A Stranger in a Strange Land

Philadelphia author

I’m writing this from a Starbucks near my new Philadelphia apartment. I don’t know a single person in this historical city. But it still feels…exciting. And terrifying. And hopeful and lonely and invigorating. It feels like taking a bite of something you’ve never tasted. And the east coast? It’s definitely something I’ve never tried. And it. is. different. I mean, it’s fifty-five degrees outside right now. Fifty-five, people! It’s May for crying out loud! That’s chilly in Texas, yo.

My husband, daughter, and I sold our house and packed our bags to move to the east coast for a number of reasons, but adventure probably topped the list. I told my mom it was only a three and a half hour flight back to Texas. So short! I told my friends I’d text all the time. You won’t even know I’m gone! But I told my aunt, in an unguarded moment, the truth–

“I’m scared,” I whispered quickly as my mom’s back was turned.

“Of course you are,” she said with a firm head nod. “But you’ll love it.”

The road trip was long, and fun. We stopped in Little Rock, AK, Memphis, TN, Nashville, TN, and Roanoke, VA, and visited every tourist trap created along the way. It was epic, and now we’ve arrived. Three days in, I’m still a mix of emotions. I’ll have a wonderful moment of exploring an indie bookstore while noshing on fresh-baked cookies on Main street, and I’ll feel utterly alive. But then a wrong turn will have me wondering how much houses are going for in Lakewood (a Dallas neighborhood) these days.

Everyone here is incredibly nice, and it’s so much more diverse. People of every color, religion, and gender mix peacefully here, smiling at one another and holding open doors. I don’t think I realized how segregated my previous neighborhood was until I landed in Philadelphia, and I didn’t realize how much I craved to be around people of different backgrounds until I had it.

I have an invitation to a happy hour in a few hours, but I’ve got writing to do first. I’m playing with an idea I got somewhere in Virginia on my cross-country journey. Greenery like I’d never seen before inspired me, and Philadelphia is adding another layer of…something. I can’t put my finger on what it is yet. All I know is Dallas meant comfort. And Philadelphia? Well, right now it’s a blank page. The same blank page I’ll face after I post this.

I can’t help but smile at the possibilities.