When I told people we were moving to Philadelphia, it was certainly a big surprise and the immediate reply was always something along the lines of "you know it snows there, right?"
Right. It snows in other parts of the country. I sort of knew what I was getting into. I think I had a pretty good handle on it, actually. I knew it wasn't going to be the easiest transition, but I really didn't expect it to work out this well. After making the decision to move to Philly, I was pretty scared. I couldn't really believe what I had done, and I sort of sat in denial between late September (when I decided to move) and January 15th when we finally left.
Getting in the car and actually driving away made it very real. We had a pretty good time driving across country, we saw so many cool things, ate really good food and just had fun visiting places we'd never been to. When we rolled in, it was in the middle of the Polar Vortex of all things. I knew it would be too good to be true when my friends in Philly told me the last few winters had been super dry/warm. But to be completely honest, it's not that bad. Yeah, 20 degrees is cold. It actually felt much colder when we got here. Now, I'm feeling sweaty when it's 55!
The food is Amazing with the exception of a good ole' Mission Burrito, of course, but otherwise we've been eating delicious foods (if you follow my Instagram, I try to snap pics of all the tasty meals) and having fun finding new places to dine.
Overall, there are many things that I really love so far about Philly and those include (but are not limited to):
- East Coast Diners and the Food! Every diner we go to has a 10+ page menu with everything you can possibly think of. So much to choose from that I find it difficult to choose every time. And there are way more open 24 hours, which was difficult to find in SF. We've found so many cool places to eat and there are more to try every day.
- Historical architecture and culture. Everywhere you go, there's some kind of landmark or historical event that's permanently embedded in the city streets with a signpost or plaque with a cool or crazy story. This is the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence. You can drive by Betsy Ross' house, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and more. I also am in love with the classic, European influenced architecture of the row houses, brownstones and the like. Almost every street is ridiculously cool and beautiful. Although I was born here (as were my brothers), I don't think I truly appreciated the history that this country was founded on. I look forward to learning more about the events that shaped our independence and how this city contributed to the final outcome.
- Snow. I know it sounds crazy. But I kind of Love it! I can't wait until Christmas time, well I can't wait until summer actually. But I have a feeling this city is going to be ridiculously beautiful around the holidays with trees, snowflakes and other holiday accessories. I'm one of those who loves layering up and wearing warm sweaters and scarves, I love dressing up for winter!
- My neighborhood, Bella Vista. We got so lucky with our apartment, it's 5-10 minutes from everything we need. It's a great mix of suburban and city living. Lots of restaurants, shopping and things to do right around the corner. I really can't wait til spring comes so I can get out and explore a bit more.
- No Turn on Red. Most intersections here don't let you turn on Red! Love it.
- Dogs. You can see from the pic above that Benny is having a blast at the dog park. Philly people love their dogs, and there are a ton of them everywhere. People bring them everywhere too!
- Diversity. One would think that SF would've been a really diverse city. Sort of, but not really. Lower and middle class families (especially minorities) are fleeing like crazy. Because you can't live there for less than $100k/year. I like seeing all different colors and classes of people wherever I go. With all the universities and colleges here, there's a nice diversity of people from all over the world.
Okay, now to the not so fun parts. Which, I don't love but aren't going to drive me to run back to San Francisco! These are things that I hope to see some changes on in the next 3-5 years. Fingers crossed, but I know it's a longshot.
- Recycling. It's such a San Francisco thing to complain about, but I miss the mandatory composting and excessive recycling that San Franciscans participate in. It reduces waste and it's sad to think about all the trash I can't recycle or compost sitting in a landfill. It also seems to fill up the streets here, especially during snow days when the trucks can't make it out that week to do pickups because of the weather. It's been so long since I've seen styrofoam, I forgot that people still use the stuff. (And it'll still be here in xx,xxx,xxx years most likely!
- Burritos. I'm still hopeful that I will find something sufficient, but it's definitely going to take awhile.
- No helmet laws. I'm getting used to it, but it still bugs me. I always pray that I won't see something I can't unsee when I see someone riding without one.
- Roads. Living in the Bay Area you're spoiled with incredible roads within 15-30 minutes of you. Everything from twisty, to goaty, to dirt, to beautifully paved. I'm excited to find a bike and start exploring, because I know there are good roads around here somewhere, I just need to figure them out! I have a feeling I'll be doing more long weekends to go riding, vs. short 4-6 hour rides which is fine with me.
- Humidity. I have a feeling I'll be driving to work a lot this summer. I just don't know what I can do with that. I'm used to riding in 90 degree dry heat, but I don't think I'll be a fan of humidity... Meh.
But most of all, I have to say that the best thing about being here is that working at Revzilla has been incredible. I didn't know if I really wanted to work in a store again. After my last experience, I felt like I didn't have any options left and really wasn't sure how much longer I could do this. Now that I'm here, I KNOW I want to do this. I absolutely LOVE doing this. And helping customers like Cory today, who just needed someone to talk to about gear and understand what options could be available for her to get geared up was so awesome. It felt great knowing that I could give her information and help that she can't find anywhere else, period. She left knowing that it wasn't hopeless and that she would be able to find gear that fits her. I have to give a shout out to my awesome coworkers who really kick ass at their jobs and also love what they do. It's so nice to be surrounded by people who are actually happy working where they work.
If you don't know what it's like to love where you work and what you do for a living, then you're really missing out. Leaving was really hard and incredibly sad for me to leave my family and friends. But I just know that living here for a bit, experiencing something completely out of my comfort zone (much like riding motorcycles, imo) will make me a better person overall. I don't regret moving one bit, and highly highly recommend it at least once in your lifetime, because it's all been worth it for me, in exchange for working someplace I never could've imagined 5 years ago.... a little place called Revzilla.com, where you can find the most unique, incredible selection of premium motorcycle gear.