Sunday, September 11, 2016

The City of Brotherly Love

Feeling SUPER lucky (and spoiled and appreciative) that I got to tag along with Darin to a second conference this past weekend to Philly. Chicago was a lot of fun but there was so much traveling (2 hours to the airport, downtime + fly time, an hour subway trip to our hotel). It felt so busy and Darin was constantly running in to Poli Sci peeps while we were traveling and was busy networking and conferencing and poli scing. Plus, I was in Chicago! I felt a need to get out and see as much as I could of that beautiful city in that one full day I had. Needless to say, my break from life/kids just left me feeling even more exhausted. 

This time was different. It helped that I have been to Philly before and didn't feel a huge need to get out and explore. Also, we live close, so if we ever want to go back, we can. This trip was seriously therapeutic for me. I loved having time to myself to sleep, read while eating lunch at a cafe, and really just step back and think about my kids, my work, my new pretty demanding calling in Relief Society, etc. I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to take on life which was exactly what I needed. Plus I re-fell in love with Darin which was a nice bonus. 

We dropped the kids with my parents and then got to Philly Thursday evening. We parked on the street at our friend Nicky's house and then took a trolley into the city. We were clearly not from the city as we were on the wrong side of the street when the trolley came, then ran across and down yelling at a man on the street to ask if the trolley would stop again. He said it would and then kept yelling something at us while we were running. hahahhahaha.ohhhh man.

The trolley seemed to turn into a subway as it quickly went underground. We later learned that there was an actual subway which we took back from the baseball game we went to. We took the bus there and walked to the cheesesteak place we ate at. I'm kind of geek about city transportation and think it's so fun to take it and imagine what it would be like to actually live in the city. All the different people and places you see. I loved it.

Darin left early Friday morning to go present his populism paper. I slept in, which was lovely, got some work done and then took advantage of the super fancy fitness center. (We did not pay for the hotel, but we definitely enjoyed it :). The fitness center had a line of treadmills overlooking the city, all of them with TVs. There were disposable headphones to use and apples to grab on your way out. Fancy Shmancy. I felt like a total baller. 

Darin was done with his conference business stuff in the late afternoon, at which point we walked the 30 minutes to the steak place that Nicky recommended to us. Loved walking past so many historic buildings and stores and alleys and all sorts of smells (oh the smells of a city! The delicious food smells mixed with cigarette smoke, trash, and sewage. mmmmmm). 

Regretting not getting the cheese wiz. It really is the way to go. I couldn't even taste the provolone on my sandwich and the cheese wiz put Darin's over the top. Now I know.
Second floor seating area at the restaurant lined with windows to city watch.

We then caught a bus to the baseball game. There was a mom with a three or four year old girl crashed out on her on the crowded bus. She was gripping her grocery bags, stroller, and her daughter. My mama heart swelled a little thinking about all the moms in the world and the small and large sacrifices they make for their children. Moms are pretty amazing human beings.
Most baseball stadiums we've been to are right in the heart of the city, whereas this one was more on the outskirts of the city. It was pretty to see the city off in the distance in the outfield. The sunset was stunning.
Check out all those empty seats! I couldn't believe how empty it was! I have never been to such a somber game before. There were no vendors as we walked up and no lines at all, we just walked right in. Super weird.
 The nice thing about it being so empty was that we got to move up to a lower section pretty quickly (3rd inning). 
 We later switched to the other side of the stadium to meet up with a professor who was also at the game (and the conference, clearly). 

I would have DIED to be this close at an O's game when I was a teenager. To see Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson, Delino Deshield, Mike Bordick, Mike Mussina, Javy Lopez, etc. etc. etc. up so close! I would have DIED.

 The game was tied 4-4 in the 9th and we thought it would probably go in to extra innings since that kind of seems like our style (The games we went to in D.C., Toronto, and Atlanta all went in to extra innings--even thought we didn't stick it out in Toronto). Thankfully the Braves scored 4 runs in the 9th to end the game.
 While leaving, this Philly fan kept looking at Darin's shirt and saying loudly in his direction, "At least we're not the WORST team in baseball!" True, just the third worst.

Saturday morning, after a panel, we went and grabbed brunch at the Reading Market (such a cool place!) Darin then left for another panel and I checked out and worked in the conference center while waiting for him. After he was done, we met up with our good buddy Nicky, who is at school at UPenn right now. He was nice enough to come along with us to see the new Philly temple and even patiently listened while we talked his ear off all about our beliefs. What a saint. It really meant a lot to us that he let us share something so special to us with him. 

 What a beautiful temple! It was so gorgeous right there in the heart of the city. Unlike baseball stadiums, I feel like temples usually tend to be more on the outskirts of the city so it was really cool to see this one surrounded by buildings rather than well-off suburb homes. We loved how the architecture kept with the Philly look and the beautiful painting with Ben Franklin in it right in the entry way.
 After the temple, Nicky showed us to Chinatown to eat at Vietnam Restaurant (original name right there, but AMAZING food). We grabbed our travel magnet (we've learned that Chinatown is the place to be when looking for magnets).

After eating we got back on the road to go back to my parents to finish out labor day weekend. Did I say how grateful I felt to be able to go on this trip? SO GRATEFUL. It was just what I needed and I wouldn't mind doing it again tomorrow if I could :). (My parents might need a longer break though...huge shout out to them for wrangling the little ones while we were away).

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