Thursday, June 30, 2016

Where Our Nation was First Created

For Day two of our journey through PENN, we kicked it off by grabbing breakfast at Sabrina's Café. I was enthusiastic about trying out this new place. Dyana So had recommended we go there based on her her past experiences. She told us the portions were big and with the taste, is worth the money; she was nowhere near off. I had ordered an egg white turkey bacon frittata and tasted amazing. The architecture of the restaurant was unique. The style was a retro and old victorian. After we finished our meals, we headed out to the wonderful underground subway system.

Philly Subway System
Philadelphia has been out dated for quite some time and still is to this day. Paying to take their transportation requires tokens. There are machines in different parts  of town where you exchange money for coins to catch a bus, trolley, or subway. It was confusing on how their transportation system works. If you want to go to a specific place or area, you have to make sure you know which station to enter. It's not as how BART is where you down into the station and you can easily go to which train to take because they're all connected as one. If you walk underground into the wrong part, you will be led to the opposite area of where you want to go if you get on the train. You would have to walk back up to concrete level and go to a different one.

We walked under the streets down the stairs to East Coast style station. We all paused before the metal gates of entrance and received one coin each from John. One coin costs two dollars and that coin will get you as far as you want to go; the price set and doesn't change depending on the distance. Each of us passed the metal bars allowing us through to the platform where we would await for our train to arrive which wasn't long. Boarding the train was quick but cramped; it reminded me of MUNI back home in San Francisco. I've always seen these types of trains in television shows or movies but felt weird to actually be in one even though it is only an ordinary train. The I'm still uneasy about the transportation in Philly, but I'm confident that I'll get the hang of it sooner or later, it's still only day two. 

Our stop was 2nd Street. John had led us here to introduce us to downtown Philly and give us a real life history lesson of our first intended capital. There were so many venues, small shops, and deep history connected to the streets. When first seeing the area it was like colonial times filled with modernization. Most of the buildings were mainly made up of bricks and the streets were made of cobblestones, but still had modern day touches around such as the transportation, people, and culture. 
HIstory Lesson From "The" Ben Franklin

This deep rooted city still idolizes one the founders, Benjamin Franklin. Wherever you go you were bound to find or see something of Ben Franklin, whether it was in a store, on a window, a statue, etc. It's unique seeing a city still so proud and of such a historic person after centuries of when they first made their mark on the world; it's very prideful. We ended up taking a trip down to see his and his wife's graves, home, and even ran into him at Independence Hall. Ben took over the history lesson from John and shared some detail about himself and why he was favored in Philly in comparison to the first president, George Washington. He was originally from Boston and the youngest of eight. His answer to the George Washington comparison was that Philly is his town; he had founded it. Of course no one disliked George, hence being the first president, but was always trying to go back to Virginia at every chance he got instead of becoming a part of or making a connection with Philadelphia. 

Benjamin Franklin's Grave
Wrapping up our history lesson for now, we  made our ways back to the hotel to get a bit rested for our campus tour visit at PENN. I was beat already and it was barely even noon by the time we got back. All of the walking around the city put a dent into my energy levels. I was ready to take a nap but needed to change clothes and wash up a bit. By the time I had finished doing that, I didn't have enough time. We were meeting down in the lobby by 12:30 PM and the tour started at 1:00 PM. I became disappointed but just told myself to pull through as I headed out the door with Allonna and Diana.

College Hall Building
Returning to the UPENN campus helped us get a better feel for what the environment will be like. There were so many kids outside playing on the fields, people on benches, talking, everything was so interactive. When I start my process of applying to schools, I know that a hands on and interactive school is somewhere I want to go. I was too busy focusing on the people at the school that I hadn't realized we arrived to the College Hall Building to check in for the tour. The tour ended up starting an hour later than what we assumed. Instead, we listened to an info session about PENN life and what would be needed for us to know. All the information that was given to us by the dean of admissions, Dyana had already covered the previous day; it was just a recap and went by in a breeze. I was glad that we had already talked over it with Dyana first because the one on one attention is far better  for us to understand and everything that we heard today was just even deeper clarification.

The tour split us up into different groups where we were set with students that currently attend the university now whether they were a rising sophomore, junior, or senior each with a unique set of majors, minors, and interests. Our group tour guide was Wendy Zhou. She double majors in Biology and Communication and is a rising junior. The tour consisted of the entire campus and four major departments: Engineering, Nursing, Art and the Sciences, and Wharton School of Business. She touched in all areas as well as explained to us what the campus life would be like living like on campus, the in's and out's to room mates, food, sports, and how to get involved with meeting people or joining clubs. What I deeply and am so grateful about the tour is that they come from the students themselves. The information I receive from them is the main resource to where I can understand what it really feels like being on the UPENN campus.  

From there on we headed back to downtown Philadelphia where we all had cheesesteaks and went into deeper sightseeing. We  had come across Penn's landing, founded by William Penn, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and Spruce Street Harbor Park where they were holding live out door music. Coming into this part of town was special. There were multiple food stands along the docks and park edges contributing to the diverse culture.  Seeing the bridge long the water of the Delaware River was remarkable. My eyes were fixated with the sunlight reflecting off of the large body of water as it glistened. Across was New Jersey. Everything in the East Coast is extremely near by it's strange how I could be in one state then another within the same hour. California is too big for that to happen. 

Ending our day, we walked back to the hotel. Allonna, Diana, Chris, and I decided to relax and visit the pool for a bit. We recollected everything that happened today together then branch out into our rooms. We learned many history as well as made some history all in one day. Philadelphia is one the best places I have ever been to. 

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