Two Days in Philly


Spending Wednesday and Thursday in Philly for PB’s birthday made me realize what I have ahead of me. I haven’t spent considerable time in a new city since Firenze (Florence, Italy) in 2004 (January-August). While Philly is still the same country as where I am now, it seems worlds away in terms of culture and way of life. Philly and Rhode Island just aren’t that close. Notice how I compare a city to a state, that’s probs because R.I. is so small.

Typically people consider me to be a well seasoned traveler. I never get nervous or put myself in dangerous situations, and I can handle anything. Just ask my friends about Gellert Spa or the hostel in Budapest. I’m hard core I tell you.

Somehow Philly is different.

I was fine on Wednesday. I was nervous taking the R1 train into town from the airport myself and then walking or cabbing home from Center City so I just took the cab all the way. $30 later and after getting yelled by the driver for not announcing at the beginning of the ride that I needed to use my credit card, I made it safely home.

When I got inside the building and headed to the elevator, I kind of ran/hobbled with my bag to avoid having this weird looking guy join me for the ride up. Unfortunately, he made it before the door closed. I was probably mean for trying to close it on him, but I just don’t feel as safe with city life I guess.

After unpacking a bit I went to change into shorts and a tank so I could clean without sweating like a bull. Too bad I didn’t notice the guy standing outside the window on scaffolding spraying some weird white substance all over the brick. Sorry for the show.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful in terms of differences between the two places, but I can say that generally people aren’t as nice here. I am used to walking around with a big smile on my face, and in Philly that has led to some creepy encounters. Thus, my smiles are more rare.

Usually, when I travel alone (especially overseas for some reason), I find the most normal looking person or group traveling and kind of stick myself near them. That makes me feel safe, and in fact I am sure it saved me from a few shady situations. One in particular I remember is my flight from London-Florence when some 52 year old toothless dude (I was 20 at the time) tried to hit on me. A lovely student pretended he was my boyfriend and saved me from that creepo situation. Have any of you done that before?

Thursday PB headed to work while I did more things in the house like organizing amazing, generous gifts people have mailed us and breaking down boxes and more. When I went to take PB’s drycleaning a grandmother was trying to close a baby stroller with baby in tow. I offered to help her, and she glared and told me she’d be fine on her own. What is with that?

Then, after a fabulous and fun lunch with PB at my favorite spot, DiBruno’s, I headed to the train station to take the R1 to the airport.

What an experience.

I am usually a great traveler, but for some reason Philly is just so foreign to me. Maybe I am getting old and it isn’t as natural to adapt to a new place, or maybe it’s because I haven’t moved there yet, but it is just… hard.

I got lost in the underground zone and called PB to yell at him for suggesting the train and then hanging up on him before asking someone where the R1 was. He pointed me in the other direction. I walked 10 minutes too far out of my way. I am laughing about it now, but at the time I was angry and frustrated.

Of course I had my latest copy of Cooking Light magazine with me and decided to read it on the R1. It is a 20 minute ride and I figure it is better to read something interesting than to zone out. The man sitting near me decided he would take HIS ride on the R1  to talk to me about his bodily functions and why he’s been a vegetarian since 1970 and how he is going to do an all raw diet for 2 weeks to remove the mucous from his body. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear after a delightful time in Philly. Uh, thanks?

I know this isn’t anything to do with testing recipes, experiencing a delicious meal out, or cooking something healthy, but it is about living a healthy lifestyle.

Don’t think I am saying Philly stinks, because it doesn’t. But for sure this new married life I am about to begin (in 2 weeks, tomorrow!!) has more surprises and obstacles than I thought. It is not only about starting my life together with PB and our families, but about welcoming a new city into my heart, feet, and soul.

I wonder what changes I will make to my lifestyle and perception of everyday life to make my days/months/years in Philly beautiful, enjoyable, and full of sunshine and smiles.

For sure I will have to start by begging for rides to the airport so I can avoid the R1.

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11 responses to “Two Days in Philly

  1. Being someone who moved from western, rural pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. – I can relate. My biggest advice? Try your hardest to remain yourself! The busyness of the city can start to wear on you and almost change your personality. I know that I’ve become a grumpier person on the street. I could tell when I was in Asheville, NC, and people were SO nice and all I could think was, “why are you being this nice to me?” Obviously, the city life has affected me.

    It’s not all bad though! Share your happiness with others, and it goes a long way. Honestly, I have had some really cool experiences helping people in the city. Beyond that, I’ve become friends with people in my community – and that’s helped a TON.

    With PB by your side, you will be just fine!

  2. Ok I have lots to say. I will start by saying I know you will get used to living there and you will be better than fine in no time.

    Now, I hope PB doesn’t get mad at me, but people in Philly are not friendly or helpful. That was my experience. I think in NY others are helpful because they expect tourists to be clueless.

    Also, you will need to always have headphones on public transportation whether you are actually listening to something or not. 😀

    Finally, no other place is like Rhode Island. People make fun of how small it is and how you can meet someone and know exactly where they lived, went to school and 5 people who know them, but it’s special and you will miss it. It’s ok. You will love it even more when you come to visit.

  3. i will be your bright and smiley face in philly!

    you are going to have an exciting 2 weeks ahead. i am sure its going to be great.

    and i am sure you will learn to love Philly as much as I do. we have to love it when the men we love live here, right?! 🙂

  4. Isn’t it funny how two cities can be so different? We’re moving in August only 3 hours north and we’re moving from a really small town to a bigger town. Surprisingly everyone is so much nicer there – I was floored!

    Even if people aren’t as nice, for the first little while I’m sure you won’t notice because you’ll be in your newlywed glow with PB. 😉 But after awhile you’ll get the hang of the city and will adapt more to the “city culture” there. You’re so chic and sophisticated, I have no doubt it won’t take you long to “fit in”. 🙂

  5. I did a lot of traveling for my sport and sometimes US cities would be more foreign to me than European. Isn’t it crazy how we’re in the same country but lead SUCH different lifestyles?!

    You’ll get used to it in time! Try to keep your chin up 🙂 You’ll be with PB!!

  6. I can relate to this so much, again! Living in England is much different than my small hometown in Canada and I miss where i’m from all the time. But, in saying that I do love the new adventures i’ve had. I have to admit – the English are not as friendly as us Canadians. Ok, wait – they are.. BUT they are not as outgoingly friendly if you know what I mean. They are more reserved with their smiles and “good mornings” and make me feel weird for wanting to start up a conversation in the supermarket. But, saying all of this I am a person who doesn’t want to give up who I am just to suit other people- so if you want to give someone a smile on the street- do it.. in the long run it will at least make you feel better and maybe even brighten someones day. Don’t give up!!

  7. Yikes… I felt that way when I moved to DC it’s such a shock… but I think you’ll end up thriving and don’t forget you’ll have PB’s arms to crawl into when it gets tough!

  8. Your weekend made me frusterated just by reading about it! haha! I can’t imagine moving to a completely different city/state, so I can see how it would take a while to get used to. I feel like I’ve heard great things about Philly so I hope it turns out to be an amazing experience for you. PLus you’re still not too far away 🙂

    I agree with Heather…DEFINITNELY wear headphones at all times haha!

  9. I am from the Philadelphia area but I am more familliar with the public transport systems of Washington DC and Boston, and after this weekend even NYC a little bit than Philly! I just don’t know my way around and I live here! I’m sure it isn’t too hard if I actually had to learn it I just haven’t yet, good luck learning a new city!

  10. Good luck with your wedding! So exciting! As a fellow Rhody girl, I can completely relate about loving RI. I am currently in Ma, and I just love New England in general. I am sure you will meet some great people in Philly too.

  11. Philadelphia is HARD to get accustomed to! Believe me I just moved here two months ago there are definitely some ‘winners’ walking the streets.

    But beneath the exterior of crude people and confusing transportation Philly has a lot to offer.
    Lots and LOTS of amazing restaurants (particularly byob!) and its incredible historic which can be fun.

    Good Luck!!

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