Friday, April 27, 2007

My First Phili Adventure

So, Michael and I are in Philadelphia. We have some good stories of the trip already, and we've only been here since Thursday morning.

We took a Redeye from Portland and arrived here at about 11 AM. We took the train from downtown Phili to the Seminary, where we are staying for the weekend. Public transportation is great, but it was expensive! For taking a short train ride, and having to switch once during the trip, we had to pay $20!! Crazy!

So, after we arrived to the University, we spent some time with an admissions director, ate some lunch, and then Michael and I split up. He went to attend one of the MBA classes, and I went on an adventure to get my fingerprints taken for my teaching license. (For my PA certificate I have to get a whole bunch of background checks, FBI Clearance, child abuse history clearance, and I had to get fingerprinted while I was here).

I had found the directions online, from the train station to the building. So, I set off. I was running a little late, so I found myself jogging to the station. I ended up on the wrong side, and had to run up and around, over a bridge, and back down, to get directly across to the correct side of the tracks.

I had no problem figuring out where I needed to get off the train. The directions seemed simple: Get off the train, walk up the road, cross road x, turn on road y, etc.

Well, as I started “walking up the road,” I realized none of the roads were the correct ones. I started walking by a college campus, (there are over 80 colleges in the area!!) and saw a woman in her 60s or so walking off campus. I asked her where Lancaster Avenue was located, and she told me I was on the opposite side of town. (We figured out that the terrible directions were written without knowing that there was only direction off the train, and thus I should have gone in the opposite direction off the train).

The woman offered to drive me to the building. So, I hopped in her car and we headed across town. We finally found the correct road (I NEVER would have found it by myself, and I needed to be there within the hour. Those directions were terrible!) and started looking for the address number. I saw the number, and decided to just jump out of her car. I thanked the woman for her kindness, hopped out, waited for the crazy traffic, and crossed the street. Apparently, without realizing it, the name of the road had changed, and I was at 950 Country Line instead of 950 Halverford.

So, I started walking again. I figured that if I just walked up the road it would turn into Halverford. After ten minutes I saw a mailman and asked him, and he sent me back the OTHER direction.

Eventually, the road changed and I was able to find the building I needed. I probably ended up walking for a total of 30 minutes. Not too bad, though I had thought it would be a 10-minute or less walk from the station.

At the fingerprinting place, I realized that I had forgotten my confirmation registration information. The short, spunky African-American woman told me no problem. I told her I was here from Oregon. She looked at me, confused, “Oregon, you mean like the state of Oregon? Girl, you came all the way over here for this?” She was hilarious. She told me if we hurried, no one would come check on us, and we were finished in less than ten minutes, though she kept looking over her shoulder to make sure no one was going to come in and “bust her” for letting me fingerprint without the right paperwork. (She did find me in the system, so I’m sure it was fine.)

As I was leaving I asked the woman at the front desk how to get back to the train station. There are two different lines that run through the area, the 100 and the R. I told her I needed the R-line, and she sent me down the street. After at least 20 minutes, I found the station, only to realize that it was the 100 after all.

By this time I was getting pretty tired of walking. Fortunately it wasn’t raining (yet) and I was really enjoying the walk: the trees and all the old brick and stone buildings around here are awesome!

I kept walking down the line. I figured that since I had clarified with the receptionist that I needed the R line, that maybe it was just a bit further down the way. I also knew by now I was no where close to the station that I had gotten off at, and guessed that this must be the next one up. After some more time of walking I decided to ask for directions. I walked into a medical building and spoke with the receptionist. She said, “you’re walking?” Yup! Well, she gave me the directions, and sure enough it was to the next station up. It was a long walk past a couple more colleges (on College Street). But this was the most beautiful part of the whole walk. I finally made it to the train station, and realized the round trip ticket I had bought was a waste. Since I had walked all the way to the next station, I was in the same “zone” as my destination, and therefore didn’t need a ticket. Oh well.

It was a great day for a walk. I arrived back at the Seminary more than two hours after I had left. I spent less than 20 minutes on the train, 10 minutes fingerprinting, and the rest of the time walking. Not terrible, though I realized how out of shape I am!

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