BLUSH! BLUSH! This winter coat must be slimming and younging- I thought and looked pleased.
"Teacher, but I don't teach here."
"It doesn't matter where...as long as you teach." beamed the kind shop assistant at the J.Crew store as I unzipped my wallet to prise out my credit card to pay for the navy blue wool scarf I'd decided to buy on sale.
My FIRST EVER teacher's discount! WOOHOO!
This happened in Philadelphia in December 2014 and just like that this gorgeous historic city became my:
'Ab Fab' - absolutely favourite US city:)
There are a few other reasons why I LOVED PHILLY, like:
a) I spent a lot of time with my sister- just like we used to before we both got married etc.
b) I bought two beautiful books here (Bird by Bird and Writing Down the Bones- thanks to Pauline's blog) which lie on my bedside table now and will probably never move from there.
c) A twenty year old asked me if I were a student (ignore the image of mature students...erase that image!)
d) We discovered a shop called Ten Thousand Villages, and
e) The streets are named after my favourite nuts- walnuts and chestnuts;)
What's not to like?
So here we go...a photo essay of our many many walks up and down Walnut and Chestnut streets.
One morning, after eating a hearty and a very reasonably priced but freshly prepared breakfast at Gene's Cafe on Walnut Street, my sister, niece and I wandered into Ten Thousand Villages- a wonderful shop filled with treasures from all over the world.
All my memories of trips seem to blossom from conversations I have with strangers who turn out to be kind and interesting and full of stories.
The lady who served us at this beautiful shop grew up in Rome, Italy. I don't know how but the conversation veered towards food- the eternal ice breaker.
She spoke about each item we had picked up with such love and care that it felt like she had crafted them herself.
I'm sure you've come across people who seem so perfectly matched to the jobs they do that their joy spills over. Watching her wrap our purchases while she enthused about the artisans made my day. The three of us couldn't stop talking about her all day.
If we do what we do with love, it shows and that positive energy (or whatever you might call it) touches people around us- moments as ordinary as these pitter patter their way like rain drops into the pool of my soul and whenever I am feeling frazzled, I just dip into this cool pool and a comforting Aah! sets me right.
It's wonderful to be human.
As usual, I picked up treasures for my garden....
A well travelled Snail (thanks Danielle;) - created in Bangladesh- sold in the USA and
currently living in Qatar:)
A birdhouse bought with the right intentions but it's too pretty to leave outside just yet. I take it out only when there are no sandstorms on the horizon.
Lately, Doha has been hosting a LOT of sandstorm parties- so sorry birdies...this pretty house is staying indoors for now!
Made in Cameroon
An etched gourd from Peru...
And of course, we had to pick up this Liberty Bell Christmas ornament...
Stepping out with all these goodies felt like we had been to a magical place where artists and artisans created beautiful pieces for ordinary people like me to take home and enjoy.
Almost four years ago, I made a conscious decision to seek out local artisans or artists if I were in the mood to buy 'stuff' on my travels. The stories that I get to hear and the people I get to meet because of this seeking turns these souvenirs into treasures- and the birds chirp their complaints when I get too silly and don't let them use their birdhouse- they just have to deal with it!
How can anything bought in a glitzy soulless store ever live up to this magic?
Try it sometime.
Here's the link to the Ten Thousand Villages...http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/
And finally, on the last day...
A long walk down Chestnut Street
without the kids
my sister and I
A three dimensional mural to trick the senses...
If you are planning to visit Philly, here's a comprehensive guide to the best restaurants.
We enjoyed honest and delicious food prepared and served by the Amish at Dutch Eating Place in the bustling Reading Terminal Market.
This place reminded me of the Borough Market in London on a Saturday morning- AWESOME!
This brings us to the end of the Philly tour folks-
I hope you enjoyed it:)
Here's a video a friend shared on her fb page recently- this might explain why a discount that saved me less that $3 meant so much...
Have an awesome April...xx