So far so good on my trip to Boston. I’m spending some time with a good friend from college (and staying with her and her family, keeping the costs low). I brought $100 cash and I’ve been paying for everything besides my bus ticket with cash. I have $40 left for tomorrow. How is this possible?

I met three friends from college downtown and we at at Thai Basil on Newbury Street. My papaya salad was plenty filling, healthy, and less than $7. We perused the shops on Newbury Street, where we can afford to look (though a friend made a great purchase of a dress for a wedding off a sale rack at Calypso). We walked around the Prudential Center and tried on clothes at expensive stores for fun (and to get out of the wind). I bought a $30 cocktail ring as my indulgence of the day. Late afternoon, we ate desserts at Finale, a dessert company that began as an Harvard business project. My small chocolate flourless torte was beautifully presented, wonderful tasting, and under $6. Best of all, of course, was the occasion to see friends I don’t often see without breaking the bank. Seeing the kind of friends who make you feel wonderful about everything (and who you can pick up with right where you left off) was so energizing.

Sarah (the friend I stayed with) and I ate one meal out Friday night (we split an entree and naan at an Indian restaurant in Sharon, MA) and then today, spent the day with Sarah’s family. We baked, I napped, and we bought Sarah’s brother part of his birthday gift at Target. Sarah’s family’s generosity of a place to sleep and great meals has really kept costs low.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll have a brunch of dim sum at The China Pearl. The whole dim sum experience is fun and interesting; I never get tired of it. (I also truly appreciate how much work those little pockets of happiness are to make because I’ve done it from scratch before and it took me all day.) The whole meal will cost me less than $10 I’m sure. I also plan to pick up some sesame buns at a Chinese bakery on my way home for an inexpensive treat later in the week.

All in all, knowing someone at a locale who lets you stay at their place keeps prices down but also there are small luxuries everywhere to be discovered and enjoyed. But the best thing about vacations, even very short ones, is taking the time to slow down and enjoy everything. It’s a philosophy of life I hope to never lose, though I’m sure good friends will help me remember.  

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