We received our Penn cards, keys, information, and a free T-shirt and then it was up to our dorms to un-pack. The first thing I noticed about my room was that it was air-conditioned (thank goodness). Once I knew that, nothing else mattered, it was good enough for me. Still, we have a pretty nice set up. The rooms are definitely large enough for two, there's plenty of storage space, and our windows overlook the beautiful quad area.
After we were all unpacked and settled in, the ILCers set out via SEPTA to the center of the city for lunch. We decided it was time to try a famous Philly Cheesesteak so we popped into the fist Cheesesteak shop we saw and, after waiting in a long line our tourists, sat down. While we waited we got to look over the counter and see the sandwiches being prepared. One got the feeling the guys who were making them had been doing it for a while, they had a system down. It was kind of amazing. With its nationwide reputation, I was expecting the Philly Cheesesteak to be at least a little but over-rated, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that they truly truly earn their fame. The bread was soft and fluffy, the cheese melted to perfection and the meat and onions were very flavorful. It was really very delicious. I look forward to eating more (of course we have to determine the best in the city for ourselves).
When we returned to campus, we said farewell to Mr. Miranda for the night and returned to our dorms. I met my roommate. She is quite remarkable. her name is Noor and she is from Indiana (specifically, "the cornfields," she says) but goes to boarding school in India. Her descriptions of the natural beauty there made me jealous. She also told me that there are monkeys everywhere that will steal your stuff and pull your hair if you're not careful. Our first conversation was probably one of the most interesting ones I've ever had. And she told me I was lucky to live in the Bay Area! I am so excited to hear more from her and get to know about her experiences as the month unfolds. I feel very lucky to have such a friendly and interesting roommate.
In reality, it's not luck at all. Almost every person I have met here has been extremely nice and interested in getting to know one another. The people me and my roommate sat with at dinner were from Manhattan, New York here for the creative non-fiction writing class. The two of them were friends who went to the same high school and they were a very entertaining duo. I met a New Zealander at orientation named Juao "like the sound a light-saber makes," he told me. It's a completely energizing environment to be in meeting so many people from all over the world who are all interested in learning all that they can both from the classes and from one another.
After orientation, we split up to have meetings with our individual floors. I met our floors RA, a gradeschool teacher from LA who is very sweet but will clearly stand for no shenanigans, We sat out on the grass with the fireflies and the fireworks, went over the rules, and got to know each other a little bit. There is a girl from Texas who plays French horn, a girl form Germany who wants to be a dentist, a girl who was born in Michigan but lives in Jordan and the list goes on! Getting to know these girls is going to be quite the experience.
After our meeting, we signed in with the office (as we will be doing every night), ate some milk and cookies and then it was off to bed to get a good nights sleep for tomorrow's classes. I couldn't be more excited. This is going to be incredible.