Driving down Route 1 is about more than seeing some great sights on the East Coast. For us, this is a dress rehearsal for when we eventually travel around the world. If we can’t master bus schedules and directions in our native language, our prospects for successfully traversing the globe look dim.Every lesson learned now will give us a head start for the enormous learning curve to come.
With an eye to the future, trying our hand at the Boston public transportation system seemed like good practice. We have a membership to the New England Aquarium and usually park in Charlestown and take the ferry over. However, as we passed the Newberryport regional rail stop on Route 1 we sensed an opportunity and tested out our new brake routers to change direction. Before we knew it, we were all sitting in two facing rows on a regional rail train headed into the city. Taking advantage of the free Wifi to catch up on emails, we pulled out of the station knowing we had made the right impulse decision.
The ride into Boston was educational on many levels. Our first lesson came when we paid for our tickets only to realize that there was an added fee for purchasing tickets on the train. Evidently, the brick building sitting on the other side of the tracks served a greater purpose than showing off someone’s masonry skills. Fortunately we had grabbed an extra $20 before parking the car. We usually prefer our funds to come in digital denominations, but we found out that cash is a must for those unexpected expenses.
Our travels on the train and eventually the subway offered many teachable moments for the younger Fives. Why is it important to be able to read when traveling? What’s the difference between Inbound and Outbound? Why are the cars packed at some times of day and not others? We talked through these and many other topics as we changed lines and arrived at our first destination, the New England Aquarium.
The Fives and long, hot lines don’t get along too well, so being Aquarium members is perfect for us. We were able to detour the chaos and head right in.Five Ball is a lover of all things octopus, so our first stop naturally was to visit our favorite eight-legged creature. We then snagged a table in the food court for an early picnic lunch, and took in the rest of the aquarium while others dined. This left room at the touch tank, where we got our hands (and in some cases the majority of our bodies) wet trying to touch rays and sharks.
From the aquarium we headed back underground to take the Green Line to Boston Common. The playground was packed and slippery from all the kids making their rounds between the splash zone and climbing equipment, so we opted for a game of tag on the mostly empty green spaces. A great costume shop is just across the street, so our next stop was trying on bits and pieces from as many different outfits as we could manage at one time.
Then, blood sugar low and tiredness high, we made our way to Chinatown to dine at our favorite vegan Thai restaurant. We had to regroup a few to times along the way and tempted fate by not consulting a map, but we averted a full meltdown and successfully found the building on our first attempt.Even a soup ordering mishap could not dampen our spirits as we ended our meal, full in belly and in mind. Each day outside of our comfort zone gets us closer to being a family living, loving, and learning around the world.