The city that loves you back.
Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
16Trip End Oct 19, 2012
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Every time I go to start this blog post I start to tear up (read: I burst into tears).
I like Philadelphia for a number of reasons. The very first time I came to Philadelphia, I wasn’t blown away. She’s not a sexy city. She’s dirty. She’s a little rough. She’s very old… but not in a neat, stately, pretty way. For these things and much more, however, the city is fiercely unapologetic. “I’m in-your-face, I’m a little rough around the edges… but you can take me or leave me”, she says, and that endears her to me a great deal.
I also like Philly because underneath that rough exterior, she’s really a gem. There are cities it’s easy to love at first sight, but what’s the fun in that? People who love Philly are people who’ve taken the time to get to know her. To explore her neighbourhoods. To look past the grimy exterior. Stroll further than Independence Mall and the Liberty Bell. And when you take the time to get to know this city, she really does love you back.
Philly is a city with great beer, great food, and great street art. The city’s mural project means that you don’t have to walk far through this east coast gem before stumbling onto another painted wall - and all for a good cause.
The biggest reason I love Philadelphia though, is that Joy and Joe are there. For those of you who don’t know, I went to primary school with Joy. We played in band together. She remembers my sister being born. We were in touch through high school and college until Joy moved to the United States for University, met Joe, fell in love and the rest is history.
I first visited these kids back in 2009, when they opened their home to me during my first solo week in the US - between a tour and meeting my family. Last year I visited briefly on my way through Philadelphia, but this year I stayed with them for an extended period of time following the wedding festivities and before heading to Hershey.
The reason I burst into tears every time I go to write this blog is that I have spent the entire year knowing that I’m coming to the States, but feeling like there was no room for me here. No time, no place, no desire.
Then, being welcomed in Connecticut by the Swensons and the Walkers, making new friends in Boston and NYC and seeing Jono made me realise that in little pockets all over the States… there is indeed room for me. There is room and there are open arms.
The first night I arrive I’m pretty tired from the last night’s festivities. Joy picks me up from the station and after Joe comes home we head out to Media, where there’s ‘dining under the stars’ tonight. State street is blocked off to traffic and the restaurants lining the road have dragged their chairs and tables into the middle of the road. There are people everywhere eating in the open air.
After an awkward run in with a street magician, we head off. Knowing that I’m on a mission for some fall cider, we head for Pinocchio’s where I’m in luck. We also meet Jason there, a good friend who lives nearby.
I’d like to tell you that I got up to very exciting things in the morning however it’s a little bit of a testament to how at home I feel here that whenever I arrive I fall into a deep sleep and am unable to get up the next day. It’s as though my body knows this is a place that I’m safe. There is room for me here.
The next few days are filled with adventure, ‘family’ dinners, meeting wonderful new faces. But I’ll outline those for you in the next blog.
It’s been a rough trip, but a journey I needed to take. And I’m forever grateful for those who’ve been here to pick up the pieces when everything went to shambles.
Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind.
Your B. xx