Hello from Boston!
We've been here a whole week and a half now, so I pretty much know jack shit. But here are the few things I've figured out so far:
1. Public spaces like parks and playgrounds and libraries are paramount. It's that urban vs rural contrast. In the city, life happens outside your 1000-sq-ft flat. And having kids just means you're out in community spaces more often, especially in the city where you don't have a yard. Dig it. Glad my tax dollars are going to support these things. Socialism rules, baby.
2. Great Italian food here. Not as much gluten-free as in hipster-foodie Portland, but French fries are GF, so I'll survive.
3. The accent is for real.
4. Cambridge is super-urban. It reminds me so much of Berkeley. Lots of that Shattuck and Telegraph Ave energy.
5. Welcome to big city traffic. Portland's "gentle urbanity" spoiled us on that. Grateful I've been hardened by SF traffic so it doesn't feel like such a shock.
6. People smoke here. Not used to that.
7. The sun comes out, and stays out!! Two, three days in a row!!
8. Diversity is epic and essential. International communities for the win. I love, love that we walk into the library and Duke hears a million different languages and witnesses a million different races and religions and ethnicities and family configurations and it's all just a part of the normal daily tableau.
9. Portland got us all soft on shit like parking and housing prices. Time to get back on the urban horse.
10. Lower your real estate expectations. Unless you're buying out in the burbs, you're buying a flat or a condo. The upside is most (all?) of the beautiful old homes around here are split into condos. It will take me awhile to get used to the idea that a nice 2br 1ba 900 sq ft condo runs $750k, though. And don't even think about two parking spots. (Someone told me one spot in Brookline went for $200k!!)
11. Walking is key. Public transport, too. Pahk the cah already.
12. The parents in Duke's little Waldorf parent-child class are super cool. One's a public health professor at Boston College; another has worked at Harvard for 15 years. Could get used to this. Smart people abound.
13. Walden Pond is a real place and we can go there to swim and pet small animals.
14. The moving truck may actually arrive...tomorrow.