Today, something brilliant happened. I ran into a friend at the library. Now before you get all excited, I should confess that this friend happens to be happily married, and she was there with her new baby so if you were hoping for another titillating “We went for a stroll along the river and then we…” I’m sorry to disappoint. (You’ll have to wait until the next time I see Date #9 for that.)
Anyway, running into a friend in Philadelphia marks a huge turning point for me, especially because it’s happened twice within the past three days. I should confess that I’m not terribly close to either of these friends; today’s was an old co-worker from The Shop and Saturday afternoon’s was a Turkish acquaintance from the New-to-Philadelphia-Social-Misfits-Support-Group that I joined a few months ago, but still: I’m making progress.
(The group’s real name, by the way, was slightly cooler and its members were actually a lot more fun than my little nickname would suggest but I have issues with authority. Whenever the Meet Up Coordinator whipped out his Official Meet Up Sign and tried to convince everyone to sit together at the designated Meet Up Table—as opposed to heading up to bar on the roof deck where the cute businessmen were hanging out— I lost interest. Sure, I wanted to get to know my fellow Meet Uppers, but I also wanted to get to know the cute men at the bar on the roof deck so I gave up— on the former, of course. Fortunately, I managed to make one friend before calling it quits.)
For those of you who don’t know me, my excitement over running into an acquaintance at the library might seem a bit misplaced. I’ve been on 14 first dates in the past month and a half—how bad can my social life be?
Well, the answer to this question is pretty bad.
Or at least it was, because since moving back from London last November, I’ve spent the majority of my time contriving to return to England. It’s been less than a year and already I’ve been back twice. Whenever I go shopping, I think “Well, I could buy that dress, but I could also put that $20 towards another flight to Heathrow.” (Note: this is probably why I end up borrowing my mother’s dresses for half of my Match.com dates but if she had wanted me to grow up to preferring clothes to countries, she should have raised me differently.)
For the longest time, I left my homepage set to the BBC so I could read the London weather forecast every morning. Sometimes I even dressed accordingly because I forgot that I was back in Philadelphia and no, it wasn’t actually going to rain. I rooted for England during the World Cup (which was especially treasonous this year, seeing as the American team actually had a chance for once). I kept my Café Nero loyalty card in my wallet and elected to type that superfluous letter “u” whenever possible. Can we say D-E-N-I-A-L?
But since I’m sitting in Café Fulya with my chai tea and my baklava and my Turkish Meet Up friend has just gone running past (he actually waved!), I think it’s safe to say that my experiment is working: I’m falling in love… with Philadelphia.
(And if I find myself developing similar feelings for any of the city’s male residents, I’ll be sure to stop congratulating myself on my “friend sightings” and let you know.)