I’ve returned to Bryn Mawr after a sweet and re-energizing Spring Break! Another break spent at home in lovable, historical, complicated West Philly.
In an endearing way, this one was pretty reminiscent of my posts leading up to and following fall break this past October. My mama made me leche flan (an ode to my post celebrating Filipino food and heritage!) and warmed my heart. I inhabited so much space at coffeeshops; I realized that as a learner I work best at the self-curated pace that breaks allow (but also prayed that I wouldn’t lose fuel, another element of my bond with breaks that I learned the hard way).
I explored holes in the wall that I normally wouldn’t have the chance of visiting, much to my Philly native annoyance. But there’s something nice about loving and learning a city you bloomed in in new and unexpected ways, about a place not losing its magic. (Sometimes my heart feels weird that I hold all of my histories here; I can’t imagine living anywhere else, but admittedly there are times I regret having chosen to live near home for college, where all of my sour growing pains can melt together so easily just by inhabiting one bittersweet place. There’s a richness to Philly’s urban charm, though—I’ll probably never get used to learning that there’s so much I haven’t yet learned.)
On the Thursday near the end of break I paid a visit to ReAnimator Coffee for fuel in the form of coffee and a cozy place to work. Their West Philadelphia coffeeshop is one of many locations in the city (and their newest!) but was recommended to me by a new friend for its nearness to home. Afterwards, I really loved exploring the fairly unfamiliar area where the weather was warm and local pizza places aplenty, wearing my well-loved Star Wars themed shirt and listening to Kevin Abstract.
On Friday, I went bowling with old pals at Lucky Strike in the heart of the city. For some reason I had never known it existed despite having passed it all the time to browse the art store next door. Though pretty expensive, the place houses pool tables, a bar, and an array of other games to choose from for warm, hosted parties. We spent two games warming up and re-learning how to bowl before heading over to Hiro Ramen House, a cute hole in the wall that’s pretty easy to miss. I had been there once before, and employed that knowledge to lead us there for a moment out of the cold.
ReAnimator may have been on my imaginary list of holes in the wall to visit when I have the chance (and I’m really happy to have crossed it off!), but one of my recent dreams is to return to one of my favorite places from high school! Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse opened in my junior year; it was a dream to see a comic book & coffee shop opened in my city by a black woman. The owner, Ariell Johnson, meant for it to be a haven for people of color who love comics, and the colorful and welcoming space holds works made by artists from marginalized communities. The comic-coffee amalgamation, and Ariell herself, embodied (and still does) all of my dreams.
For the last few months of Spring semester, I’m hoping to remain focused and channel this newly-made energy into ending it full of color. My return to the Philippines in May requires that I tie up my finals and move out of my Erdman home earlier than expected, so I’m remaining hopeful & keeping organized for warm, sweet, summer plans!