Monday, December 2, 2013

The City of LOVE

For the second year in a row, I spent the last weekend in October in Philadelphia. One of my best friends from work is in his 2nd year at Penn, and another one just started, so I was able to see 2 of my favorite people in 1 weekend. We celebrated Halloween dressed as a cookie (with a mouse counter-part a la if you give a mouse a cookie), a Wal-Mart employee, and a minion (with many other minion counterparts). We started the night catching up and reminiscing while getting ready, went to another friends apartment for a little pre-party, and then scurried off to the big party. 1,000+ MBA students in a large club... crazy things can happen. We found ourselves in the middle of the dance floor yelling and screaming and jumping and dancing and singing along. I had yellow smiley face stickers with me due to my costume, and successfully "stuck" everyone around me. In fact, people were coming up to me and ASKING for stickers. My costume was a complete and total success, and I'd highly recommend. Vest purchased here, stickers purchased here. I wore a sparkly white Old Navy t-shirt and a pair of shorts, plus my favorite boots. Comfortable, a little revealing but nothing skanky, and creative. Checks all 3 of the boxes for a Happy Halloween!

I woke up on Friday and knew my friends had schoolwork and other commitments, so planned to spend the day with my girlfriend who flew in from London. We met up for lunch and paraded around Philadelphia. We took each other's pictures in front of the LOVE landmark, had way too much fun viewing the Liberty Bell, poked around on the country's oldest street, and then deemed ourselves tourist-ed out and plopped down at Khyber Pass Pub on 2nd Street for a couple afternoon cocktails. I had taken the day off work, and usually taking 1 day off means not really taking a day off at all. This time, though, I didn't check or respond to emails, I didn't take phone calls, I enjoyed a true vacation day. Let's be clear, I certainly paid for it later, but at the time it was worth it to be completely present with a delightful friend. At the end of our afternoon, another friend picked us up on her way home and we headed over to their absolutely gorgeous loft in Fishtown. I gotta tell you, the more I hear and see of Philadelphia, the more I love it. In part because it's completely different from Atlanta and the south, and in part because so many people that I love live there.
Friday night I found myself back with my work friends for a family dinner and the most entertaining game of Cards Against Humanity. We stayed up far later than we should have laughing until we were crying, rolling on the floor because our stomachs hurt from the belly laughs the game brought on. It was the best medicine I could have imagined, being completely uninhibited with friends who take me for what I am, love me no matter what, and push me to be the best person I can be.
Saturday morning we woke up late and lazed around. Anna had to go in to work, Andrew had a paper to write, David & Ali had beer games to attend, and I had a brunch to be gettin' to! The girls all met at Honey's where we gabbed, ate, spilled coffee... all the things you'd expect. After brunch we meandered over to Whole Foods to pick up the necessitites for a homecooked dinner, grabbed a fresh juice to make us feel like we were eating healthy, and decided to check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We spent a solid 2 hours in the museum looking at the art, nearly getting kicked out twice, laughing until our sides hurt, and just genuinely enjoying a Saturday afternoon with no plans, no places to be, no agenda... just being. It was glorious. We literally got kicked out of the museum at closing time, and of course no trip to Philadelphia is complete without a detour to the Rocky steps and statue. Somehow it didn't surprise me that there was a huge line waiting to get a picture in front of the statue, so we killed some time taking group pictures in front of the museum. It was the perfect time of night to capture our silly friendship.
It still blows my mind that I met these women on a soul-searching trip to Costa Rica, and they have somehow etched their ways into my life, into my every day. Sometimes you meet people and have a connection, but as soon as that event is over the connection fades. Not this time, and for that I am so thankful.
The trip continued on from there - another night in cooking dinner and spending time together. Another brunch with friends and old coworkers. Mani/pedis and shenanigans. Fried pickles on a plate. Moving my flight back 4 hours just to grab the last remains of the weekend. And a businss class upgrade on the trip home, on top of a weekend that already had more cherries-on-top than I could have imagined. It's weekends like this, both home and away, that remind me of all the goodness in my life.
This fall has been tremendously challenging. Going back to school, traveling way too much, losing my grandma, weddings, birthdays, work overload, and so many other things. Sometimes, all it takes is a word, or a picture, or a memory, to remember that every single minute is worth it because I love what I am doing, I love the life I am so privileged to live, and I chose it. I chose where I am, who I am, and who I'm doing life with and I have pretty darn good taste. <3 p="">

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