Favorite Place: Philadelphia, all of it
I am: The communications manager at the Delaware River Waterfront Corp, blogger, Philly-girl, twin, friend, giver of good gifts, closeted romantic, biker, and a little lost.
Years in Philly: 31 minus 5
Current Home: S. Philly
I think of my life as having three major iterations so far. I’d characterize the first twenty years of Emma as pre-Montana. These have all faded together. I was kind of nerdy, quiet, and a homebody. My other defining characteristics were probably that I was a diehard city lover, a girl from Cheltenham who moved to Manhattan to study neuroscience, and a Crohn’s patient. The somewhat crazy decision to spend two summers in Montana at the end of college was based on A River Runs Through It, a movie I spontaneously watched in a college roomate’s dorm.
Moving out west was profound. Emma post-Montana was a hiker, backpacker, rock climber and traveler who would literally cry most mornings at work in Glacier National Park because it was just so overwhelmingly beautiful. I returned to New York City desperate to leave again, and I did. I followed those dreams on months long road trips throughout the Northwest, seasonal farm work in Connecticut, a random move to Flagstaff, Arizona, and climbing trips throughout the country. When I finally settled back in Philadelphia, it was because of my partner at the time and to be close to my family. Emma post-Montana remained through marriage, divorce, home ownership, non-home ownership, a Master’s program, another relationship, and almost seven years of lab work.
Then came this blog, another spontaneous decision born out of a need for change. Emma post-Philly Love Notes became a communications manager, a networker, a social media addict, and an ambitious, confident Philadelphian. Each new love note was an opportunity to meet someone and learn more about the city. Of the 204 notes currently posted on the site, I’ve probably joined upwards of 150 of those writers in their favorite spot. I’ve ridden SEPTA buses and trains back and forth across town, reveled in the view from the roof of the PSFS building, and sat in numerous parks enjoying conversations. Asking strangers to meet in person — outside of online dating — in this digital age is unusual and has more benefits than I could have possibly imagined. I’ve made new friends, fallen in love, and even landed my current job because of these relationships.
For a while, the blog helped me create a little world within the city that was full of excitement and possibility. At some point though I lost it — the momentum that I had to do outreach, to meet people in random places around the city, and to put the necessary work into redesigning the site. Coming to the homepage became sort of painful. I knew I was slacking, but just could not find the motivation. Running the #whyilovephilly parties and Twitter campaigns momentarily inject new life, but I constantly wonder whether there is going to be a fourth iteration soon. A post post-Philly Love Notes.
And yet at the same time I’ve become Philly Love Notes. It’s defined my life over the last two years and is my public-facing persona. Even though I’ve thought about stopping the blog numerous times over the last six months, I’m not sure that I could give it up. I’m not sure how I could even divorce myself from it at this point. Luckily, the love notes keep coming in, and I meet the writers, they tell me their stories, and I’m given hope that I’ll regain what’s been lost.
This is my second annual Valentine’s Day tradition of reminiscing about the year in love note form. See 2013’s here.