Uncategorized sg1293 on 14 Apr 2014 07:40 pm

By Sarah Goldy-Brown

I only have one month left in Philly.  Probably the last month I will spend living in a city.

There are quite a few things that I’m hoping to cram into my last few weeks amidst studying for finals and finishing up final projects.

  • Go to Scoop DeVille to get delicious ice cream
  • Eat at Banana Leaf once more–I highly recommend their Prawn Mee
  • Eat at Einstein Bros. Bagels–it’s in the Student Center, so I have no excuse not to complete this one
  • Decide which cheese steak I like best:  Pat’s or Geno’s
  • Go see elephants at the Philadelphia Zoo!
  • Go to the Art Museum to see the Rocky statue
  • Ride the carousel at Franklin Square
  • Go to the top of Morgan Hall to see the view of the city
  • Find a good Jamaican restaurant
  • Take a tour of the Betsy Ross House
  • Walk along Kelly Drive
  • Go to Magic Gardens
  • Find a show to go to
  • Get a milkshake at Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

    Comment if you have any other suggestions of places to visit during my last month in Philly!

    Uncategorized jh1502 on 08 Apr 2014 08:18 pm

    Skyscrapers, history, and natural beauty: all components that make Philadelphia unique.

    By Joel Hoover

    I have been living in Philadelphia since August, attending MCPC for both semesters of this academic school year. It has been my first experience actually being a resident of a city for a time–in all my previous trips to some of the larger, more notable cities of the United States, I have only been in them for a day or two. Such a time frame is just enough to experience what it’s like to be in such a congested, busy place, but it doesn’t really give much of a chance to see everything. It’s more of a hodgepodge of running around than anything else!

    Before I moved here, I had been to Philadelphia only a handful of times for day trips. Like most of the other city day trips I mentioned, these had been no different–taking in a couple of places in particular all within a span of a few hours, which seemed to go by like a blur. Because I had been in Philly for brief spurts, I didn’t really think of it as being much different from any other big city I had been to. There were lots of places to go, lots of shops, plenty of tall buildings, and of course a ton of people. Nothing out of the ordinary.

    But after living in the city as long as I have, there is something I am discovering: Philadelphia is very unique and perhaps not as big as one might imagine.

    I know what you’re thinking: it’s a city, of course it’s big! I’d imagine that if you have never lived in a city before or spent much time in them, that this is your first thought. Let me explain!

    Last week, my roommate and I took a bus trip up to New York City for the afternoon and evening after we had finished our morning classes. We were planning to go see the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) men’s college basketball championship game at Madison Square Garden that evening, and also wanted to take the time to walk around NYC a little bit, especially since it was my roommate’s first trip to the Big Apple. It was a very enjoyable day: we got to see Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building (from the ground), saw many of the big TV network buildings, and went to Times Square after the game. MSG was the main event though, especially since we had never been to the Garden–often called the “World’s Most Famous Arena”. It was a great experience seeing the update building and all the history inside. The game was really great too!

    Both coming into and departing from New York City, I was struck at just how massive and grandiose the city appears from a distance. The first thing that stood out was seeing the towering, 1,776 ft. tall One World Trade Center from a distance, even before being able to see the rest of New York’s iconic skyline. It is a marvelous building to see in person (even from far away), especially with all the history of 9/11 in mind. Once the rest of the skyline comes into view, it’s incredible to see just how many tall buildings there are throughout Manhattan, including the Empire State Building and so many others. It is an overall scale and size that few cities can rival.

    Once you’re actually into the concrete jungle, the big thing that stands out is just how many people are. There are crowds of folks everywhere, no matter what street you are on! Crossing the street during a red light? Don’t even think about it. The taxis and rows upon rows of cars traversing the streets are in a hurry to go go go!

    And the advertising. It is just RAMPANT. Electronic signs in motion, billboards on the sides of buildings themselves, multiple signs with the same message on them. Times Square is a huge conglomerate of media and industry and advertisement all blended into one cacophony of shops and signs. It’s quite unbelievable.

    There is every kind of food you could imagine. There is every kind of store you could imagine. There are iconic places everywhere. I’m sure there are iconic people amidst the huge crowds and we just don’t even see them walking about.

    So what does this have to do with Philadelphia? And my experience living there?

    Philly is a vastly different kind of city. Sure, there are some skyscrapers down in Center City–the Comcast Building and One and Two Liberty Place are all pretty massive. And there are several other high-rising apartments, businesses, and hotels that range across those blocks surrounding City Hall.

    But really, Philadelphia does not span with the incredible height of New York City, the architectural wonder of Chicago (which I have visited), or the glamorous apartment risers of Miami (which I have not visited–yet!). There are also no hordes of people on the sidewalks–getting around in Center City is fairly easy. In fact, there’s not as much to the downtown district compared to many other cities. Washington D.C. has its federal and historic wonder. New York City has its size and glitz.

    In reality, having now lived here as long as I have, Philadelphia has become somewhat small–but not the small you would think. Between the north and south Broad Street Line and the east and west Market-Frankford Line, taking the subway is not too hard within the city limits. The shops are not a congested row-after-row kind, and are mostly quaint little places. The “suburbs” feel very close to the downtown area. The houses here are more row and townhouse types, instead of the rising apartments of Seinfeld and others in a place like New York City.

    But the biggest thing I see through all of this? A city with character.

    Where else in a different city would you see a place like Old City: where there are cobblestone streets, old shops and restaurants, a view of the Delaware River from Penn’s Landing, and the birthplace of America and some of its most iconic symbols sitting in Independence National Historic Park. City Hall itself stands dwarfed now by the size of all the skyscrapers surrounding it, but still majestic, ancient, and beautiful in the very heart of the City of Brotherly Love. LOVE is the park where one sign is the destination–and beyond it, there’s a view to behold. On down that view takes you into the Benjamin Franklin Parkway–a walk that takes you through a row of country flag after country flag and fountain after fountain.

    At the end of it stands the remarkable Art Museum. Perhaps this would be stuck in the middle of a bunch of buildings and advertising in another, “larger” city, but in Philadelphia, it is almost revered. With room to breathe and plenty of green and blue around it, it stands as a patch of architectural wonder and relaxing serenity amidst all the hustle and bustle of the rest of the cityscape. The riverwalk, garden, and Fairmount Water Works around it serve as the sides to an incredible view–especially from across the river entering the city. And then there’s Boathouse Row: by day, something out of a nature novel that has been placed mere miles from downtown of a city, but by night set ablaze by light and wonder.

    Even the nuances of the city make it unique. People freely chill in the middle of the street if they can cross half of it, unconcerned by the cars shooting by. You can walk the sidewalks and they will be pretty easy to navigate for the most part: not usually too much congestion. Traffic within the city is steady–though I cannot say the same for the Schuylkill Expressway! And you may happen to see a duck boat go cruising by from time to time.

    There’s life to this city. The vast majority of people live right along the street, rather than above it looking down. The troubled areas of the city–and there are many–seem to stand out all the clearer when you enter them, but are opportunities. Opportunities to reach people on their level and make an impact. As with any city, there are problems–problems stick out so much because it’s a city more about the people than the size or grandeur of it all. There are problems all around where I live. But because there are so many neighborhoods and because everyone is right on street level, you see them. You feel them. And they challenge you to act.

    Being a sports guy, it’s now become quite evident to me why Philadelphia sports fans like their teams to be hard-working ones with character–this is a hard-working city. It’s smaller. Everything here is earned. There is struggle and challenge on every street.

    It’s a character I have come to admire. This is not your typical city–the character you see in its views, landmarks, skyline, and sprawling suburbs is unique to any other city I have been to thus far in my life. Philadelphia has become a home to me–big, but not big like many others. Cozy, but never comfortable. Enjoyable, and yet extremely challenging and revealing all at the same time. To think I will be leaving it in a month is still sad and hard to believe.

    But it has taught me a lot. Just by being the city it is.

    Uncategorized sg1293 on 31 Mar 2014 03:40 pm

    By Sarah Goldy-Brown

    Immersion Weekend 2014 contained many different events, but one in particular left a lasting impact.  On Sunday morning, students went to one of three different culturally diverse churches.

    I headed out on Sunday morning with four other students to Abundant Life Chinese Mennonite Church.  When we arrived at the church, we received an extremely warm welcome from their small congregation.  The inside looked similar to other small churches I have attended, but the service was quite different.

    At my home church, the pastor preaches and we all listen and can understand what he says.  At this church, the pastor preaches in Chinese (some people understand him) then a woman translates into Cantonese (the rest of the people understand her) and then on the occasions where people like us, who do not speak either language (besides Madi who knows some Chinese), come in, someone else translates from Cantonese into English.  Listening to that service required a whole lot of attention because of the 3-way translating and the language barrier.

    I honestly did not understand much of what the pastor spoke about in the service because I had a hard time hearing the translator.  I know he spoke out of Jonah 3 and talked about the feeling of regret.  I know he encouraged us to examine our own lives and to examine God’s qualities.  However, for me, it did not necessarily matter that I could not understand the sermon, because I was so easily able to see God in that church in a new way.

    When I pray to God, I pray in English and God responds to me in English as well.  Praying with someone who speaks another language is a very thought provoking experience, one I have only experienced one other time in my life.  Hearing the pastor pray in Chinese was very moving even though I have no idea what he was saying.  It’s neat when you take a step back and realize how many other languages people pray in and how many other languages God can respond to them in.  This English speaking God that I pray to isn’t necessarily the most accurate depiction of God.

    God transcends language and culture.

    I saw this again when the service neared its end and we started singing the doxology.  They put the Chinese characters up on the screen for it, but not the English words (for some of the other songs, they had both).  I have sung the words to that song many times before, so I, as well as the other Messiah students, started to sing along.  At one point, we must have been singing loud enough for a man sitting in front of us to notice because he turned around and started smiling.  We were united as one through song.  Two languagesSame meaningOne God.

    Following the service, we went into the basement of the church for lunch, authentic homemade Chinese food.  In this church, it’s tradition to celebrate birthdays in the church at the end of the month with a cake.  Someone asked us if any of us had a birthday during the month of March.  Madi, one of the RAs here at MCPC, did.  They welcomed her to stand up with the other birthday person, and we all sang to them in Chinese and in English.  They even invited Madi to cut the cake.  Their hospitality was overwhelming.

    So, I may not have learned much from the sermon at Abundant Life Mennonite Church, but I definitely learned how to see God through a new lens.

    Uncategorized jh1502 on 24 Mar 2014 01:27 pm

    By Joel Hoover

    Come the middle of March, much of the country becomes consumed in Madness. And MCPC has been no different!

    On March 16, the field of 68 was announced for the NCAA Division I men’s college basketball tournament. With the coming of the tournament field comes the inevitable—and annual—process of filling out a bracket to predict the outcome of the tournament’s games. For many years, fans and casual spectators alike across the country have taken part in this guessing game with fellow housemates, office workers, and friends among many others. With so many upsets, storylines, and the coming of Warren Buffett’s $1 billion promise to whoever could pick a perfect bracket, it’s no wonder March Madness has the name it does!

    This year, Messiah College Philadelphia Campus has joined in the fun with its own house-wide competition. 22 of the students and staff have filled out brackets to compete for the grand prize of a box of glorious Insomnia Cookies (and house bragging rights as well)! Despite a slow start filling out brackets, and some general confusion on how the process took place, everybody had their brackets in by the time the games began on Thursday, March 20.

    Strategies were quite vast. Some students took to researching data on how teams had done over the course of the season. Others made educated guesses based on the advice of friends or family. And for some, it was a matter of picking teams based on preference of school colors, mascot, familiarity, or just plain who sounded cooler!

    Day 1 of the tournament (the 2nd Round, which by now had 64 teams after a play-in 1st Round) provided a host of upsets, as unheralded teams like Dayton, North Dakota State, and Harvard pulled off surprise victories. Other low ranked seeds gave some of the top teams in the tournament a close run in their games. By the end of the day, many of the Messiah competitors had a battered bracket—but against all the odds, student Lauren Veness was one of just a couple THOUSAND people in the millions across the country who filled out a bracket to go a perfect 16-for-16 in picking the first day’s games!

    Lauren’s fast start was hit by a surprise upset the next day, as Mercer took down perennial power Duke. A few more surprise results ended up jamming the top of the leaderboard after the 2nd Round of games, with Lauren and Danielle Burkett tied at the top with 26 out of 32 correct.

    The 3rd Round of games, played Saturday and Sunday, saw the point values for correct picks double, meaning more to gain from a good pick! More top teams, including Kansas, Syracuse, and undefeated Wichita State, fell to upsets, leaving a lot of red marks on brackets in the MCPC household. By the conclusion of the round, MCPC maintenance man Thomas Hines—who only filled out his bracket during a quick five-minute break from his work!—had risen to the top, scoring 49 total points and correctly picking 12 of the 16 teams currently left in the bracket. Lauren and Danielle remain lurking at 46 and 44 points, while Akeem Earle is flying the flag for MCPC’s gentleman residents with a score of 46. Several other students/staff are lurking close by, while some have seen their national champion picks fall in the early rounds and will have a lot of catching up to do.

    With four more rounds of games to come—and ever-increasing values for correct picks—the Madness of March has well and truly consumed Messiah College Philadelphia Campus, and will continue to into the first weekend of April. Stay tuned!

    Uncategorized sg1293 on 17 Mar 2014 12:33 pm

    By Sarah Goldy-Brown

    A note from the writer:  I find it a tad ironic that this post goes out on a snowy day that feels very much like winter and not very much like spring.

    On Tuesday, March 11, we experienced one of the nicest days we have had since coming to Philly.  Walking to class was a whole lot more bearable, my winter coat finally got a break, and I could finally open up my window without the fear of frostbite.  At MCPC, with good weather, comes good ideas…specifically from our maintenance guy, Thomas.

    That Tuesday around 3:30 p.m., I stepped inside Thomas’ office to chat with him and Krystalyn.  Next thing we know, Thomas is telling a story about his barbequing from the previous weekend and said, “we should have one of those around here sometime.”  I assumed he meant we would have one in the coming weeks, so I brushed off his comment and returned upstairs to get ready for Dr. G’s class at 4:30 p.m.

    While sitting in class, we started smelling a grill going, not too unusual since the Frat boys next door have grilled a few times this winter.  But, by the time we took a break for dinner, we were certain that smell was coming from our very own backyard.  Sure enough, we were greeted with a happy Thomas (what other kind of Thomas is there?) grilling homemade burgers, hot dogs, and spicy sausage.   In the two hour gap between the conversation in his office and smelling the grill in class, Thomas had grabbed one of the RAs, run the event past PSAB, gone to the grocery store, bought all of the food, returned back to MCPC, and grilled everything.  If that is not the magic of nice weather, then I do not know what is.

    Not to mention the fact that we finally could enjoy our backyard.  The glass doors that lead into the backyard were open (this was an exciting moment since they are on an alarm and you receive a fine if you open them) and it was warm enough to eat outside on the hammock or under the gazebo.  Some students even started claiming dibs on territory for studying out there.

    All in all, that Tuesday we caught a glimpse of what MCPC has to offer in the spring and I sure am looking forward to more of that.

    Uncategorized jh1502 on 12 Mar 2014 08:03 pm

    Welcome back for another round of “Philly Eats!” Last time, we took a look at some of the delicious delicacies that you can find on the campus of Temple. Now comes the hard part: expanding into the vast cuisine wonderland of the City of Brotherly Love to evaluate some of its restaurants.

    There are hundreds upon hundreds of restaurants in Philadelphia, so this is quite an undertaking! With that in mind, I’m going to talk about a few of the places I’ve been able to sample over the past two semesters thus far, as well as places that come highly recommended. Many of these are very affordable, but I may also throw in some more expensive options too if you have a date or something. I’ll also throw in a special wild card at the end…

    Going back to last semester, one of the first places I ate out in the city at was an Ethiopian restaurant in the western suburbs called Abyssinia. It’s VERY out of the way over on S 45th St., but once you get there, don’t let it’s tiny size or less than dynamic inside put you off. The food there is an extremely unique experience and it was awesome to sample some African food. Ethiopian food is generally served on an airy, doughy bread that covers the entire plate, with the contents you ordered put on top. It’s spicier than I imagined it would be, but it’s worth a try if you are feeling like taking an adventure for a taste bud adventure!

    Out around Eastern State Penitentiary is a small Greek restaurant called Zorba’s Tavern. The prices are pretty good and it’s a neat, quaint little place with a lot of character on the inside. The pillars and lights speak “You are now in Greece”, and it’s an awesome place to sit down for some dinner. They have a lot of good Mediterranean dishes, including some authentic names, and I would highly recommend giving their lamb a try! The general vibe of the place is very relaxed and nice, especially if you come in the evening.

    If Chinatown and Asian cuisine is what you like, Banana Leaf is the place to go! Located on Arch St. in Chinatown, it features many well-cooked Malaysian food options that are a step up from your typical Chinese fast food restaurant. If you want, you can dig in with chopsticks as well! After it’s all done, you can wash it down with some of their cleansing broth that they offer.

    One of my personal favorites, especially in this Spring semester, has been Sahara Grill on Walnut Street close to Broad. I hadn’t tried Middle Eastern food until getting to come here, but it was FANTASTIC. Their shawarma sandwich is delicious (thanks for the recommendation, Tony Stark!), and there are lots of other good options to try out if you’re feeling adventurous. If you really want to experience it fully, order your sandwich or whatever you get Lebanese-style (if possible), which adds several additional goodies to the food to give it a true Middle-Eastern touch.

    I’ve been recommended MANY good restaurants that are eligible for Philadelphia’s bi-annual Restaurant Week, and if you are ever in the area for that I highly recommend giving it a try. Though I was unable to get a group together for either one, Restaurant Week takes the prices of a three-course meal at some of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants down to a flat $35/person rate. If you want to go for something really high class or that would typically be out of reach, this would be your chance. Places like Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao and R2L with its beautiful views have been in play in the past. Keep it in mind!

    Finally, my big wild card is READING TERMINAL MARKET. This place is absolutely amazing. Just about any kind of food that you can imagine is located within the confines of this amazing space. Even several Amish and PA Dutch Country stands are set up there with food from where I come from! The variety of food stretches from German to Mediterranean to even some French food. Desserts are also available there; the last time I visited was around Valentine’s Day, so there were also lots of chocolate and flowers set up specifically with the holiday in mind. There’s way to much there to even go into detail about here because there are so many stands and so many people who swarm around, but it’s worth coming to try sometime if you are in the Center City area. If you think of it, there’s a good chance it’s probably there to eat!

    I’m excited to continue trying new restaurants as the semester goes along, and I hope you have the chance to go around the city and give some of these places a try.

    Uncategorized sg1293 on 06 Mar 2014 11:39 am

    By Sarah Goldy-Brown

    After spending a solid 41 days in Philly, I returned home for Spring break (“spring” here being used as a title, not to define the weather).

    Coming back to my small suburban hometown (filled with farmland, pizza shops, and churches) has been a nice change of pace and I have certainly noticed a few things since leaving the city…

    1) Silence is something I most certainly take for granted.

    When I came home for the first time, no one else was in the house.  I was left completely alone and in complete SILENCE.  When you live right on Broad Street with your desk right next to the window facing the street and your bed not too far over, you truly get to enjoy (?) the sounds of the city at all hours–police sirens, ambulances, car horns, people screaming, and, of course, the subway (I like to call him Forrest).  Oh silence, how I have missed you.

    2) The sky still does contain stars.

    I spent my first night of break back on Messiah’s main campus in Grantham and when I walked back from throwing Frisbee in the gym that night, I looked up and saw something I had not seen in quite some time:  STARS.  I have missed seeing that part of God’s Creation during my time in Philly.  The streets in the city are lit up so brightly at night that it is nearly impossible to see any stars.  Not that I’m complaining though, because  I am extremely glad that it seems like daytime at all hours around MCPC.  If it did not, I do not know that I would even be outside at the hours the stars are anyways.

    3) My lungs love fresh air.

    A city = high population density which = close proximity which = the impossibility of avoiding smoke-filled air.  Walking around Temple’s campus does not allow a person to enjoy fresh breathing air.  The amount of students that smoke at Temple astonishes me and has caused a great deal of coughing and second-hand smoke inhalation.  Getting some nice breaths of fresh outdoor air has been quite refreshing.

    4) I am dependent on the convenience of the city.

    I am a self-proclaimed slushy addict and I became a bit too overjoyed to learn that Temple had a 7-11 only a 4 minute walk from MCPC.  That being said, when I came home, it felt a tad unnatural to put aside 30 minutes just to get a Slurpee.  I had to grab my keys, get in the car, and drive all the way into town to fulfill my frozen beverage desires.  At home, the only place I could comfortably walk to is a pizza shop and even that would require risking my life walking along curved roads and about 2 hours of my time.  Living at MCPC means that pretty much everything I could want to buy is within walking distance which is something I definitely appreciate.

    5) The polar vortex is not just contained within the city limits of Philadelphia.

    I had some false hope or fantasy that somehow the rest of the state of Pennsylvania (or at least where I live) had actually been enjoying some semi-comfortable outdoor temperatures.  I was wrong.  It appears the abnormally cold winter has surpassed city limits and infiltrated the entire state.  Sometimes reality hurts (like cold wind hitting you in the face every time you walk outside).

    I’m hopeful that by the time I return on Sunday, Spring will have arrived in the City of Brotherly Love (or at least be very close to on its way) and the view out my window (see below) will be a whole lot different.

    Uncategorized jh1502 on 24 Feb 2014 04:40 pm

    By Joel Hoover

    I’ve now been living in Philly for just over five months. Such time has allowed me to get pretty well acclimated to Temple’s campus atmosphere, classes, and the general experience that comes with living in Philadelphia.

    Probably the biggest benefit that has come with living here for such amount of time is the opportunity to sample so many different restaurants and food places–not only at Temple, but also in Philadelphia! Messiah’s main campus has some very nice food options for the small campus it is. But in a place like Philadelphia and on a big campus like Temple, there are a lot of tastes for you to try that you would in most cases not get to have!

    Here’s a small exploration of what kind of food there is to try. In this post, we’ll take a look around the campus I’ve called home the past few months…

    Directly across the street from MCPC is the Johnson-Hardwick dining hall, located at the base of the two dorm buildings that go by those respective names. “J-H” is the equivalent of Lottie back on Messiah’s main campus. It has a few stations that have certain kinds of food, including burgers, pizza, hot dogs, salad, sandwiches, and other varieties of food. A few other stations change their food contents based on the days and the meals. Of course, there are also breakfast options available, and a wide variety of beverages. They also bring a portion of their food over to MCPC for dinner in the evenings from Monday through Thursday.

    After J-H, the food varieties explode–and all with options for you to spend the $7.80 limit that counts as one meal in your weekly meal plan (which can be 5, 10, or 15 meals depending on the plan). A few blocks further down Broad St. from MCPC located inside of Pearson-McGonigle Hall is Cosi, a Philadelphia restaurant chain that has freshly made sandwiches, salads, and pizza. It is one of the newer restaurant locations on campus, and was a favorite of many MCPC residents in the fall semester. Further down Broad is the brand-new Morgan Hall, which includes a food court on its ground floor that is open to both Temple students and the public. The food offered there ranges from seafood to a Mongolian grill to a Tony Luke’s cheesesteak stand, among several other stands.

    Within the campus, the Student Activities Center (SAC) is another popular destination for food that can be bought for the equivalence of one meal in the meal plan. There is a pizza grill, a wing stand, another cheesesteak stand, subs, and even a stand just for wraps. Asian food is also in good supply, with one stand for sushi and another one doing Chinese food. Another stand also offers a market-type setup, with fried chicken, beans, broccoli, mashed potatoes, and more available. If you want to go a more retail route, there is also an Auntie Anne’s pretzel stand.

    Several shops are located around campus, including many that accept “Diamond Dollars” that the students are given within their meal plan. Down the block from Messiah’s campus are a burger shop called Munchies and a brand-new store called Philly Style Pizza & Grill. Liacouras Walk is home to Saxby’s, one of the most popular coffee shops on Temple’s campus, as well as a 7-Eleven, Subway, and Wok Grill. If Starbucks is your coffee craving, there is one located in the bottom of the Temple TECH Center. Avenue North, located down by Morgan Hall, has many other retail food places, including a Qdoba Mexican restaurant and a Dunkin Donuts close by.

    Temple’s campus is home to a quite remarkable variety of food–enough to keep its residents well-fed and enjoying new food all the time! But of course, there is much to sample around Philadelphia as well. Stay tuned for Part II and an exploration of some of the city’s food places that I have had the opportunity to try. In the meantime, if you plan to visit Temple’s campus to see a Messiah student, there is much to try out while you are in this area!

    Uncategorized sg1293 on 17 Feb 2014 06:20 pm

    By Danielle Burkett

    I’ve lived in Philadelphia for almost a month now and in that time I’ve made new friends, explored Old City, Chinatown and Center City, I’ve attended my classes (and have loved them so far) and I can ride the subway without any fear.

    I grew up in a small town and I chose to attend Messiah for a variety of reasons, but one of the big factors was that it was only an hour and a half drive away from home. Moving to Philadelphia scared me a bit. Messiah was within my comfort zone and I was very happy living in my comfort zone. I was dreading the move to Philadelphia. In the weeks leading up to my move I was anxious and sad because I was very happy living in my comfort zone.  I have great friends at Messiah, I love the campus, my professors, and my classes, and I was able to see my family fairly easy because I wasn’t that far away from home. I dreaded moving to Philly because I knew that I would have to change and leave my comfort zone behind.

    I can honestly say that living here isn’t as terrible as I assumed it would be. Like I said I’ve made new friends, I’ve gotten to explore the city (when it’s not too cold of course), and I love my classes so far. It is amazing being able to walk to various shops and restaurants, to see artwork decorating the walls of buildings as I walk past, and there are so many other options and opportunities to explore within this city. Living here has made me a little more confident, more willing to explore and to leave my fears behind.

    At the beginning I didn’t want to go anywhere alone out of fear I would get lost, but just two days ago I went out into the city by myself without any fear (it didn’t make my family very happy, but it was a good experience for me because I learned that I didn’t have to be afraid all the time). It’s ok to get lost every now and then because you’ll get to see and do things that you didn’t intend to do, things that are out of your control.

    I won’t lie, I get homesick at times. I miss my family and my friends, but Skype, Facebook, and phone calls ease that a bit. I took for granted the quiet of Messiah and being able to walk in nature. I miss the walks I used to take on the fitness trails at Messiah. The noise associated with the city doesn’t bother me, I just miss the ability to be able to walk around outside and clear my head after a long day or reflect on things that were troubling me. Despite all of that I’m truly enjoying my experience here and I look forward to the lessons that God and this city wants to teach me.

    Uncategorized jh1502 on 10 Feb 2014 02:07 pm

    By Joel Hoover

    We have had a fairly eventful weekend here at Messiah Philly Campus! Friday was the release of the first Broad Street Journal, which chronicles what is happening around MCPC, as well as highlighting different people who are living here this semester! This edition has a recap of what has been happening the first two weeks, which included Immersion Weekend, several snow days that have occurred here, a Super Bowl party, and much more! On Saturday, there were two events going on: the guys of MCPC took a floor trip down to Reading Terminal Market to enjoy the wide-ranging food and sights of the incredible market. Later in the afternoon, a group of students took a PSAB-led trip to Penn’s Landing to go ice skating! For some, it was their first skating experience…but for all it was an enjoyable time!

    This semester is a very interesting one for me because I am returning to MCPC after being here in the fall. It’s an entirely new dynamic this time around: last semester’s group was a fairly large one at 36, while this time around there are only 21 total. It is sometimes a little harder to bump into people as a result! But much like last semester had its own personality, this group is starting to show theirs on individual and group levels. That’s what a few events and the “Game of Things” can do for a group of people! It has only been a few weeks, so it will be fun to watch everything play out, especially since I can observe those things as an RA and interact with everybody through that role.

    Coming back has been a little harder than I anticipated. I’m beginning to realize just how much commitment and sacrifice comes with being away from Messiah’s main campus for an entire year. The connections and relationships that are established with people there, especially in the two years I’ve been on main campus, suddenly become strained when you are away for a prolonged period of time. Simply texting or messaging them on Facebook is not the same anymore–that personal connection is lost and the investment that was made is gone. You sometimes feel as if you are on an island being in a place like this. I have had some hard days thinking about that lately, especially since I got to visit campus over J-Term and briefly revived my connections with people I am close to. The fact I only have a year left with many of these people is another tough thing to think about!

    But then I step back and am reminded of why I am here, and why many of these students are here. This is an opportunity–one that will not only benefit us academically, but also spiritually. It is about something bigger than us! Living in Grantham is terrific because it is a comfortable environment with lots of friends and friendly people around, good classes, good food, and an atmosphere that is very pleasant. However, the extent to which people grow spiritually in an environment like that really varies–some can embrace it and grow from it, while others stay stagnant or even drop off.

    But being here in Philadelphia is a challenge in many ways. The classes are run differently. The campus is secular and full of people with very different views. Your list of friends starts out very small. The neighborhood is a pretty rough one. Poverty is everywhere. The world is suddenly much bigger than the very small one we live in on Messiah’s main campus, and it suddenly we are being asked to respond to it. What place will our faith that we claim to have hold in this new, uncomfortable environment? How are we going to share it with people we are not totally comfortable with? How are we going to learn from this city and seek to help it/give back to it?

    THAT is the essence of a place like Messiah College Philadelphia Campus, as well as many of these study abroad programs here at Messiah. To take what we have learned in Grantham and start to apply it in the “real world”. To get up out of our comfortable living and away from the people we love, and to start embracing new adventures, challenging places, and ultimately seeking to grow into who we are going to be in our post-graduate life–as people, workers, and servants of Christ. In addition, it’s a chance to grow academically through deeper classes and a setting that for some majors is really beneficial! It is painful sometimes, especially because of what you are giving up by leaving Messiah’s main campus and the friends and connections that are there. But the gains–both long-term and ultimately eternal–are something much greater than ourselves. It’s a blessing and an encouragement.

    I write this not only to tell of my own personal feelings as of late, but also to encourage those who may either be abroad currently, or considering going abroad somewhere in the future. GO FOR IT. It’s a tremendous opportunity to branch out and let God grow within you if you allow Him to work. And even if you are planning to stay on main campus, it is an encouragement to keep the fire going and ask yourself, “How can I let God work in me from where I am right now? How can I give back?”

    Being abroad–especially for a year–can change how you view the college experience and what you are gaining from it and giving back to it. Even in it’s final semester, MCPC is still teaching valuable lessons such as these.

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