My Love Note
Can anyone remember that first moment they fell in love? How does one encompass the complexities of living in a city that’s caught between New York and Washington DC? Even Benjamin Franklin, a hero of this city, spent most of his time in Europe. He did choose to die here, so I always thought that must have meant something. Edgar Allan Poe wound up in jail here. Wait… this is turning dark. That’s probably another letter.
I never wanted to live in Philly. I would visit here and go to the same places in Old City, visit the convention center for an event, run along Kelly drive. It was like being on a blind date for a bit, each of us trying to show each other our best sides. It’s probably why I never connected with this city initially. It wasn’t until the moment that everything crumbled in my life that I discovered who I really was inside. I imagine that is the truth for a lot of people, losing yourself to find out who you really are.
I had just ended a relationship, lost a lot of friends (yes, probably weren’t friends), gutted my life (single family home in Abington a cat) and moved to the city. That moment sitting on the floor of an apartment in an “up and coming area”, surrounded by my belongings in trash bags, was the first moment I fell in love. Philadelphia gave that to me. A place to start over.
My neighbors have lived in the same houses as their grandparents, my corner pharmacy is one of the oldest in the country. I can decide if I’m in the mood for La Columbe coffee or Old City coffee within the same block. I can even get a croissant made by chefs trained in France. I walk into my favorite restaurant and they send out dessert. What does all this mean? It means this city gets me. Why does that matter? Because it does.
I love this city. I love that when we lose at a sport we are pissed off days. I love that there are different dialects depending on what area of the city you are visiting. I love that I can afford to go out to dinner multiple nights by choosing from tons of BYOB’s. I love that the best Pho is 3 blocks from my house, or maybe I’m in the mood for Thai or Indonesian or Mexican, and that’s all close too. I love that there are block parties, and people porch sitting, and me and my best friend trying to figure out how many plants we can fit into our cement block backyard. I love that when it snows I can shovel my elderly neighbor’s walk and then meet my friends at a local bar. I love that so many people bike to work, and that most of the dogs I see aren’t purebreds, but adopted from places like PAWS. I love that the neighbors care here, and when someone dies, they drop off food and check on you. I love that I can finally walk, walk, walk.
I don’t fit into the hipster scene, or even the gay scene (even though I am a part of it. I don’t fit into the techie scene (even though, yes, I’m a part of that as well). But, in the end that’s okay. Philly doesn’t care. What does it care about? Well, I’m not sure. But, I do know that the truth is I am Philly now. We are all Philly. We are the people who got lost here, fell in love here, and yes, even died here (thanks Ben). We are what makes this city amazing, beautiful, and tragic. So, I am in love with this city, but I’m also in love with the people. This city opened it’s arms up to a girl that was broken and lost who would change her zip code 4 times in a year, until she found her home.
Brotherly love, I get it, and I feel lucky to now be a permanent part of it.