Skip to content

Philly Fanatic

May 17, 2007

I went to a Phillies game on Monday night with some friends and got a kick out of the Philly Fanatic–that green, Sesame Street-looking character that serves as the Phillies’ mascot–dancing suggestively to the song “Great Balls of Fire” during a break.  But that’s not what this entry is about, despite what the title suggests.

This entry is about how much I’ve become a Philly Fanatic over the past several months, and about how much I’m going to miss this city when I move to Amherst in August. 

It really took me a while to warm up to Philly, partly because my former fiance, husband, and housemate–with whom I’ve separated–didn’t like the city and made very little effort to become engaged in it.  [Note:  To my ex-husband’s credit, he worked in Camden and so had less connection with Philly.]  Once I found myself on my own, however, I immersed myself in a number of Philly’s diverse communities and now find myself growing small roots in the City of Brotherly Love.

For one thing, I’m really enjoying living in South Philly; I feel less like I’m living on a campus (I was surrounded by students in West Philly) and more like I’m living in the actual city.  I love walking and biking through South Philly, where I often see people of all ages–teens through elderly–gathered at the corner stores and gelatti shops after work and after school, and where I live a heartbeat away from Philly’s favorite football and baseball teams.  [I often marvel at how close I am currently living to two major-league sports stadiums, a location that would have left me in awe as a child.  I can hear myself saying to my younger me, So you mean people actually live so close to the stadiums that they can walk there whenever they want to?!!]

I’ve also fallen in love with the Italian Market neighborhood, whose name is quite deceptive given the characteristics of the current population:  a growing portion of the neighbhorhood’s residents are Mexican, and Mexican restaurants and tiendas are more numerous than Italian ones.  When having dinner at La Lupe last week, my friend Elle and I both commented on how easy it was to imagine we were in Mexico instead of the US as we sipped our fruit juices and nibbled on our sopitas, nopales, and flor-de-calabasa quesadillas in the open-air restaurant, which looked out over a park populated primarily by Mexican parents and their children.

I’m especially going to miss the friends I’ve made through the Day Without an Immigrant Coalition and all of the many immigrants’ rights activities I’ve been involved with.  They’re fun, committed people who have made me feel welcome and engaged in a city that seems so far away from the rest of PA.

And, of course, I will dearly miss the Brazilians I’ve gotten to know, and the churrascarias I’ve come to crave; but, fortunately, there are many Brazilian communities in Massachusetts with which I might have the opportunity to become engaged, so in a way, I don’t feel like I’m leaving that community behind–just switching locations, as many Brazilian immigrants themselves do.  My students all have connections to people in Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, and/or New York, where other large Brazilian communities are located, so it seems to me that the Brazilian community in the United States has very much an inter-state orientation as opposed to being highly localized.  I imagine this is the same for many of the immigrant communites living in our country, although I can’t be sure.

Well, speaking of immigrants, I’m off to work with some right now, so ate mais…


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: