The ruptured ovarian cyst kinda threw off my trip a little (and I didn't realize recovery is 6 to 8 WEEKS gahhhhh), so I'm behind on blogging, but I hope this long post filled with pictures makes up for it.
I spent 2 weeks in bed pretty much like this every day:
I've tried to make sure the medical crap hasn't completely derailed my trip or prevented me from doing things I've wanted to do, so I try to remain flexible (taking a cab when I'm in too much pain to walk, etc). Here's what I've been up to:
Goddamn. This place is incredible. The first time I went there, I got the roast beef sandwich, which has onion straws and some sort of sauce that is Jesus’s sweat; it is an otherworldly experience. I also tried the house-made potato chips (pretty good) and limeade (AMAZING). The next time, I got a vegetarian sandwich (broccoli rabe, provolone, and tomato jam on a pressed sesame seed roll) and a tomato soup. Then I packed the pork/fennel and the pork/broccoli rabe (these two sandwiches are only served on Saturdays) for a picnic with one of my friends. “Gee, Dana, it seems like you go here a lot,” you might be wondering. Yes. Yes, I do. This place is so orgasm-worthy, it should be listed under the “Fuck” section instead of the “Eat” section.
I had a slice, which was pretty good! Was it worth the wait? I’m not sure, but the point of this trip is see what everything is like, right? What I liked most about Galleria Umberto were the prices—I ordered one slice and a ginger ale and my bill was three bucks and change.
Mike's has the only lobster tail I’ll ever eat since I don’t eat seafood (BUT YOU'RE IN NEW ENGLAND; I know, I know... I’m a demon). It was amazing. Super crunchy and chewy in all the right ways and the cream was perfectly vanilla and sweet (not too sweet). The lady asked if I wanted powdered sugar on top and I was like “Girl, yes. Let’s do this.”
I order takeout from here all the time, especially during the weeks I’ve been on bed rest. I’ve gotten the turkey reuben, sour pickles (fucking amazing), chicken matzo ball soup (DITTO), this sampler that had a piece of cinnamon kuegel, meat pastry, cheese blintz with berries, and a potato pancake with sour cream and applesauce (so legit). I might have eaten that entire sampler after getting out of the ER because I wasn’t allowed to eat at all during the entire day.
I heard from so many people that I had to go here, so I tried it out. I got a chicken burrito and horchata and then did that thing where I was still hungry, waited on line again and got an order of guac and chips. And I’m glad I did because it was the best guac of my life and the CHIPS WERE WARM, which is the equivalent of someone talking dirty to me.
So fun! Great people-watching. Went on a date here and we shared nachos, a pork tamale, a carnitas burrito and spicy chicken tacos. I had a few bites of everything (we agreed the burrito was the best), a horchata, and a frozen margarita (which was strong to me, but I’m a total lightweight and pretty much never drink unless I’m eating Mexican food, so who knows if it was actually strong).
Best falafel I've ever eaten. Better than anything I've had in NYC and that's saying something.
I got one scoop of “Cookies ‘n’ Cake Batter,” which was so-so, and one scoop of rum raisin because I am ten thousand years old and it was fucking delightful.
Lamb roti, papaya salad, fried ribs (*I would recommend these), coconut sticky rice (*I’d recommend this, too), chocolate cardamom panna cotta. The bartenders are super lovely. I had a mocktail that was essentially a ginger-y lime rickey. The bartenders knew the person I was with and I were on a date so at the end of the meal, they made me a little frozen coconut-y non-alcoholic drink with a flower in it and gave my date some sort of aperitif, which was charming as FUCK.
It’s just been such beautiful weather here, so one day I walked from the North End to the Lawn on D, which was amazing. It’s about a 45-minute walk and the lawn was miraculously not busy, so I just put on my headphones, relaxed on a swing for a few hours, listened to some classical music in the sunshine and just let my mind feel empty and enjoy the moment.
I went to the symphony at Harvard and every time I go to Cambridge, I almost always get off the T at Hynes Convention Center and then just walk across the Harvard Bridge. It takes about an hour to walk from the bridge to Harvard campus and I probably shouldn't do it as often as I do because #ovaryproblems, but COME ON. LOOK AT THIS VIEW. How could I not?
A lady never tells about her conquests.
Who the fuck am I kidding.
I’ve slept with a few people while I’ve been here. (Safely, of course, and with emphatic consent.) One is an athlete (he’s a fighter) who picked me up BY THE BACK OF MY THIGHS in a very Josh Groban-like manner like it was nothing. We’ve been on a couple dates (including the symphony at Harvard, where we proceeded to get stoned out of our minds (it’s legal here) and I cried during Leonard Berstein's "Somewhere" because it reminded me of my mom and how much I miss her and thank GOD my date didn’t see because it was super embarrassing); he is lovely.
Then I went on a coffee/tea date after work one day with a former Marine with the most hypnotic eyes I’ve ever seen (and a jawline/cheekbones that make his face have more structure than my entire life); we were talking very openly (read: not creepily) about body positivity and sex positivity, so I told him about the athlete picking me up by my thighs and he goes “Well, I can do that, too.” And so later that night he proved that he CAN indeed do that. Thank you for your service, sir. God bless America.
I had a date with someone this past Thursday who works in a psych ward—he provides support to acutely suicidal patients who are often severely eating disordered. He wants to ultimately receive his PhD and do deep trauma therapy. I told him about the CBT therapy during eating disorder recovery I did ten years ago (and how I still practice mindfulness to remain symptom-free), the exposure therapy for PTSD I just completed this past spring, and how I understand the importance of the work he does and wants to do. We also played my favorite party game, "Which One of Us Has a More Fucked Up Past?" (he won) and my second favorite party game, "Which One of Us Has Been on More Psych Meds in our Teens?" (I won that one). Our conversation was incredibly engaging and enjoyable. He, too, is lovely.
[Y'all, I've been really lucking out on who I've agreed to meet up with IRL from dating apps. Everyone has been deeply kind, intelligent, open, and respectful. Some cosmic force has been blessing me.]
Lastly, I’ve been to one lingerie shop and a few sex toy stores:
Forty Winks (Cambridge): This lingerie shop reminds me of my favorite shop in NYC (Journelle); I wish the selection was a little larger (it is REALLY small compared to what I’m used to), especially when it comes to the super sexy/boudoir stuff and not everyday bras, but the women working there are lovely and it was a really pleasant shopping experience.
Hubba Hubba (Cambridge): Amazing kink selection if you’re into that stuff. I’m personally not, but I can appreciate the craftsmanship of a latex pink pig gimp mask for $95 when I see one. A lot of hardcore BDSM stuff, costumes/kinkwear, and a fairly sizeable LGBT-friendly section. Prices are pretty fair and the quality of the stuff looks like it’s worth it. I didn’t do a thorough run through of their costumes since I was just browsing, but they seemed pretty inclusive in terms of sizing!
Good Vibrations (multiple locations; I went to the one in Brookline and the one in Cambridge): This place reminds me of my home: Babeland in NYC. They carry much of the same merchandise. They had what I was looking for: Trojan Supra condoms (non-latex) and packets of Sliquid Sassy (horrible name and packaging; best anal lube on the market) and Sliquid Silver (best lube on the market for everything else--penetrative/oral/fingering) that I always keep in my wallet. I also bought an unscented massage candle (that I ended up trying with the fighter; it was okay--it wasn't as high-quality as the Babeland ones) and a postcard that says “Pleasure is your Birthright,” which I LOVE.
I've done a lot of eating, walking, and dating--all mindfully and enjoyably. Boston has been wonderful. I have no regrets about this trip and am so fucking happy.
Dana Hamilton is a writer from New York City currently traveling across the United States on her own for all of 2018. Passionate about everything having to do with the body, she writes about sex, dating, relationships, body image, and eating disorder recovery. She is a frequent contributor to Playboy and her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Time Out NY, and SELF, among other publications. Before she became a freelance writer, she was an editor at two "Big Five" houses in the book publishing industry. She has also written four books (under a pseudonym) for HarperCollins and is currently working on her fifth novel. She holds a BA in writing and nutrition from New York University.
Passionate about everything having to do with the body, Dana Hamilton writes about sex, dating, relationships, body image, and eating disorder recovery. She is a frequent contributor to Playboy and her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, Time Out NY, and SELF, among other publications. After driving (and dating) across the country and back on her own for all of 2018, Dana now splits her time between New York, Boston, and Chicago. Before she became a freelance writer, she was an editor at two "Big Five" houses in the book publishing industry. She has also written four books (under a pseudonym) for HarperCollins and is currently working on her fifth novel. She holds a BA in writing and nutrition from New York University.