Saturday, March 25, 2017

recollections of philly

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The first time I remember going to Philadelphia I was 17. It was spring break of my senior year of high school. While many of the other people in my class were piling into cars to head to the beach, I was on a road trip with my father and one of my friends to New York, DC, and Philadelphia. I guess I've always done things a little differently.

Philly sticks out most in my memories of that trip. I really fell in love, walking through Reading Terminal Market, debating which cheesesteak shop to go to, getting my history fix at Independence Hall while the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song was on repeat in my head. It's comical now to look back on, I was the uber tourist taking in all the contrasts. For a time I thought I'd go to school there, so I fantasized about getting an apartment in one of the older buildings once I graduated.

That was the only time I've been to that city when it hasn't been winter. Going in December has become somewhat of a tradition for my Mom and I. At the end of my second semester of grad school we went the week of Army-Navy game. We stayed in a little historic bed and breakfast and after coffee in the morning I'd walk around in the bitter cold. One day I made it all the way to Chinatown on foot. I'd wanted to get dim sum but ended up eating pho because it was so cold that nothing else would do. We found a really good German restaurant where we ate the best spaetzle and stayed up late hanging out at places on Market Street.

Then there was the time I spent an entire Sunday at the Franklin Institute when I was just expecting to go in to see a Genghis Khan exhibit. That trip wasn't as cold but it was more challenging, I saw some of the grittiness of the city. Not to be outdone though,  this past December it really showed off. From the amazing sunset while riding into the city, to one of the best meals I've had, then waking up early that last day there and walking around with the city seemingly to myself.

There are other places I've been just as often, but something about Philadelphia always feels familiar. I think we all have those places, unique to us, that offer a glimpse into our personalities.

What's that place for you?

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