In grad school, and especially given our specific exam schedule of one exam per week (and typically early in the week), weekends pretty much don’t exist. At least the normal people kind of weekends. My “weekends” have classically been a random night in the middle of the week of either pure grandma-dom relaxing at home or our entire class taking over some bar because no one else is typically “turning up” on a Tuesday at 11 pm. This weekend, though, I actually was able to feel like a little bit of my old self and spent so much time outdoors, cooking, eating, and exploring my sometimes still new to me city – almost like I wasn’t a full time dental student. We do still in fact have an exam this week, but it’s not until Wednesday and it’s over a light six lectures of Dental Materials (yaaaawn). A lot of my classmates went home or traveled to see friends because it’s been a long season of back to back exams that have demanded our full weekend attention. That being said, several of my close friends weren’t here, so I decided to have a couple of days of full-on introvert adventuring, soaking up the newfound deliciousness of spring at every turn. THIS is what I imagined it would be like to be a grad student in one of the most underrated cities in the country. It was rare, refreshing, and oh so needed.
<real food+reading+sunshine+spotify playlists+abundant atisanal coffee+ample worship time = happy Jessie heart>
I discovered or RE-discovered a couple of things over the past two days about myself and my new home.
I am more thankful than ever for my perfect bike (Roxie’s her name) now that the weather makes it conducive for consistent riding again. No need to shell out random amounts of cash for SEPTA tokens when I can get to my favorite coffee shop on 3rd street in about the same time. She took me all over and back again through University, Center, and Old Cities two days in a row. I feel like I actually see more of the city and its people on bike as opposed to when I’m walking, probably with my headphones in or scrolling Insta at the same time. I want to truly see and know the corners of this place that I’ll call home for the next three-ish years. I don’t want to miss any hole in the wall restaurant or not make eye contact with the hotel doormen. I find myself looking up and noticing architecture more or remembering names of places I’ve seen on Yelp but have yet to try. While I at no point officially “went to workout” this weekend, I definitely got my miles in and especially while toting an all too heavy backpack, my body was pooped both days I got home. I also realized again just how small geographically Philly is compared to other major cities, and even going “all the way across town” is only about three or four miles. Am I an urban chic city cyclist yet? Denim jacket, Birkenstocks, fuchsia lipstick and I’d say so. I’m really not trying to pull off some new style, but I’ve found that since living here, it’s definitely changed. My wardrobe is a seemingly majority of greys/blacks/denim, and I’ve become more of a minimalist (and I’m not just talking about the daily scrubs). Gone are the days of college T shirts and Chacos every day (but summer’s coming…).
While running out to grab some dinner to go is too convenient (and all too common for me lately) it will never, ever beat the luxury of preparing and enjoying a balanced and colorful meal made mostly from that morning’s farmer’s market finds (organic arugula, Yukon golds, and a new rosemary plant for the window to name a few). My instagram caption mentioned something about getting good at dating myself as a joke, but seriously speaking, I think it’s so valuable to know how to take care of yourself and treat yourself to a nice meal at home alone (maybe or maybe not accompanied by the glorious new Lumineers album playing in the background). I’m not at all asking for sympathy for my singleness, I’m simply saying I think I do a pretty good job of not letting the fact that I’m single be an excuse to not take the time to cook a nice meal, light a candle, and enjoy a glass of wine (or two or three) even if I’m not sharing that with someone else at the table. I know the things that help relax and recharge me, and that kind of beautiful meal with time and space to think to myself is certainly up there on the list.
As much as I convinced myself before moving here that I enjoyed cold weather (I still do I promise!), I never realized how much I equally love SUN and VITAMIN D. The thought of being inside my bedroom at my desk studying dental materials of all things while it was 50s-70s all weekend was horrendous. There’s a reason I grabbed Roxie and just GOT OUT – not caring how far any destination was because the further away, the more time to simply be outside after a winter of cooped up anatomy and pathology studying. I also made a pit stop on my way home today to sit out on a patch of green by the river near Boathouse Row that was highly populated with equally sun-deprived Philadelphians. It almost reminded me in the tiniest way of a stretch of Zilker park in Austin (miss that city) with blankets laid out, ample readers, and several soccer balls being kicked about by kids.
While Monday clinic and lab are coming soon at 8 am, I am entering this week re-centered and rested. I still managed to squeeze in some studying, but taking the time to get outside of school and my apartment and spend lots of time just being observant of the bustling little corner of the world I’m in now did me good. I love where I live, what I get to do, and I’m joyfully thankful for this season – in all its crazy hard and beautiful glory.
Until next time, I’m counting down to SUMMER (update on that coming soon!), battling one. more. exam at a time, remembering to strength train and run more, becoming a sort of dentist by mastering composite restorations, and frequenting Philly beer gardens in all that spare time…
May we never lose our wonder, y’all.