The Boston Scene
The Boston Scene
Dominant Occupations: Two main buckets:
1) Students. This covers basically everybody. There are dozens of fantastic schools in the area for both undergrads and grad students: Harvard, MIT, Berklee School of Music, New England Conservatory, Wellesley, Tufts, BC, BU, Simmons, Babson, Northeastern, Brandeis, BAC, etc. Education matters here.
2) Non-students. Tech, consulting, finance, pharma, film, music, law…you name it, we’ve got it. Boston’s great schools and rich history have created a fantastic professional atmosphere.
Average Age: You’ll feel most comfortable in the University Ward if you’re 22, and most comfortable in the others if you’re 27. Beware the invisible wall between them.
Boston State of Mind: Smarts > looks. Intellectual and looking to change the world.
Girl/Guy Ratio: 3:2 girls to guys in the University Ward, 2:1 in other wards. And this might come as a surprise, but if a girl feels the need/desire, she is encouraged to date outside the church. Some advice from church leaders out here: that he comes to church so he can understand how important the lifestyle and the doctrine is to us.
Hobbies: Game nights, movie nights, cycling, running, Fenway, house parties, going to the cape, reading, calculus.
Local Hangouts and Hotspots: Harvard Square, Boston Common and Public Garden, the North End, the South End, Newbury Street, Bartley’s (get the Mindy Kaling), Flour Bakery (get anything), libraries, people’s apartments.
Typical Night on the Weekends: Dinner in Davis Square, candlepin bowling with friends at Lanes & Games, a nice evening stroll, games at someone’s apartment or going out to a concert.
Sports Scene: The motherland. Move over, every other city in the United States: this town eats, sleeps, and drinks sports. Think Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch. Businessmen show up to work and take off their Red Sox cap until the workday is over, only to throw it back on when they walk out the door. Sox. Patriots. Bruins. Celtics. Wear a Yankees hat and your eulogy will praise both your bravery and idiocy.
Cultural Scene: A true cultural mosaic. Snag a school calendar and you may go to a lecture with Matt Damon talking about his new film, Kanye talking about the architecture in his concerts, and top-rated professors at Harvard. Lots of beautiful music (e.g. New England Conservatory performances given by any of the members of your ward who are on-track professional musicians), art (Museum of Fine Arts, Institute of Contemporary Art), and dance (Boston Ballet). The history is rich as well: incredible authors, poets and founding members of the nation lived here.
Diet: If you’re living in a dorm, you’re either on a meal plan (heaven) or cooking for yourself with insufficient supplies (hell). If you’re not, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are your best friends. And while Cambridge is crawling with gluten-frees and vegetarians, there are plenty of great burger joints and lobstah rolls to keep omnivores happy. Toscanini’s is your go-to for burnt caramel ice cream. And Mike’s Pastries is not a pastry shop, it’s a religion.
Myth Bust: Not everyone who lives in Boston goes to Harvard. And while it’s true that you’ll feel more comfortable in church if you understand calculus metaphors (seriously), everyone’s welcome and people are pretty down-to-earth. Don’t be intimidated.
What It’s Missing: Free time and good transportation. It’s annoying to have a car because there’s no where to park it, and it’s annoying to not have a car because the T (our subway system) can take up to an hour to travel 4 miles. Be prepared to pay a lot either way.
THE CHURCH SCENE
Ward Breakdown: Four major singles wards, all of which meet in the same building in Cambridge:
1) University Ward: 18-24. Young, fun, friendly and pleasantly missionary-minded. The age split is extremely strict, so don’t ever try to meet a 24-year old if you’re 25. If you want to move to an older ward early, though, that’s fair game.
2 and 3) Longfellow Park I (North of the Charles River & east of Mass Ave) and Longfellow Park II (South of the Charles and west of Mass Ave.). 25-30. A solid HBS and HLS contingent. Educated, friendly and tight-knit wards. More likely to have women wearing pants to church to make a statement.
4) Charles River: 31+. Lots of heart and smarts.
Temple Proximity: In Belmont (aka Mormonville, MA). More easily accessible by car. Buses run out there from the subway, but be prepared for infrequent arrivals and departures.
Dating Boston Guys: Bimodal distribution of who is going on dates: they go on a weekly date religiously, or they stick to their books come Friday nights. Either way, they are generally proactive, ambitious, fun, and kind. They work hard but are willing to spend time with the people they care about. Be prepared to bring something intelligent to the conversation.
Dating Boston Girls: Boston girls are smart, strong, and driven, both spiritually and intellectually. Don’t take too long, because they usually won’t wait around for you (and some would be happy to find a stay-at-home husband). Their standards might be a little bit high, but don’t be intimidated. They are brilliant, faithful members looking for a real relationship with someone they can consider their equal.
Classic Ward FHE/Activities: Playing games (creative ones like ping-pong battleship, fruit basket or whack-the-cracker [not a racist game—you literally hang crackers from your belt loops and people try to smash them with newspapers)]; the annual trip to Joseph Smith’s birthplace in Vermont, free outdoor plays, talent shows (talents you’d usually pay to see outside of church), other Boston activities.
Common Vice: Sticking to your Mormon clique instead of building bridges, and too much homework/work on Sundays. Research or studies. It can consume you.
ODDS AND ENDS
Weather: Sure, fall and late spring are nice, but winter here is practically unbearable. Never worn 18 layers before? Prepare yourself. Plan on staying indoors from January until March (get a Netflix subscription). And if you don’t have a car, we will pray for you.
Traveling by T: The T, which is code for all public transportation, is both great and terrible. There’s almost nowhere to park, anywhere, ever, so you’d think the subway would be convenient…except that it’s never on time, anywhere, ever. And cabs are expensive. What can you do.
Institute Here: is AMAZING. Brilliant, thought-provoking instructors and myriad courses, both at the church building and on local campuses. Not to be missed.
Missionary Work: If you’ve ever felt intimidated by missionary work before, move here. We embrace it and aren’t scared to invite our coworkers hear us speak in church. The members in this area have tried various methods of missionary work and have learned that everyone deeply desires to be useful. So invite your friend to help paint or move some furniture. Instead of rolling your eyes at the next missionary work lesson, you’ll learn to relish it and apply it to your life.
Quirky Events: A few times a year, a bunch of LDS singles gather at the Longfellow Park building for the “Cotillion”—a giant 19th century British dance fest. Yeah, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
Boston Might Be For You If: You love to learn, want to work hard, and want to be surrounded by the best and the brightest in the world.