It’s been a busy summer for us as we wrapped up our lives in the Bayou City and made the trek up to the City of Brotherly Love. Leaving Houston proved to be much more difficult than I had ever imagined it would be. Aside from the hellish summer temperatures and the year-round mosquitos, Houston was such a great place to call home. We both loved our jobs, and had (have) a really amazing group of friends. Alas, we knew that another move was imminent, we just didn’t expect it to be so soon. After several (very) teary-eyed goodbyes with all of our friends and co-workers we packed up the beasts (our Texas souvenirs) and hit the road.
What could be more fun than being stuck in a car packed with two dogs and a cat barreling down the highway, you ask? Well, Louisiana thought some severe thunderstorms would add a bit of excitement to the mix. And when I say severe, I mean SEVERE. This was white-knuckle, drive with your hazards on weather we were going through, and it lasted not one or two hours. No. It went on like that for 9 hours. Lucky for us, Ollie’s first response when frightened is to fart, so we promptly pulled over and bought some air fresheners. Nevertheless, we were all permeated with a lovely scent of Fresh Spring and Death by Ollie by the time we pulled into Alabama for the night.
Day two on the road proved to be much more enjoyable as we drove through the Smokey Mountains with only a few rain showers here and there. On day three, 1500 miles and 10 states later, we pulled up to our new home. Aside from the cat occasionally getting lost in the house, the animals have adapted quite well to their new digs. Brittany and I, however, are having a more difficult time assimilating.
We were spoiled with ‘Southern Charm’ while down in Houston, and now everyone here in Philadelphia seems down-right rude. No one smiles at you as you pass, or stops to ask how you’re doing, or goes out of their way to help you. This shouldn’t surprise us, considering we are from the North, but I find myself taken aback with the brashness of our new neighbors especially since we all live in such close proximity. For a hot second Philadelphia was the capitol of the good ole’ U S of A, and is part of the original 13 colonies, which means this town is old and was not built for the crushing amount of people who now inhibit the city. All of the houses are row houses, meaning they are all attached on the sides leaving only the front and back exposed. The streets were built for horses and carriages, which means they are narrow. The other day I was driving down a 2 way street and the entire time ALL 4 TIRES were simultaneously grinding against the curbs on either side of the car! If you are driving down a street in our neighborhood and a car comes from the opposite direction, it turns into a game of Chicken ultimately ending with the unlucky one reversing back to the intersection he came from where it is wide enough for the two cars to pass one another. To make matters worse, it is EXTREMELY hilly here. So, you are driving up and down narrow, NARROW, streets possibly driving backwards, on hills with grades reaching 17% (SUPER STEEP!) – and in the winter we get to do all of that on snow and ice! With such narrow streets and little space, parking is a NIGHTMARE! The other day we drove around for 45 minutes looking for a parking spot within walking distance of our house. So now whenever we park on our street we don’t go anywhere for fear of loosing our spot.To top it all off, aside from the city sanctioned parks, every square inch of this place has been paved or cobbled over. We have to walk 4 blocks to find a small patch of grass! Perhaps all of that is root of everyone’s gloomy disposition. In Texas, the heat and bugs felt oppressive to me, but here the architecture and geography are crushing.
I’m sure by the time we get “the call” to move on to our next location we’ll be torn about saying goodbye to Philly, but for now we’re in the everything’s-frustrating-because-nothing-is-familiar-and-we-don’t-know-anyone phase of being in a new place. Sigh. City Hall is nice to look at though, eh?