Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Short, Sweet Trip to Phillydelphia

I got to escape to Philadelphia for a quick but pleasant trip with Peter this past Sunday into Monday. He had to give a lecture at Wharton (the business school at Penn that he went to), and I always love going back to Philly and Penn since I spent four great years of my life there. My sister Elizabeth and her boyfriend Justin were kind enough to come down from Massachusetts to watch John so that I could go. We left at about 3:30 on Sunday afternoon for the four-hour drive, and were headed back home by 3:30 on Monday afternoon. Quick trip indeed! But it was worth it.

It's always nice to go back to Philadelphia together. It's a special place for us. It's where we met and fell in love. Ten years ago, in November of 1998, this was the kind of thing I dreamed of (a Wharton-educated husband, coming back to campus to visit with him, etc.) At that time I was a freshman at Penn, a seemingly random Ivy League school that I somehow got into. I decided not to go to BYU in favor of giving Penn a try. It was a little scary at first, but it turned out to be a completely wonderful, life-changing experience.

Peter and I met ten years ago in Hill House, the dorm we lived in. It's funny that our room number at the hotel on this visit was 568. My room number freshman year when and where we met was 569. It was in that room that Peter first stopped by to introduce himself almost exactly ten years ago this fall. It's great when funny little "coincidences" like that happen!

We stayed at the beautiful Inn at Penn, where I spent all of Monday morning until it was time to check out. It's so nice to be able to sleep in every once in awhile! After that I walked around campus a bit (feeling nostalgic and sentimental), snapped a few pictures, ate a delicious chicken and veggie crepe for lunch in Houston Market (where I used to eat a lot), and read in the Penn Bookstore until Peter was done with his lecture and lunch. Then we headed back home. It was a great little relaxing getaway for me. Thank you Peter, for having a lecture to give so that I could enjoy a mini-vacation in a place that I love!

A few pictures of campus

Locust Walk, the main walkway through campus.

Rich and famous businessmen
We went to school with Donald Trump's kids. I saw The Donald Himself once on campus. And you know what else is funny? The big construction project on campus during my four years there was Huntsman Hall, the new Wharton building that alumnus Jon Huntsman had donated lots of money to build. I liked walking by the construction site during my time there knowing that a fellow member of the church was responsible for it. It was like my own version of BYU. And then at graduation, Jon Hunstman Jr., the current governor of Utah and also an alumnus of Penn, was one of the speakers. Someone sitting near me whispered to someone else, "Hey, did you know that guy is Mormon?" And she said, "Really?" And I just smiled to myself.

Some pictures from the drive back home

(Still in Philadelphia)
That big sprawling building in the background behind the sign and highway is the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art, the one where Rocky Balboa runs up the steps to that iconic song "Gonna Fly Now." I haven't seen the movie but it feels like I've seen that scene hundreds of times.

Crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge from Philadelphia into New Jersey.

This is a bad picture of New York City in the distance (it was rainy and I was in a fast car). That tallest pointy building in the middle left is the Empire State Building.

Another not-so-great picture. Sorry! This is the sprawling George Washington Bridge, one of the world's busiest bridges. It connects New Jersey and New York. I was apprehensive about crossing this bridge for awhile after 9/11, but it doesn't make me nervous anymore.

Headed home (to New England, not Long Island!)

I miss New York and living close to it when we lived in NJ.

On a side note, Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you have a great holiday!