Boston

We woke early this morning to the very sad news that our dear friend Judith had passed away Friday in Hospice North Shore. Judith’s illness has been borne with dignity and courage and we have admired her spirit beyond belief. She and Ray have been the most loyal, caring and special friends to Vern and I and our thoughts today are with dear Ray, Richard and Kirsty, Oliver and Daniel and Jane and Craig, James and Sophie and also Marilyn, Donald and Ginny. Their loss will be hard to bear.
So our day in Boston was a little subdued as we thought of home, family and friends and just had a special day together. We went on a tour of this beautiful city, home of the Boston Red Sox, to see Boston Common, past Quincy Market, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is also a famous academic institute with graduates who include Kofi Annan, Buzz Aldrin and Benjamin Netanyahu and an hour-long tour of Harvard University where Brendan visited two years ago on his Travelling Fellowship. It was an awesome tour with an under-graduate student who was very entertaining and very knowledgeable and impressive. He also wore a t-shirt with “Hahvahd” on the front to make the point that the “r” is not pronounced – pretty easy for the Kiwis but very difficult for the Amerrrrricans here! Harvard is an 85 ha campus situated on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts which is over the Charles River here in Boston. 21,000 students are enrolled at Harvard, 7,000 undergraduates and only 5% of students who apply are accepted. So the famous people who attended Harvard and graduated include JFK, Barack Obama, George Bush, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Ban-Ki Moon. Some famous people who attended and did not graduate were Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Matt Damon and Natalie Portman. It has the largest university endowment in the world of over 35 billion last year. The buildings are rather English in design – as is a lot of Boston actually. After the business and craziness of New York, we loved this city with its more sedate pace and beautiful buildings and parks.

Last night we watched a live-stream on TV of the awful events in Dallas – not sure if it reached the news at home but five police officers killed in a protest most probably as a result of the police shootings of the two black men in the past week. There is something very wrong with this country and the presence of guns seems to be at the heart of it. It was frightening to watch last night. May this never happen in our homeland.

We have just come back from dinner with the other Kiwi couple. We used it to privately toast our dear friend and what she taught us during her illness – live every day as if it is your last.

A perplexing thing happened this evening at dinner. This guy standing at the bar near where we were sitting eating dinner suddenly waltzes over to Vern and gives him a shoulder massage. To make matters worse, he starts “flirting” with me! Now can you belieeeeeeeve it? I have kids older than this guy. Think he needs to go to Specsavers!

Only one minor challenge at this beautiful old Fairmont hotel at Copley Plaza – it took two of us to work out how to get hot water in the showerrrrr last night and it took a while! So tomorrow we climb onto a boat to go sailing through New England whilst our thoughts are very much back in Auckland with our dear friends and family.

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