheap food. I got on the train and occupied myself with reading War and Peace.

When I looked up from my book, I saw an emptied train. In a panic, I looked and looked for an exit, and finally found one.

I waited in the train station for a bit and Johnny’s mom came by to pick me up. “I had such trouble getting here, everything’s so circuitous,” she said. We went to campus and sat in the Campus Center and had something to drink. Johnny was still in the Robotics Lab and would not be out until seven. He came before too long.

After a delicious dinner, we then got in the car and drove four hours to New Jersey. Johnny and I slept most of the way so it didn’t feel like much.

The days afterwards were relaxing and uneventful. I had a comfortable guest room and spent time reading and going on the Internet catching up on things. Thanksgiving itself was very nice, with a meal with all the fixings and convivial guests from England.

On the weekend, Johnny had to go back to Worcester for a concert, so I stayed with Fr. David Straut and his family. Pete and Kate were also staying there with their baby Lucy. I hadn’t been to Fr. David’s parish since Nic and Victoria’s wedding. I heard both the vigil and liturgy in English for the first time in a long time, a very pleasant experience. I also met a few friends I haven’t seen in a while.

It was my namesday on Monday, so I wanted to go back to Jordanville in time to catch at least a little bit of the Vespers/Matins service. I said my goodbyes and prepared to leave with Pete and Kate. At the last minute, Fr. David offered to do the whole vigil service for St. John Chrysostom for me after lunch. I readily agreed. The vigil went by so smoothly it felt like half an hour. Afterwards I stayed for dinner and then went back to Jordanville with Pete and Kate. It was the end of a long week.

There’s something to be said about traveling at the seat of one’s pants, which a friend of mine referred to as “whimsurfing.” The essentials of life become clearer, and it becomes easier—indeed, necessary—to live each day to the fullest. Travel reminds us that we are ultimately pilgrims in this world, and that we ought to receive even the smallest kindness with immense gratitude. My week in Boston and New Jersey put in touch with many wonderful people, and I am very thankful for all the help and support they gave me.

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