This might just be withdrawals from my travel experience in the United States. I mean, it’s been more than 5 weeks since we’ve returned and my Instagram account’s still on my May 2017 US experience.
Back story is: The trip was originally planned for November last year (or maybe, earlier.) Planning took about a year and I wasn’t in the original list for the training. (Yes, it’s for a training.) There’d been bumps along the way after the personnel list was “finalized .” It’s just that it seemed like all the odds were with me that time. Long story short, it feels like me being with the group was written in the stars. (Kidding!)
This was a very short trip around the United States but I’ll still cut it into parts. I’ll just talk about New England in this one. Duh! So why New England? It’s where the training facility was. Particularly in New Hampshire. That simple. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to randomly think of that place as I’m not American. I wouldn’t even know it existed before. None of us from the group would.
Moving on, New England is a region consisting of the 6 Northeasternmost US States, one of the earliest English settlements in the US. Just google its history. I’ve read it before but I don’t want to bore you. 😜 We weren’t able to visit all 6 because of our limited time there but I’ll still tell you about New Hampshire (where we stayed the longest,) Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Our journey from the Philippines (PH) to New Hampshire took almost a day. One non-stop 12-hour flight from PH to San Francisco (SFO), California. Refreshed at the airport for a couple of hours. A 15-hour time difference. A 6-hour flight from SFO to Boston Logan Airport. A 3-hour time difference. A 1-hour Uber ride from Boston (BOS) to New Hampshire.
I won’t be able to explain what I really felt when I stepped on American soil. Or just the SFO Airport flooring. And then finally in Boston. I didn’t even feel tired that time. I was hyped and thinking of unnecessary thoughts. I mean, in my mind I wasn’t supposed to be there. My slot was planned for somebody else and I felt like I took it from him. (Not that I forced myself into this trip. I was ready to give it up when things got messy.) There. Let me wallow in self-pity. 😂
New Hampshire (NH)
NH is bordered by Quebec, Canada at the North; Maine at the East, Vermont at the West, and Massachusetts at the South. It took us about an hour from Boston to Nashua, NH. It was cold  when we got there. I suppose winter was transitioning to spring that time. That’s what I think they told us. And NH is at the foot of the Appalachians so that must add to the coolness.
Anyway, as I’ve told you, this was for a training so the sponsor took care of our accommodations in NH. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Nashua in Amherst St. I loved the hotel. It seems old but still good. The beds were comfortable and I slept well. And the complimentary toiletries were good stuff as well! Then there were home-baked cookies the guests could enjoy from 3PM onwards, and coffee and tea all-day. The buffet breakfast they prepare everyday was so good! And they have a DIY waffle station! I’m not used to having an American breakfast daily but it was interesting. (I tried to think of the oatmeal as rice. 😜) Then there’s the laundry. Typically, in my experience in hotels, you pay hotel staff to do laundry per piece or kilo but in Hampton, you get to do it yourself. I like doing it so I was thrilled. 😂
The training personnel and company execs at the facility were also really nice. I’m not going to talk about the training per se but they have a beautiful place! The scenery around the company was breathtaking. They’re also a walking distance from the Mine Falls Park in Nashua so it’s all good.
I’ve talked to someone (a local) who said that Nashua is actually not the best place to go to in NH but I have nothing to compare it with. The weather got bad and we didn’t have a car to get to the north but it’s okay. We passed by the capital Concord going to Nashua. And we did go to Merrimack but just for the outlet stores.
Speaking of outlet stores, and shopping, NH has 0% sales tax so you only need to pay for the price on the tag! I had a pair of Nike shoes for 25$! Not bad. We also shopped at Pheasant Lane Mall, where I got my first Sephora stash . I wonder when I’ll buy the next one. Lol. And a pair of Hollister jeans for 18$! It was on sale. Finally, there was Target, which I only ever read in books or stories before. Haha. It’s quite amusing going to a mall there.
Generally and comparatively, the city is interestingly boring. I mean, I’ve been living in a very crowded city unlike Nashua. It’s very different from my perception of USA before. It’s very… provincial. I mean not like the type you’ll see here in the PH but you won’t see high-rise buildings around. And there were a lot of vacant and green spaces in between buildings. It’s refreshing to the eyes. And I didn’t get to see a lot of people walking on the streets, especially at night. The roads were very wide, too! It’s quite a long way across. Lol. Not that a lot of people needed to cross the streets. It seemed like every one has their own car. Anyway, we were told that it’s a bit different in other cities in the state.
We didn’t even meet any Filipino in Nashua. There wasn’t any sign of Filipinos living there. Was it too cold for them? Just kidding. There were Asian restaurants like Chinese and Thai but nothing that’s Filipino. [Just wanted to share this thought. Lol]
For the food: lunch during the training were brought to the company so I have no idea where they came from. Again, I don’t prefer lunch without rice but I had to adapt. Lol. We had pizza during the first day. My maximum “tolerance” for pizza is 2 slices so I only had one . The next day, we had cold sandwiches and green salad with turkey rolls. Turkey is not a “thing” here in the PH so it was my first time and it ate it alright. I quite liked it. Then it was a Vietnamese treat on the third day. Rice! At last! And now that I think about it, we ate a lot of chicken for dinner during our stay there. We had almost all kinds! Fried chicken from KFC. Chicken nuggets from Chick-fill-A. Grilled chicken burger from McDonald’s. Buffalo wings from 7-11. We were also introduced to Not Your Average Joe’s for a welcome dinner. I had the salmon and cabbage salad and baby potatoes. The salmon and potatoes were great but the salad was a bit bitter for me. Then I had red wine with my meal for the first time. I felt like a mature adult. I mean, I usually order fruit juice or tea or whatever that’s not alcoholic. Lol.
We were pressed for time so I could only tell a bit of MA. Most of our trainers were from MA so when we had our mini excursion, they brought us there. As geologists, we had to see the granite  up close so we went to an old quarry site in North Chelmsford, where we had a short trek, and an operating one in Westford. Along the way was an interesting sight. I wouldn’t be able to give it justice if I tried to describe what I saw. The architecture of the houses and other structures in the area was very… English, I must say.
Saturday, we tried the Boston Hop-on, Hop off Bus Tour for 38$. Had we been early  in BOS, those 38 bucks would be worth it.
You see, our boss assigned me and another one to plan. The tour, which starts at 9AM ’til 5PM, has 18 stops in BOS and 1 in Cambridge for the universities so we decided to head first to the latter as we thought it was closer . We got there at around 11 AM but missed the bus so we headed for the universities first. We were told that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was just 20 minutes away from The MIT COOP. We did find it soon enough but not its “gate” . We were again told that Harvard University was just a couple of minutes away but guess what? It took us about 2 hours to reach the place. We should have taken a ride but there were lots to see along the way like the Cambridge City Hall. Oh, how I’d love to see those tulips again. There was the MIT Museum, too. They have a souvenir shop selling student innovations/inventions such as card games, fidget spinners, and my Double helix necklace (25$) !
So it was at around 3 when we hopped on the tour! So much for 18 stops. Lol. So we tried to prioritize and got off at the Boston Tea Party and the Children’s Museum. Last stop was Faneuil Hall near the wharf area. Anyway, I learned that Dunkin’ Donuts (DD) started in Bos. Hence, the numerous DD branches there. The tour guides/drivers were really funny. Each one had their own style. Our last one was a former teacher, he said. He, as well as the others, shared trivia stories about Boston. Since I wasn’t a US Citizen, I couldn’t relate much to most of their stories so even if I was interested at that time, the information stayed in my short-term memory.
We took the bus back to Nashua for 12$. Now, that’s quite expensive compared to the bus fares here but I thought we should have the same system in Bus terminals.
We just stopped by CT on our way to New York so the only places we’ve stepped into were casinos. Foxwoods. The Grand Pequot. For picture-taking. Just to be clear. It was still super cold that day since this part of the US was in some sort of weather disturbance that time.
Anyway, like NH, what I’ve seen in CT was wide vacant lots and low-rise houses. It has an old feel. I guess.
This is it. For now. Get back to you soon!
 It’s not really finalized until you have been granted authority to travel and you have your ticket. That’s how it works where I work.
 For someone who hasn’t experienced anything colder than 16 degrees [from the AC], it’s cold in NH. Even in SFO.
 Stash = a nude lip cream, a setting spray, a sleeping mask
 1 slice in the US = 2 in the PH
 NH is also called “The Granite State.” Granite is typical in continental areas.
 We couldn’t book an UberXL before 9 AM. Our theory was that they only go to NH because of passengers flying into the Boston Logan Airport, which is about an hour to Nashua. 10 AM would have been better. We only had a couple of hours to go around.
 Cambridge is between NH and Boston so we figured it was closer. Less distance = Less travel time = Less fare but no.
 By gate I meant the one we see in MIT souvenirs. Haha.
 It’s my favorite! 😜