Last weekend I went to Boston (Somerville) to visit my sister & my niece. I used to live in the same neighborhood, and every time I visit it makes me nostalgic. Not just for the varied food, pretty architecture, and better city planning. I really miss being crammed up against a bunch of other people. I like sitting close to strangers on the train, eavesdropping on conversations in languages I don't understand, hearing children playing in the street. I am also a big fan of the flowering crabapples that swirl clouds of white & pink petals for a few weeks every May.
When I lived there, I hated it. It was hard to make friends. People were so reserved and guarded about meeting each other. People here in Austin are super friendly, and there's tons of stuff to do. Maybe because it's a place that people move to (and aren't from), everyone's reaching out to make connections and do things together. Maybe I just hated it because I was depressed for the three years I lived in Massachussetts.
I didn't just go to reminisce, I went to see my niece who has been sick for a couple of months. She's only a year old, so it's kind of a big deal. She's mostly better now, she's just very very little - she hasn't gained any weight since November or so. One of the kids I babysit for is two weeks older than her and outweighs her by about 6 pounds, more than my niece weighed at birth. Besides being tiny and malnourished, she doesn't seem affected by it - she's happy and busy playing with things, experimenting with the concept of prepositions (in/out, over/under are some popular games) and object permanence, and making weird lizard noises. Here's my little pirate covered in soba noodles that she won't eat: