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.