By Marie Zill
[Editor’s Note: Our summer program, Learning Work, ended on Saturday, July 19. We wish our student bloggers and all of our summer students the best of luck!]
The weekend of Independence Day deserves its own blog because it was such an experience! There was so much going on that I can’t even begin to explain how many activities there were! Old City definitely “owned” the Fourth of July! There were speakers, hoagies, all-you-can-eat ice cream, free admission into the Constitution Museum, a very long line to see the Liberty Bell, fireworks every night from Tuesday to Sunday, a very long parade, the largest concert in America, reenactments, face painting, family games, and so much more! I have never experienced so much in one Independence Day and I would recommend everyone visit Philly at least once for the Fourth. There were no barbeques, just patriotism. Many of the tourists, including myself, took the day as an opportunity to learn more about our country. (I also learned that you could actually see the Liberty Bell through a window rather than waiting in the long line to see the whole thing!)
The parade was a type of parade I have never been to… it was SO long, there was no candy, but there were “men in black” searching the crowd and rooftops for trouble as the mayor passed through. They did give out necklaces and Wawa stuffed animals though! Although the parade was nothing that I expected it to be, it was very intriguing. It was great to see all of the cultures represented in the parade. I did wonder if some of the groups/companies volunteered to be in the parade because they wanted to celebrate America or if it was more of a marketing/business reason. Parades are interesting when you think about it…I wonder how the first one ever started and how different the purpose of that parade would be compared to today’s purpose.
After the parade, my boyfriend and I went to Jim’s for a Philly Cheesesteak. This was my second time here and I promised I was going to try cheese whiz but it looked a little freaky so I backed out at the last second! After lunch we got ready to go to the largest concert in America and the fireworks at the Art Museum. We are so lucky to live only two miles away from the Art museum…it was a beautiful walk down the Schuylkill River. Before reaching the concert, we stopped to watch the skateboarders at the skate park. I’ve never actually seen a skate park, except in Rocket Power. Boy, these people are incredible, it must take so much practice and it sure does get my nerves going when they fall!
There were so many people at the concert it was a little overwhelming but, once again, such and experience. It was a lot of standing around but great opportunities for people watching! After the concert we were able to walk closer to the museum and sit on the grass and watch the children play with sparklers until the fireworks were beautifully displayed over the Art museum. This event brought people of all ages and all kinds… it was very interesting to see how they interacted. Some were open to strangers, some were hostile, some were obnoxious, some were stinky, some were enjoying their family, some were thankful for the free concert and some were not.
I had such an incredible week with my boyfriend here! Aside from the Fourth of July festivities we did so much! We went to the Philadelphia Zoo (Awesome!), he came to work with me and worked really hard, we tried Pat’s Cheesesteaks (I got cheese whiz!), went to the dog park, went shopping, ate pizza (because we have when we’re together), and so much more!
This past week has really made me feel ready for real life. It has reminded me of my desires in life and reminded me who my true self is. It has also sent me on a kick of learning and reading up on all sorts of topics. I am hesitant to return to the bubble where there is so little culture compared to Philly, but as my friends have reassured me, I can bring back what I have learned to the bubble and share my knowledge with others. More on culture and the things I have learned in my next blog!
A few of the countless moments of happiness:
- Cheese whiz
- Little children
- Long walks with someone special
- Cooler days… one day this week felt like the desert!