Park to Park: The Fourth of July

13 Jul

Greetings from an air-conditioned room (if you haven’t already noticed, I don’t often enjoy the heat… I’m more of a winter person)!

Now that all of the post-holiday chaos has calmed down, I think it’s about time that we told you about our Fourth of July. While I can’t speak for Lauren or Eddie, who did their own exciting things for the holiday, Steven and I went on a very, very hot Philadelphia outing with some other Swatties (Sera, Awjin, Eric, and Robbie).

So, without further ado, here’s what a hot, summer Philly holiday looks like:

11:00 AM: Roll out of bed, still exhausted, and hit snooze several times.

11:30 AM: Get up. Feel somewhat queasy at the thought of running (Steven and I had planned to go running before starting the festivities).

11:45 AM: Find Steven. Decide, instead, to make breakfast and relax before heading into Philadelphia with other Swatties.

12:35 PM: Finish breakfast. Split up to shower and get ready for the 1:15 PM train to Center City.

1:13 PM: Go into Steven’s room and say “We’re late.” Contact Sera and change our plans to take the 2:15 PM train.

2:00 PM: Walk with Steven to meet up with Eric, Sera, and Awjin at Sera and Awjin’s Greylock Apartment.

2:11 PM: Head to the train station and find Robbie along the way. Get on the 2:15 into Center City and debate over what we are going to do in Philly. (Note to self: it is generally a good idea to figure what you are going to do before going into Philadelphia… or, at the very least, decide on where you will leave the train.)

2:45 PM: Get off of the train at Market East and walk around for a while. Try to find shade. Hydrate. Et cetera.

(Here’s where I stopped paying attention to specific times, so I’ll just summarize what we did.)

After getting off of the train, we stumbled upon the historical area of Philadelphia (Independence Hall, the Constitutional Center, etc.) I’m a sucker for historic sites, and it seemed that I was in good company; we all headed over to the Constitutional Center to explore some history! Steven had told us that there was an area of the center that you did not need a ticket to enter into, but, it seemed that we were wrong.  So, in hopes of saving money, we left the center and decided to find something a bit more college-student-friendly. But, we did not leave the center completely unsatisfied; there were a couple of staff members dressed up, so, naturally, we had to take a photo with them.

The gang in its entirety. Robbie is a history major, so I suggested that he should try being a professional historical figure.

After leaving the Constitutional Center, we headed into the Visitor Center to see if there were any advertised events going on in the nearby area. And, it seemed that luck was on our side, because when we got into the center there was a table offering free cupcakes and some live music. It was a great break from the sun, and everyone enjoyed the snacks!

Full of cupcakes and water, we headed over to the park near Independence Hall and spent some time relaxing in the sun. The group humored me and played the haha game (for those of not familiar with it, the haha game is a quirky laughing game that I learned in my time at JHU’s CTY summer camp).  We then napped in the sun and listened to some music. For not having any concrete plans, it was a perfect afternoon.

Nap Time.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with park hopping, visiting Rita’s (which is apparently a place that does not sell Italian ice but water ice), and dancing (we tried to get Awjin to complete Ellen Degeneres’ dancing challenge).

We then made our way over to Penn’s landing and, unsurprisingly, found ourselves in yet another park. But, this park was special! It was a dog park! (I might get a tad bit over-excited when I see dogs).

Eventually, our stomachs chimed in to remind us that it was dinner time. Steven took us to this amazing restaurant in Chinatown, and we all stuffed ourselves with what seemed like endless courses.

Scallion Pancakes… om nom nom.

Meat for the meat-eaters (I think it was pork– and I was told that it was very, very good!)

Tofu! OM NOM NOM.

But, here is where our Fourth of July truly began. The Philadelphia Art Museum hosted a large concert and fireworks, and we planned to meet up with other Swatties on the road near the museum. It was very crowded, and we ran into a ton of familiar faces. While we were walking, Sera grabbed my arm to point out a chair that had a sign on it. The sign read, “Facepainting.”

I’m not quite sure how well I can convey my excitement to you, but trust me when I say that I had spent a large portion of the day asking to get my face painted. I immediately called everyone over, and plopped myself into the chair. Ten minutes later, I was a very, very happy camper.

The rest of the night was filled with music, talking, and a very, very unfortunate trip to the bathrooms (which were poorly organized, very crowded portable toilets).

I should note, now, that the Fourth of July is a big deal for me. I adore fireworks, but, for the past several years, I have been unable to watch them. I usually spend my summers working at Ben and Jerry’s, which means that I am scooping ice cream throughout the entire holiday. Also, it doesn’t help to work at a Ben and Jerry’s on the beach… which hosts fireworks that, as an employee, I get to hear, but not see.  So, having the chance to see fireworks for the first time in years was a very exciting thing for me.

But, there was a catch. We had to catch the 11:45 train back into Swarthmore, thus, we had to leave the fireworks area by 11:00–just in case.

The fireworks were supposed to start at 10:30, but 10:30 came and went, and no fireworks appeared. It suddenly dawned on me that I would probably not get to see the fireworks. The minutes continued to pass by and, still, no fireworks. The more the musicians played, the longer we had to wait.

11:00. Time to go.

Five more minutes?

Five minutes turned into ten minutes.

But, as I said before, luck was on our side. As we turned around to leave, the fireworks began. We watched as much of them as possible, and then jogged through the crowd to get to the train on time. And I was, yet again, a very happy camper.

So, after spending all of the afternoon out in various parks, eating delicious food (thanks Steven!), painting our faces, and watching fireworks, we returned to Swarthmore, exhausted and completely satisfied.

And, we get to cross off another item on our Bucket List (going into Philadelphia for the Fourth of July).

Until next time,

Aileen

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