Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another Boston Highlight: Matthew and Jonathan

I would be remiss not to write about a magical experience that I had three times this year, one that I hope will become a permanent feature of my college experience. Javier invited me one day to have dinner with his Harvard host family, a lovely couple named Matthew and Jonathan who live in a beautiful historic house in the South End in Boston. I gratefully agreed, and we both left that first night feeling bowled over and rejuvenated.

Dinners with "the dads" go like this: Matthew picks us up around 7 outside Sever Hall, we fill him in on all shows we're in and the exams we're studying for and the romances we're fumbling with, and he responds wittily, making literary references aplenty. About midway through the drive, he gives Jonathan a call to let him know we're on our way (this is probably when Jonathan starts cooking). We arrive on their Victorian-style street and gape at the architecture and then climb the stairs to their home in awe. We are greeted by Jonathan and Maggie (their poodle) and offered wine, which we look at incredulously at as we take in our surroundings.

Their house is a work of art. Colors are everywhere and artwork covers the walls. There is something to look at in every corner, and the place is decorated with so much love. I've remarked before that I feel at Matthew's and Jonathan's house as though I'm acting in a fast-paced, clever one-act play. This modern artistic setting certainly encourages me.

After wine and cheese, we are invited to the table for dinner, more conversation, and dessert, all of which are invariably extraordinary.

On my first visit with Javier, we met Gloria, Matthew's mother who is around 80 and lives alone in New York, stopping by Boston for a visit that week. We got to hear how she picked her major and had a penchant for being illustrated as a mermaid in her youth.

I still remember the moment when we got into the cab after dinner and just looked at one another in astonishment, jaws dropped, unable to comprehend what a magical evening it had been. As our taxi pulled to the side of the Charles River opposite Harvard, we admired the array of houses on the river all afresh, took in the feeling and the color of that moment and hoped that we could live a future as vivacious and fun as that of our hosts when we grow up.

On my second visit, I got to meet Hannah Firestone, Javier's close friend from dance, who was taking a class in typesetting at Harvard and wants to be a midwife.

And on our third and final visit of the year to our host family, we invited Reylon along! It was very special to share with him the enchantment of this experience we had raved about to him, and the night was incredible as expected.

We were lucky enough on that last visit to get to hear the story of how Matthew and Jonathan met and were married, a heartening one for fairytale fans, romantic cynics, and confused youth alike.

On the way home, we three discussed how we wished we could have retired to the living room after our meal and talked for hours more.

Their sharp yet easygoing manner makes us feel as though we have known Matthew and Jonathan for years, and can tell them anything.

We leave their beautiful home and company begrudgingly at the end of each evening, eagerly awaiting our next meeting. I do the same now, and look forward to continuing to share my art and heart with my Boston dads over the next three years of college and beyond.

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