First Impressions of Philadelphia

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Last week we had our first little holiday together since moving to America explaining the quietness on the blog front, but I am back and ready to roll, kind of.  I may have had a little sleep in this morning, treated myself to a bagel with cream cheese, whilst watching ‘Live with Kelly and Michael’ (my new favourite morning show) until 10am – but I’m here now so that’s all that matters.  I am currently writing up the posts about our little trip away so in the meantime here’s a little read for you about my first impressions of the City of Brotherly Love.

The first few weeks living in Philadelphia felt very surreal.  Each day it would sink in just a little bit more and we would turn to each other, “We’re living in Philadelphia. AMERICA.  How did that even happen??”  At this point I would inform Ian it was all down to my hard work, expertise, dedication and forever growing ambitions…oh and remind him that the dirty dishes weren’t going to clean themselves.

Just kidding.  I’ll do the dishes.

Wandering around Philadelphia purely to explore the city rather than completing chores was exciting and fun, it was also weird, scary and pretty overwhelming at times. City’s attract the strangest of people, but also the most interesting.  I’m not sure where two skinny, ginger, British people with a weird sense of humour fit into that…

The first thing that struck me about Philly was how colourful and creative it is, there is so much art publicly displayed everywhere, in places you wouldn’t really expect.  There are murals of all sizes painted all over the city, on the sides of buildings, in car parks and across pavements, there is also a lot of mosaic art dotted around, some pieces are so huge they cover entire building’s, including people’s homes. I’ve never seen anywhere quite like it and find it fascinating.  Even without the art many of the streets themselves are really bright and interesting, lined with old, quaint looking row homes that feel as though a lot of history has taken place behind their colourful wooden doors, the homes open straight out onto the street, the windows are framed with matching traditional wooden shutters and hanging baskets overflowing with pretty flowers. I instantly fell in love with these cute and welcoming looking homes, they remind me of the small cottages you would find in an English village situated in the middle of nowhere, however these homes line the edge of a bustling city.  I am insanely jealous of anyone that gets to live in these homes and have developed a hobby of looking up those for sale to see if I could ever afford one.  A girl can dream.

Philadelphia Magic Gardens - A whole garden and building covered entirely with mosaic murals created by local artist Isaiah Zagar
Philadelphia Magic Gardens – A whole garden and building covered entirely with mosaic murals created by local artist Isaiah Zagar.

Another thing that struck me is how loud everything seems to be here, I know this is generally expected in a city but this seems to be on another level compared to what I’m used to.  People are loud, cars are loud, music is LOUD. There is a constant stream of monstrous sized cars cruising past our apartment with exhausts blowing and music blaring.  Come on guys, there’s times when I’ve been singing my best impression of Beyonce but I roll those windows UP.  There is also a definite problem with the overuse of the car horn, everyone is at it and it drives me crazy.

The best thing about the city has got to be the food.  Now, I don’t want you to cry tears of jealousy into your micro-chips, but if like us, your whole relationship and social life revolves around going out to eat, that might just happen.   There are places to eat on every corner, think foot long cheesesteaks, juicy burgers piled high with layers of bacon and cheese, spicy tacos, wood-fired pizza, breakfast bagels, HUGE steaks, fresh seafood and our new favourite, brunch. Brunch is a big thing in America and we are fully embracing it, eggs benny and a mimosa please (I have never had a mimosa – that was purely for effect…I originally typed samosa which google tells me is a pastry dish with a savoury filling.  Welcome to my world.) There are also some pretty good salad bars for the days you forget how much you love burgers.

BareBurger - One of our favourite burger places. So good.
Bareburger – One of our favourite burger places. So good.

I think a lot of people, myself included, presume American culture is very similar to English culture but it is sometimes very different, however when I first arrived here many things did feel very familiar.  The fact that we speak the same language is a big part of this but as silly as it sounds I think American TV is really the main reason.  We spend so much time watching American TV shows and films in England that it kind of becomes the norm, before moving here I was aware of American phrases, words and even spellings, I was familiar with  random things such as road signs and yellow school buses, I had heard of yard sales and lemonade stands in the street, yet I hadn’t actually visited America before.  It was definitely strange seeing these things in real life, but sort of comforting because it wasn’t that strange.

This has been a pretty long post so I will stop waffling on, Philadelphia has been a very welcoming city to us, we have met a lot of friendly people, it is a very exciting place to be, there is always a lot going on, a whole host of things to get involved in, many places to see and good food to eat.

Good work Ian, that’s all I can say.

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