(360//365) A friend once told me "Denver has no soul." Until then, I hadn't been able to articulate exactly why I didn't take to the city and ever since and in every comparably sized city I visit, I find myself searching for its soul, its unmistakeable aura and personality like the feeling you get when meeting a stranger for the first time, that primal sense based only on feeling and emotion and in almost every one, it is unquestioningly undeniable.
Philadelphia is like an old soul, wise and experienced and good in its intentions. It's beautiful in places and dirty in others but it's rarely ugly. It's comfortable and encouraging and spilling over with people and homes and storefronts that have likely seen many generations come and go but it scarcely feels confining. And it's link to the past feels much like coming home, even for those of us hailing from an adobe abode in the middle of a great big desert at the foot of a state most people hardly remember exists in the first place (47th to be admitted to the union and not without opposition!) I read about Philly in every history book in every history class I was ever subjected to but surrounding me was nothing but Mexican and Wild West history. Until this trip, the beginnings of this country were never anything concrete I could harken back to but a perfectly fine story I once read. Being there is something else entirely. Above all, I was surprised at it's welcoming and familiar demeanor despite being a stranger and a visitor to the land, not to mention the fact that I usually feel lost and lonely in cities of such mass.
So it probably shouldn't surprise me that a family I'd never before met welcomed a total stranger into their home(s) for Christmas. Mary, Marc, Maegan, Michelle: Thank you. Despite it being a rather rushed and frenzied visit, I had a wonderful time and I can't wait for another (and hopefully more lengthy) trip there.