Waiting on Fall

Welcome, fall! As I soak up the last bit of summer sunshine and start to pull my sweaters out of storage, I could not be more excited for the season change. Fall brings beauty; as leaves transform into brilliant colors and begin to coat the sidewalks. Fall brings fresh air. No longer having to worry about humidity, I can walk outside comfortably with my favorite item of clothing: a scarf. Fall brings all things pumpkin. Coffee, muffins, pies and decorations all take on a new persona, one that no one can resist. Fall brings Thanksgiving, a day full of reminders of how much God blesses our lives. Lastly, fall brings December. And we all know what glorious day comes in December. This celebratory season gets the best of my childish spirit and I cannot wait to indulge in it.

Fall, I welcome you with open arms. I intend to eat every pumpkin flavored baked good I come across, attend the best fall fairs, breathe in the cool air and go out of my way to step on the crunchy leaves. So long, summer!

Senior Status

The fact that I am a senior in college has not sunk in yet. I am still living in denial that I just experienced my last first day of school and moved into my apartment for the last time. With mixed emotions, I look ahead to a busy, overwhelming and fun year. My goal? To find the perfect answer to the million dollar question: “What are you doing after you graduate?”

Another goal I have set for myself is to not get so consumed in the future, or the dwindling time left as a college student, but to live in the moment. For some people, this goal is nothing out of the ordinary. But for me, a person who plans and makes lists like no other, this task is daunting. I am tempted to let the uncertainty after May 17th swallow my last nine months of college. However, if I put my trust in the big guy upstairs, I am 100% sure that things will come together. In the mean time, I will learn to appreciate each day and the wonderful things that it brings. I will celebrate my senior status, rather than resent it. And come May 17th, I will be ready – ready for whatever exciting adventure God plans to take me on.

So long Philadelphia…

In two short weeks, I will be saying goodbye to the City of Brotherly Love. Although I have mixed emotions about this semester coming to an end, I am so grateful I got a chance to have another semester-long adventure.

And what an adventure it has been. Living in a house with 34 of your peers has been both fun and challenging. You see the good and the bad of everyone and have to learn to love them all despite their flaws. Interning in West Philadelphia with a neighborhood organization has opened my eyes to the poverty and injustice existing in urban life. Although I was not able to fix Philadelphia single-handedly, I felt I played a small role in impacting some people’s lives. Taking classes at Temple was a struggle, as I often felt isolated and different from everyone else. Regardless, I learned to be in an environment of apathy and create my own motivation. Exploring Philadelphia has been nothing short of amazing. Whether I’m finding a new coffee shop, people watching in Rittenhouse Square or enjoying the water-front view at Race Street Pier, I love everything this city has to offer.

So after a semester of new friends, opportunities and growth, I will be heading back to Lancaster to my summer job of coaching a swim team and lifeguarding. Although I think it might take some time to adjust to falling asleep with no sirens or bumping frat music, I am looking forward to the peace and tranquility of the rolling fields. Thank you Philadelphia, and most importantly — MCPC, for such a wonderful semester!

Change of perspective

As I am training for the Broad Street Run I have enjoyed roaming the streets of Philadelphia on my runs. Through these runs, I have made discoveries of coffee shops to go back to, as well as many friends that cheer me on from their normal posts on Broad Street. However, this past weekend I witnessed the most interesting discovery. On Sunday I ran to the art museum, ending with the classic Rocky-inspired run up the stairs. Breathing heavy and dripping with sweat, I took a second to notice the scene around me. I saw the beautiful skyline of the city I have fallen in love with the past two months. I saw the budding branches and the reminder of spring on the trees. But most importantly, I saw the dozens of tourists scattered on the steps, snapping hundreds of Rocky Balboa poses. Observing the interesting display of tourism, my mind started to wander. I am no longer standing in awe at the bottom of the art museum, but rather using these steps as a part of my daily routine. What makes these steps so interesting to everyone from the outside world? What really distinguishes a tourist from a native?

We know the classic stereotype of a tourist adorned with an overflowing backpack, large map, baseball cap, obnoxious camera and confused look. Annoying and bothersome, natives do everything they can to skirt around the tourists littering the sidewalk. But a greater difference lies beneath the compulsive photography and drooling mouths. Tourists take time to stop, look and appreciate the wonders surrounding them. Rather than simply passing by the art museum steps, tourists revel in them. They open their eyes to the beauty around them.

Maybe we need to learn something from the tourists. We cannot grow immune to the beautiful things that surround us in the city. This does not mean that we need to document every trip up the art museum steps.  However, we should appreciate the beauty of structures, buildings and sights that encompass our daily routine and learn not to take them for granted. Stop and take a second to marvel at the mural across the street. If we learn to develop the eyes of the tourist, we will never grow bored of this city, but rather discover things we never knew.

Talk like Reggie

When I walk down the sidewalks of Philadelphia, I often wonder about the mysterious stories that lie behind the weathered faces and tired eyes of the people I pass.  At first glance, I can typically determine where they are headed: a school, a hospital, an important business meeting, a tourist spot or nowhere at all. But I want to know more than the clothes they chose to put on that morning. Every person represents a unique and beautiful part of this world and for that reason alone, I wish I could have my own 60 Minutes with everyone I walk by. With these noble intentions, I thought I had the best outlook on talking to strangers.

Then I met Reggie.

I sat peacefully in a coffee shop in Center City, trying to focus on my homework rather than the people bustling past the window.  The people outside were much more intriguing then my homework, so I shut my lap top and began packing up. The man sitting next to me, who had quietly sipped his drink for the past half hour asked me what I was studying. I assumed the conversation would end with a well-wishing for the rest of my college career. However, our conversation turned into the most encouraging ten minutes of my week. The man, Reggie, proceeded to ask me what I plan to do with my degree and we somehow ended up talking about the public education system. One of my areas of passion, we shared our concerns and thoughts on the topic. He said that people like me could help bring hope to the children of Philadelphia.  Shortly after, he wished me well and encouraged me to spark the change that the city so desperately needs.

Even though I had somewhere to go and a schedule to follow, it did not matter that I gave up that time to talk to Reggie. For those ten minutes my story meant something to him. I walked away feeling inspired and empowered. Little did he know, but Reggie gave me the tiny push I needed all along. I won’t be demanding life stories from every student on Liacourous walk.  However, if I happen to sit next to the right person at the coffee shop or on the subway, I will muster up the courage to have a conversation. Reggie sits somewhere in Philadelphia tonight with no inclination that I even remembered his name. I will most likely never see him again, but will always remember the simple way he touched my life. The power of a conversation and the power of caring for another person speak measures. Let’s show a little love and all be Reggie’s to those people we pass on the sidewalk.

Senior Status

The fact that I am a senior in college has not sunk in yet. I am still living in denial that I just experienced my last first day of school and moved into my apartment for the last time. With mixed emotions, I look ahead to a busy, overwhelming and ...


So long Philadelphia…

In two short weeks, I will be saying goodbye to the City of Brotherly Love. Although I have mixed emotions about this semester coming to an end, I am so grateful I got a chance to have another semester-long adventure. And what an adventure it has been. Living in a house ...


Change of perspective

As I am training for the Broad Street Run I have enjoyed roaming the streets of Philadelphia on my runs. Through these runs, I have made discoveries of coffee shops to go back to, as well as many friends that cheer me on from their normal posts on Broad Street. ...


Talk like Reggie

When I walk down the sidewalks of Philadelphia, I often wonder about the mysterious stories that lie behind the weathered faces and tired eyes of the people I pass.  At first glance, I can typically determine where they are headed: a school, a hospital, an important business meeting, a tourist ...


A different kind of love

As Valentine’s Day came and went, my friends and family showered me with love in the form of beautiful cards, encouraging words and a multitude of chocolate. I felt blessed beyond belief. But on that very same day, I walked past and sat next to dozens of Philadelphians who have ...