The day began with an early morning rise and shine at 5:00 AM, today we were headed to the city of brotherly love: Philadelphia.
My roommate Thomas and I woke up, got dressed and went down to the lobby of our Holiday Inn so we could leave the hotel by six to catch our train in to Philly. When we got ready to leave for the train station we rode in cabs of three. In my cab was Mr. Ramsey, Loan, and I. The cab driver was a lady from Ghana who had an unusual interest in what we were doing today. What made her interest unusual is the fact that most of our cab drivers kept silent until time to pay them the fare. The lady showed interest in us, asking our college choices and traveling history, all the way up until the time we got to the train station.
When we pulled up I gave her the cab fare and a tip, then we proceeded to entering into the gigantic train station (very different from BART), that had a lot of roaming pigeons in the building. We sat down for approximately thirty minutes and then boarded the train. When the train pulled off I instantly went to looking out the window as we passed through four states to get to Pennsylvania. But every so often the cool train a/c would get to me and I would doze off. For some reason I would wake up at every stop which I found weird, but before I knew it we were in Philly.
As we were getting off the train Kim was having a little trouble opening the train door, and I noticed that a man on the other side was mugging Kim (giving Kim a grim or nasty look). Mr. Mannix and I both stared up at him with a look of disgust and we all went about our business. After this little encounter I knew for sure that we were in the City of Brotherly Love.
After we left the train station we made our way to go and eat breakfast with the Penn chaperone, Mr. Hillyer, from De Anza High School. We all ordered our food and before we knew it ILC alumni and current Penn student Dyana So was at the table giving us her words of wisdom. Her words of wisdom were her experiences of college and some of the first year troubles she had at school, like finding the right major, she eventually found one I believe it was a form of art or photography. She even mentioned that at Penn they give you until the end of your sophomore year in college to choose your major, but before we knew it it was time to go on the University of Penn tour that Dyana would guide us on.
As the tour went on and the more Dyana explained the school, the more I realized that Philly wasn't called the City of Brotherly Love because of the way its people treated you, but they called it that because of how much the University of Penn loves its students.
Dyana So gave a very energetic tour that eventually explained the school's love. One way Penn shows the love is that they give all of their students that make under a certain amount of money a year a financial aid program that is loan free, and won't leave their graduating students in bank debt. Another way the they show love for their students is with the top notch security they offer, ensuring that the students are safe at all times. The campus at Penn has emergency telephones every 300 or so feet that automatically calls the police once the receiver is off the hook.The response time is unheard of in a speedy five minutes or less. They even have cameras and checks at buildings for ID like at an airport. Dyana even stated that the classes are small and close knit with the teachers caring for the students, giving them time and extra help outside of class. The real surprise was the eleven over sized libraries ensuring that each student is on top of his or her studies.
After the tour was over our Vandy group sat through a thirty to forty-five minute seminar, before having to rush out and get to our dinner reservations at an Iron Chef's Mexican food restaurant. There everyone met up: Mr. Ramsey, Dyana, Mr. Hillyer, Kim, Loan, Thomas, Mr. Mannix and I. For the first time since eating out here on the east coast I met a food entree that I couldn't finish, (I still don't consider it as a lose, I had a lot to drink). The delicious chicken nachos with stringy cheese like a New York pizza, and a sweet but spicy flavor. The nachos were all fresh with no cheese sauce or sour cream (wish I had sour cream), we made our way down to Penn's book store, where everyone got a shirt except me because I was looking forward to Georgetown gear, but that's another story. After everyone got their items we said goodbye to Dyana and Mr. Hillyer and caught a cab to the Philly train station. While in the cab, though, we encountered another victim of the false brotherly love, (the cab driver).
As we boarded the train everyone got straight to blogging on a crowded train, but on the way back to D.C. my internet connection was lost and my blog draft was deleted. So I started from scratch on a piece of paper with a pen and got more done then I had finished on my dieing phone. Soon enough we were back in D.C. and making our way home with another rare cab driver who found interest in what we had to say, but we mainly discussed what it was like living where we do. The conversation carried over till the time we pulled up at the Holiday Inn. I paid the elderly couple because it was my turn again and then we discussed our plans for the night in the hotel lobby. We decided to go to the famous food network cupcake shop around 8:16 PM to see what it was like. 8:16 came around and we all left except Mr. Ramsey who called a rain check on this time because of his busy schedule that allowed him to get little sleep.
First we made our way to the circuit bus where we paid a dollar to ride the bus to where the cupcakes were at. Then we made a group decision to go again on Saturday after we visit Georgetown. Then the rest of the night was spontaneous as we walked around viewing the night time D.C. First we went to the park and took pictures of the dark river. Then we saw a fountain with kids playing in it like it wasn't night time with bathing suits on. Then we all had fun going through a maze on the cement with some local D.C. people, and after that we mad our way over a canal and I spotted a giant rat from about twenty-five feet away so we had to get out of there. So as our last thing of the night we went and got pizza and some much needed water after getting the times the cupcake place closes. Today was a great day of learning and observation.