Philly (Ph)anatic - My Family Travels

Art scene and cheesesteak stop on South Street
Pat's (the superior cheesesteak joint)

After traveling across the country from Florida to New York to my home of Shawnee, KS, I can confidently say there is no place more memorable than the city that has broadened my outlook on community and given me a glimpse of the entire world.

Ever since I’ve been a little girl, my yearly trips to Philadelphia have taken me to my home away from home. I started traveling as a baby with my parents, which turned into just my dad and I, and eventually my new step-mom and sisters tagged along. Through all these changes, the one consistency was our destination.

There is nothing more important in life than the ability to understand perspective. By experiencing new environments, we can attain a fuller outlook on life. Uniquely, Philly offers an understanding of a broad number of cultures one can find nowhere else. After all, what better place than the origin of our country for cultural understanding and opportunities. As I flew into Philly for probably the 30th time in my life, I felt welcomed to the place I could eventually call my home.

My most significant memories and experiences in Philadelphia stem from our exploration of the food community. Whether it be walking through the Italian market in Philly, grabbing a bite to eat at the most superior cheesesteak location of Pat’s, driving to Chinatown for dim sum, or going to Shady Maple in Amish Country for breakfast, there are ample opportunities to, quite literally, taste the world. Meanwhile, we witness the vibrant communities Philly has to offer. In only a drive through Chinatown, I was able to see the beautiful Chinese architecture lined with old Chinese sayings and accentuated by the attention grabbing color that lined each statue. Or, ranking as probably my favorite part of Philly, I enjoy the competing cheesesteak scene that is always packed with lines of people coming from all across the world. Between Geno’s, Jim’s, and Pat’s, the rivalry is in full force (everyone on the right side of the competition sides with Pat’s as the most fabulous cheesesteak joint in the world).

A couple blocks down from Philadelphia’s cheesesteak hub and authentic Italian experience, a person interested in the art scene can find their niche. Whether it be street artists and musicians lining South Street, graffiti resembling life in Philly, or some of the best art schools in the country, it is clear that the community is in touch with the arts. A visit to any college campus, historical site, or church in Philadelphia shows how creativity has shaped the city. Beautiful stained glass churches and buildings similar to medieval stone castles resemble how the city has always held remarkable designs that reflect the beginning and the modernization of our country.

Driving throughout the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, I am reminded of the unique sense of community the location has to offer. The close proximity and age of each neighborhood emphasizes how Philadelphia truly is the city of brotherly love. And in the sanctuary of Pennsylvania’s rural communities, I am able to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and witness the site of a beautiful sunset over the Pennsylvania mountains. Time and time again, my love for Philadelphia only grows. My outlook on life has been formed by my exposure to communities I would have never had the ability to witness in Kansas. Philadelphia is home to a balance between nature and culture and history so incredibly unique that anyone given the opportunity to visit will surely fall in love with this city the way I have.

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