“We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” – Jimmy Carter
Looking out my window, the rolling green hills of Grantham have been replaced by the brown brick of my new home overlooking a bustling Broad Street with students and motorists competing for the right of way. There is no dead of night here. Though New York is the city that never sleeps, Philadelphia’s night life, full of music, laughter, shouts, and sirens continues through the morning (though you’ll have to catch the subway before midnight). Philadelphia is full of new and exciting experiences to be had, whether it be…
or new classes,
but for me it is not the art museums, restaurants, festivals, or clubs that give a city its character; it is its people.
Having earlier found and slipped on the only patch of ice in Philadelphia, I decided to gracefully bow out of ice skating for the afternoon, but I’m glad I did. It led to one of my most memorable experiences at MCPC I have had so far- my conversation with Chona. I will now do my best to regale you with how it went.
At first I am a little hesitant to strike up a conversation, the facts being, I am a foreigner to Philadelphia, at least 30 years her junior, and am very white. No, I mean it. I don’t like spicy foods, my family came over on the Mayflower, I don’t mind the occasional country song, and my dancing at best is so-so. But, I love people and I love Jesus, and Jesus loves people, so I decide to strike up a conversation. What is the worst that could happen?
Time flies by as Chona and I share stories from our lives with each other. If you only know one thing on your road to becoming a people person, know that people enjoy talking about themselves! Chona tells me about meeting her husband in the Philippines and her subsequent life as a military wife filled with adventures in faraway lands and the struggles of raising her daughters on army bases. She shares restaurant suggestions with me and even some family recipes. Her face lights up as she proudly points out her daughter who is showcasing Polynesian dancing with her company. My jaw drops when I find out that her daughter is 40 and Chona is 86! I tease her and say she doesn’t look a day over 30, and in actuality, I am only slightly stretching the truth. I tell her about my life and explain why I am at MCPC. Messiah College serves as a nice faith segway, so we start talking about the deeper things in life and who God is to us. Chona is a devout Catholic and jumps at the opportunity to pray. She thanks me and says that she was blessed to meet me, but I assure her that it was I who was really blessed.
Philadelphia is home to a world of opportunities, life changing experiences, and most importantly, new relationships, for those who look for them.
Will you look?