Boston Trip Memories

Preston Y. and Saskia Z.

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Wednesday, October 11: 10:00 p.m.

The sky darkens into a dark blue as you double, triple, even quadruple check your packing list. Clothes: check. Movies and other entertainment: check. Lots and lots of food: of course. The clock ticks the seconds and minutes through the night before your mom shouts at you to go to bed. You walk upstairs, get ready for bed, snuggle underneath the covers, and close your eyes, willing yourself to sleep.

But you don’t. While your mother thinks you are fast asleep getting your beauty rest, all you can think about is the time you will spend for the next 48 hours in Boston, Massachusetts, where you will go on an epic school field trip.

You probably get very little sleep that night.

Thursday, October 12: 4:00 a.m.

We can all agree that 4:00 a.m. really is too early to wake up for school.

You groggily shake yourself out of bed, stumble downstairs, and eat a supposedly healthy and hearty breakfast. You get your own ride or hitch a ride with a friend to Middlesex Middle School, where eight coach buses are waiting. In the pitch-black darkness, you look around at the hundreds of people surrounding you; you are lost in a sea of exhausted and braindead middle schoolers. Get out of there now.

You find your bus and check in your chaperone. You board the crowded vehicle and see your friends with that same fatigued expression on their faces. You fall into a seat, put your carry-on luggage beneath you, and stare endlessly outside the window into pure darkness. Before you know it, you’re off and on your way to the Plymouth Plantation. Part of you is excited for the adventures to come.

Part of you has no idea why you aren’t still snoozing off in bed.

Thursday, October 12: 6:00 am

You are already well into your trip but still haven’t registered that fact. The bus quietly starts to buzz with hesitant excitement. You see the teachers prepare to make their speeches. Rules: no candy, no gum. Got it? Good. Next rule: please sit down when the bus is moving. We don’t want anyone falling out of the windows. Final rule: please just don’t cause too much trouble for us. Got it? That’s excellent! Honestly no one is paying any attention, but that’s okay. It’s too early for anyone to do anything potentially fatal.

How about movie options? Ocean 11? Never heard of the movie; those guys couldn’t rob a bank to save their life. Holes? Nah; watched it too many times. What about that movie nobody knows where all the action that happens is the mother and daughter constantly fighting each other?

Nope; my siblings are already annoying enough.

Here’s a good idea. Why don’t we either play games on our phone, play hot potato with the speakers some kids brought, or just stare aimlessly outside of the window wondering why we aren’t cozily sleeping in our bed, our stomachs aching and our minds half-asleep?

That sounds more like it. Let’s do it.

Thursday, October 12: 9:00 am

After a long drive, you finally arrive at your first destination: the Plymouth Plantation and the Wampanoag Homesite. Time is limited, so you first dash down the dirt path to the plantation. The first cabin you reach overlooks the entire village as well as the calm sea behind it, and you stop for a second to catch your breath and admire the scenery. Then, you whip out your phone and flash pictures like it will save your life. You see a man showing how to load a rifle. Take a picture of that. You see a man sitting at a small desk in his cottage; take a picture of that. You see stacks of firewood, a marriage bed, and two small goats bashing heads against each other in the tiny pasture.

Definitely take pictures of that.

Your chaperone calls for you. The next path you takes winds through a dense woods to the Wampanoag Homesite. You immediately spot some differences. The Wampanoags take advantage of all of their natural resources, with the shimmering water nearby and the heavily wooded forests in every direction. You see animal skins, small straw huts, and a smoking fire with a single Wampanoag sitting down on a log. You know it isn’t real – everything is a recreation of historical events – but you suddenly think about how difficult it would be to live in such times, and how admirably resourceful these Wampanoags are.

Then your chaperone calls for you one last time, and you run towards the bus, all the while making sure you didn’t accidentally drop your phone anywhere; you definitely wouldn’t get it back for sure.

Thursday, October 12: 1:00 pm

Quincy Market is the next destination. You terribly underestimated the amount of food you were supposed to pack, and you are practically famished by the time the buses pull into the city of Boston. You quickly grab your voucher and dash into the long halls of the market, the delicious smell of food wafting everywhere you look. Pizza? To your right. Burgers? To your left. The famous clam chowder? All the way back; be careful, it’s hot!. Unsure of what to pick, you find the nearest place, mindlessly buy an item, and dive into the food, devouring it in minutes. With time to spare, you and a couple of your friends wander around the market, stalling at a few of the shops and making your way through the crowds.

You spot a colorful piano sitting in the corner. Immediately you are dragged towards the instrument. You sit down and play, the music rising through the hall of the market. Eating customers eagerly listen, glad to have their ears filled with sound besides the constant babbling of people. When you finish, a few even clap for you. Embarrassed, you run back to your chaperone, awaiting your next destination. Your face is burning from all of the unintentioned attention, but you secretly enjoyed performing.

Your friend has a video of you playing. Your face reddening even more, you quickly snatch his phone and delete the video.

Thursday, October 12: 2:00 pm

Your next activity to do is to follow the historic Freedom Trail. You eye the long, winding trail of red bricks through the bustling city, and you wish you had more comfortable shoes on. You also made the mistake of not using the bathroom at Quincy market; oh well, what’s done is done.

You follow your guide along the trail, comparing the relatively quiet city to the noisy urban center of New York. You see Paul Revere’s small, green house along the road. You see a statue of Paul Revere himself and the Old North and South churches. You see the church bell where the colonists were warned of the incoming British, and you remember Paul Revere’s midnight ride. Quietly, you thank and commemorate Paul Revere for his heroic actions.

Next, you see the Granary Burying Ground, where many famous people such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams are buried. You are astounded by all of America’s history that is within feet of yourself. It is all too soon to leave.

You drag your feet to the nearby harbor, ready to rest your feet from the tiresome walking.

Thursday, October 12: 6:00 pm

You see a small cruise ship on the dock, and you know what’s coming next: food (thankfully), dancing (eh), and lots and lots of chaos (not really looking forward to that). Still, you think the cruise will be a good experience and a much-needed break from the amount of knowledge you are taking in.  Once the entire grade trickles in, you quickly consume your dinner and prepare to face the craziness head on.

The music starts and the dance floor is crowded. You find a few of your friends and go crazy over some songs. Next thing you know, an hour has passed by but the dancing is still going strong. You need a break. You sneak out of the interior and climb the stairs onto the upper deck. Inhale sea air; exhale sea air. The freshness calms you down, and you glance over the railing at the shimmering waters in the sunlight. It’s as if the water was calm just for this moment, the sun’s dying gold and pink colors reflecting against the dark blue sea, with the illusions of millions of shimmering crystals flashing on the water’s surface. The sky darkens, the sun drops, as does the temperature. You don’t let that stop you and your friends. With the party never ending two floors below you, you wrap your jacket tight around yourself and huddle with your friends, enjoying the peace, quiet, and friendship that is shared in these moments.

You definitely deserved it. When the cruise ends, you wish it hadn’t and could spend more time with your friends.

Thursday, October 12: 8:00 pm

You are back on the bus on the way to your next location. The kids sitting behind you are nagging other people for portable chargers, whining that they left theirs at home and begging to use other people’s, some even going as far as offering money just for a little usage.

You quietly remove your own portable charger from your duffel bag and plug it into your phone, shoving the charger into your sweatshirt pocket so that it is invisible.

There’s no way you’re sharing your portable charger; your phone battery is at 17%.

Thursday, October 12: 8:00 pm

You want to fall asleep but it’s basically impossible with all the loudness happening around you.

You are watching the Blue Man Group, a show that is highly anticipated. The easiest way to sum it up is this: three blue dudes covered in paint do crazy and often stupid stunts that are both really annoying and hilarious at the same time. Oh, and yeah, they throw toilet paper at you. It’s as if your younger brother decided to clone himself three times, raid the nearest convenience store, and torture you for the rest of your life.

I see my friend dozing off, and I immediately envy her ability to block out this noise. Yet, I can’t help but find myself attracted to the eruptions and swirls of color, the astounding tricks, and the blue men’s astonishingly shiny bald heads. You constantly wonder how many gumballs the man can fit in his mouth, or how he is able to spit art onto a canvas.

You walk out of the theatre with your mind blown, and you’ve already seen the show before.

Thursday, October 12: 11:00 pm

It’s an understatement to say that it has been a long day.

You literally fall out of the bus and into the hotel. Blindly, you and your friends navigate your way to your room, where you reluctantly hand your phones to the chaperone and prepare for bed. You (hopefully) shower and are all warm and cozy, ready to fall into a heavenly sleep.

But you don’t. You instead turn the TV on to Thursday Night Football and watch the North Carolina Panthers lose a close game to the Philadelphia Eagles 28-23.

Cam Newton shouldn’t have thrown that pick at the end; he had a man wide open.

Friday, October 13: 1:00 am

You don’t know why you’re not asleep yet. You know you have a long day tomorrow, but maybe it’s the fact that you’re joking around and laughing so hard that you think you will fall off the side of your bed. This is why your roommates are the best; they are your best friends.

Then, you don’t care anymore about laughter. Your brain takes over and completely shuts down. Without even thinking, your world goes black.

You’ll wish you went to bed earlier. Trust me.

Friday, October 13: 6:00 am

It’s wake up time! You stumble out of your bed disheveled, not ready to take on the day’s challenges. Neither are your friends, for a matter of fact. They all have that brainwashed look on their face, as if to say, aren’t I supposed to be sleeping right now?

Sorry, guys; you’re not at home; you’re in Boston.

Minutes later you pack your luggage, leave the hotel room, and head to the mess hall, where the 400 other eighth graders are all eating. You mindlessly grab some breakfast and gobble it down. All too soon it’s time to continue on your journey. You board the bus and you head off, your head leaning against the window, your brain fighting to stay conscious.

Now you know how important sleep is.

Friday, October 13: 8:00 am

Apparently one of the buses crashed. Nobody’s hurt, but you will be delayed for about a half hour.

You take advantage of that time and sleep.

Friday, October 13: 9:00 am

Your bus pulls into Salem, where you will be learning all about the Salem Witch trials that took place here.

Every group goes to the activities in a different order; first off, you go to a graveyard, a memorial that commemorates all of the victims of the Witch Trials. The graveyard seems quite, desolated, and forgotten. But you won’t forget the terrible things that happened. You see a small bouquet of flowers in the corner, and you silently thank the person who put them there for remembering these innocent victims.

You and your group members see a Dunkin Donuts nearby. With your chaperone’s consent, you all run to the small store. You thank your mom for giving you extra money and you buy donuts for yourself and your friends; you also buy a steaming hot chocolate that gives you energy for the rest of the day. Everyone just eats in grateful silence.

Whoever started Dunkin Donuts, you are our savior.

Friday, October 13: 10:00 am

You go to the Witch Museum next, where you watch a little play on witches and learn about typical witch stereotypes throughout the year. You learn that the witches were the scapegoats of many economical and social problems back then. These young women were completely innocent, yet they were convicted of horrendous things that were not true. You silently think off and remember them and their families.

Friday, October 13: 11:00 am.

For the last witch activity, you go see a reenactment of a trial called Cry Innocent. This play displays how convicted witches were placed on trial, and how witnesses testified against them. These trials, as you see, were terribly lopsided, not in favor of the witches. Bridget Bishop was the witch being placed on trial. The audience was asked to give their opinion.

Bridget Bishop? Not guilty. At least from your perspective.

Friday, October 13: 12:00 pm

Lunch – sandwiches, chips, and water – was given out to be eaten at a large park nearby. You settle down with your friends and dig in. Someone steals some of your food but that’s ok.

You steal some of your friend’s food in compensation. All in good fun, of course.

You board the bus to go to your last two stops in Boston: Lexington and Concord.  

Friday, October 13: 1:00 pm

You walk around the Lexington Green, kinda listening to your tour guide describe a battle that took place nearly 250 years ago.  Wandering around on the same ground those soldiers were fighting, you remember those who gave their lives to help form this country.  You snap a few pictures of the statues there, and then head back to the bus.\

Your tour guide comes with you on the bus, continuing their lecture.  You drive over to Concord to see more monuments.  There’s a restroom in Concord, and you remember to make sure to use that when you leave.  Last time you checked, there was a glow stick in the toilet on the bus’s bathroom; you were not going in there again.  

After exploring Concord for a bit, you board your bus for the last time.

Friday, October 13: 5:30 pm

You’ve been on the bus for a few hours now, and everyone’s starting to get bored.  The kids behind you have already done all the normal bus activities.  Sing the entire “99 bottles of milk on the wall,” we did that.  Blast Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and sing (scream) along; the chaperones were not happy we did that.  All that was left to do was watch the questionable movies that were playing.  Or sleep.

Most people went with sleep.

Friday, October 13: 6:45 pm

You are shaken awake by your friend next to you.  You look around and realize you’re back at school.  You manage to gather enough energy to leave the bus and get your bags.  Searching for a parent, you are eager to go home after the exhausting last two days.  

Finally getting to your car, you drive back home.  If your younger sibling tagged along for pickup, you are probably being smothered in hugs and “I missed yous”.  Thinking about Boston, you decide it was definitely one of the better school field trips, no matter how tiring.  Anyone would rather be stuck on a bus for a few hours, then visit the sewage treatment plant.  You are sure that Boston will be one of the best moments of eighth grade.

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