April 27, 2014

An Afternoon in the City of Brotherly Love

While Camille and her parents were out at a party their friends threw for them, I stowed away for a few hours to explore the City of Brotherly Love.

My first stop? The Liberty Bell, of course! But first, Independence Hall:

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Now, the Liberty Bell!

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My first attempt at a Liberty Bell selfie failed miserably.
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Nailed it!
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I asked a stranger to help me,  just to be safe. :)

Now for a small tangent: 

The "scarf" I'm wearing in these photos is actually a peştemal I got in Istanbul last summer (remember that time I went to Istanbul and never posted about it? Whoops... I'll get around to it. Really!). My peştemal is my ver most favorite souvenir! It's a special towel used in the Turkish baths (hamams). I learned about them from Mara before I went on my trip, and I was determined to bring one back. I love it! Next time, I'm gonna get one in a darker color, so I can use it as a picnic/beach/park blanket without having to worry about it getting dirty!

Now for another tangent:

After I'd left the Liberty Bell, it occurred to me that... Although I'd taken a gazillion photos (mostly selfies? ha.), I hadn't actually taken time to just admire the bell, to really take it in. Y me da tanta pena! I can take selfies anywhere. I can google pictures of the bell, for crying out loud. But it's not every day I'm in Philadelphia to see it in person. Me da pena que no aproveche el tiempo que estuve allí... And it fits SO perfectly with Ashley's lesson in Relief Society today about things that distract us (in this case, like... social media, selfies, etc.) from what's most important (in this case, being PRESENT). I was so worried about having photos to show off later, I didn't take time to fully enjoy the bell in the moment.

After meandering this part of town for a bit, I wandered off to see some of the other nearby sites.

Like the Second National Bank (which had GORGEOUS columns! and a couple taking engagement photos in front. I kid you not, I saw at least FIVE couples taking wedding or engagement photos in the space of two hours within a just a few blocks.), a frame outline of Benjamin Franklin's former home, and the typical East Coast mix of gorgeous red bricks, cobblestones (which I just don't get, to be honest. it hurst to walk!), and greens and flowers!

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photo 5.JPG Philly in the spring Philly in the springPhilly!

After I took that last photo on the right, I explored the shops for a bit and ended up at a little souvenir shop, where I had the loveliest conversation with Tina, the owner! She thought I was in high school, maybe college, which just made me smile, and she gave me great safety tips for navigating the mean streets of Philly on my own. As we chatted, our conversation turned towards Easter and Church and the fact that I'm Mormon. She said she LOVED Mormons and that we were such nice people and such a nice religion! She asked me what the difference is between our Church and Christian churches.

I explained to her that we ARE Christians, as we believe Jesus Christ is our Savior and the Son of God. That He lived, died, and rose again on the third day.

I also told her about how Christ established a Church when He was here on the earth, and that He has always called prophets to guide His people -- including today. The concept of a prophet was new to her (at first, she thought I meant profit), and when I offered her a mormon.org card, she gave me her business card and told me to email her more info. Since she was Taiwanese, I also told her about my brother, how he's serving a Mandarin-speaking mission in England, and I told her I'd have him write to her also, since I know he'd love the chance to practice writing Mandarin. :) 

Tina was such a sweet lady, and I felt her spirit was special. I'm excited to keep in touch with her via email (we've already corresponded last week!) and to answer any other questions she might have about prophets, the Church, and most importantly, about Jesus Christ. :)

Philly! Philly!

And what trip to Philly would be complete without a visit to Love Park, City Hall, and at least one cheesesteak??

Philly in the spring Love and cheesesteaksLove and cheesesteaks
Love and cheesesteaks Love and cheesesteaks
Pat's king of steaks
peppersteak wit'out, american cheese, please!

I had such a great time exploring the City of Brotherly Love! It definitely made me want to learn more about the city's rich history and the significant and sacred events that happened here so long ago. It was also more fun than I expected to take a break and go touristing on my own. But I think next time, I'll take a friend. :)

Until next time, Philadelphia!

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