For me, today began late, but it still seemed like a very long day. Brian and I woke at 10:00 this morning with the intention of going to Center City as soon as possible. However, we would later learn that we could not leave campus until 2:00. This did not matter much because we took a while to actually get moving. Shortly after waking up, Brian went to the gym. I hung out in the room for a while and then cleaned up so I could go grab some breakfast. I decided to go to Au Bon Pain for breakfast, since the commons are not open on Saturdays. I grabbed bagels for Brian and I, then headed back to the dorm. Upon Brian’s return, we ate breakfast and then got ready to head to Center City with Fred, Alison, and Onur. This was when we headed to the office and found out we couldn’t leave until 2:00. Since that was only an hour away, we couldn’t do much. First we went to get sandwiches for lunch. We ate outside in on a lawn near the quad. After lunch, we decided to say goodbye to Chandler, one of the RC’s in the lower quad. He will be leaving Penn to return to Indiana tomorrow. We played Frisbee with Chandler a lot and he took pictures of our group a few times, such as on top of the Rockefeller Center. He was a cool guy to chat with and we will miss him.
When we were finally allowed to leave, we signed out and headed into the bowels of the Philadelphia trolley system. The trains were packed today, which is to be expected since it was Saturday and everybody wants to get off of campus. Once we got off the trolley, we headed to Love Square immediately so we could get to the souvenir shop long before they closed. This idea was executed in vain though because the shop was in fact closed. We arrived to a sign on the door that read “Store Closed Due to Excessive Heat.” That is too ridiculous to lie about… We were still able to enjoy the square despite the shop being closed because we waded in the fountain for a while, which was quite refreshing. The rest of our time in Center City was just spent walking around the city and visiting a few of the malls. I bought a nice watch, Fred and Alison got hats, and Onur got a poster. I also bought some swim trunks for tomorrow’s trip to Ocean City, New Jersey. We had yet another great day in Philadelphia, despite the insane heat and humidity.
When we got back to Penn, we went to dinner at the Chinese restaurant next to the quad, Beijing. Alison and Fred had a lengthy discussion about the differences between Chinese and Korean table manners. For instance, in Korea it is rude to refill a cup or glass before you are finished with your drink. It is the opposite in China, where it is seen as insolent if one is to completely finish their drink. Unfortunately I would seem very rude dinner as per Chinese customs because I was making up for the lack of water I didn’t have earlier today by drinking glass after glass at dinner. I always enjoy talking about how our backgrounds are different and the discussions that follow. It really puts things into perspective about how things can be so different when people really are not that far away geographically.
After dinner, we joined in on a scavenger hunt that some of the Summer Discovery students organized. It wasn’t a scavenger hunt in the traditional sense where we had to find things, but actions that we had to perform. Our groups had to do things such as approaching random people and pretending like we had known them previously and asking someone that we did not know for a piggyback ride (we stuck to people in the quad for our actions). There was a long list of tasks and we didn’t finish within the two hour time frame, but it was certainly a fun way to spend two hours.
Tomorrow we travel to Ocean City for a fun day at the beach and boardwalk…with thunderstorms. This won’t put a damper on my spirit (pun intended) because I actually like the rain. I just hope that the storm doesn’t get too severe because we will probably have to leave early. Either way, tomorrow is bound to be fun and I am looking forward to my last Sunday with my friends.