As a native Californian that vowed to remain in my native state for my continued education and most likely the future of my career, I often dismissed the remainder of America as only potential traveling options, relegated to a weekend trip to perhaps a two-week tops vacation if I found the free time and the conviction.
Suffice to say that not only did the endearing nature of Philadelphia surprise me, but the degree of my affinity for the colorfully diverse city surprised even myself! As of yet, I cannot decipher whether or not my starry-eyed experience simply arose from a case of rose-colored glasses that were tinted by my excitement in anticipation of a new journey, or perhaps by a feeling of nostalgia that arose from seeing old friends I first met in another great city, Rome.
However, I feel that the connection I felt to the city was quite legitimate. While I in no way glossed over all its imperfections – the potholes, the collapsing buildings in the old industrial area, the heavy
traffic that is signature of any large city, and the outlandish alcohol laws (although BYO can be more fun than in-house drinks anyway) – I felt that these blemishes were like mere beauty marks on the face of someone that is still alternatively and strikingly beautiful.
If anything, they only serve to add more character to an already eccentric town that still offers everything I could ask for in a city: great food, plentiful commerce, vibrant nightlife, impactful history, distinctive music, and a people who form a vivacious and unapologetic culture. No, Philadelphia – like any city – is certainly not perfect, and I do not think it would ever want to be!