I'm actually a little surprised to find me here, too.
So what do I love about Philly? What keeps me here, celebrating instead of mourning 3 years today?
The first is the incredible community of friends I have met here. What wonderful people you all are- dedicated, hard-working, graceful, and above all, loving. I have shared so many wonderful times with you, and I hope to continue to do so. Community is a wonderfully sustaining thing.
The second is the active on behalf of the many. There is such an active community of Christians and non-Christians alike in Philly. If I were more prideful, I would say that you make me know that I'm not alone in the work I do. Instead, I want to say that I feel blessed to be able to join in the great work that has been going on for many years and that I pray will continue to go on for many more. You are all so full of wisdom that I know my opportunity to glean from you will not dry out soon.
The third is my family- being from this region has been such a blessing, to be able to make my own life but to still remain connected to my family has sustained me as well. They support me, check up on me, take interest in my life, and have fun with me at holidays, get-togethers, and any old random day.
The fourth is opportunity. Necessity is the mother of invention, and there is a lot of need in Philly. I don't know where my life will take me- I didn't think I'd even be here! But I know that there is much to do, and much that excites me.
The fifth is food. Let's be real. Philly becomes more of a foody city with each day and I LOVE it. That includes urban farms, CSAs, hole-in-the-walls, food trucks turned restaurants, co-ops, whatever that creation was I made for dinner last night, my backyard container vegetable garden, and more.
The sixth is the city itself. It changes every second. I drive the same route every day, but there is always something new to see or notice. Some new graffiti, some new building development, sometimes less graffiti, sometimes less development. If you've ever driven with me you know how distracted I can get by observing what's going on around outside the car- I love watching the city grow and change. Which leads me to:
The seventh, which can at times be annoying, is the lack of privacy. There's a lot of people in a small place here and especially in the summer, people take to their porches and stoops. But that means that there are that many more neighbors that you see that much more frequently. My block becomes alive again each summer, and it is such a blessing to catch up more frequently with neighbors, play with the kids, and look out for each other. Plus, it's fun to watch the city live their life outside- friends greet each other at bus stops, neighbors watch other neighbor's kids, people go on bike rides or runs together, strangers help each other with engagements behind the art museum (it happened!), and people take to decorating their stoops or taking care of their front-yard gardens.
I think the most popular plant of choice in Philly is the knock out rose bush. And everywhere you go you see these flowers uniting and beautifying Philly with their blooms.