Philadelphia Skyline

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I fail at updating my blog...

Hello All,

I know it has been SO LONG since I have updated my blog! Many have commented on my lack of updates, and have blamed me for their failures in procrastination, so I have decided to do the honorable thing and give everybody something to read instead of their homework.

Life in Philly has been hectic. My internship at the DA started out as the most terrifying experience of my life. My supervisor decided the "baptism by fire" was the best approach to take for introducing me to the world of law, and immediately gave me tasks to do and watched me struggle to figure out how to do them. Finally, after a few of the longest weeks of my life, I began to feel comfortable in the workplace, and I had the confidence that I knew the ins and outs of the system. I am still learning on a daily basis (more than I can even begin to write about) but now I feel like a productive member of a team instead of a worthless intern.

My favorite part about the internship is the time I spend in court. During court I sit with my supervisor at the prosecution table (right in front of the judge!) and help her with the trial. I am involved in every part every process. I can't talk about a lot of the stuff that I do, but I have been finding it all exciting. It kind of shocked me how much responsibility I was given right off the bat, and how much my supervisor trusts me not to screw up!

Life outside of work has been pretty hectic as well as I try to keep up with my two classes, second internship, and part time job. In my free time I try to take advantage of the improving weather by walking down to the second hand bookstore or picnicking in the park with half of Philadelphia's residents. Last weekend my roommate and I walked down to the Italian Market, which is a local market filled with little Italian shops and fresh produce stands. It was a warm day and I bought a 75 cent mango which the produce man sliced open on the spot. I spent the rest of the day shopping while munching on a delicious, sweet mango. I bought fresh gorgonzola cheese from a little Italian deli where meat and cheese hung from the ceiling. Later in the week, my roommate and I used the sweet sage cream sauce we bought at the market to make a delicious Italian meal at home! On Friday night I went to the Electric Factory to watch Mat Kearney and Ingrid Michaelson perform. It was a complete blast, and I even got to dance in person with Mat Kearney during one of the songs!

This past weekend I bought a few bus tickets and traveled up to Boston where I checked out Northeastern University School of Law. I arrived at the hostel late at night and walked to the school in the morning. After sitting in on a criminal law class and taking a campus tour I hopped on a subway train to Cambridge and ate lunch next to Harvard. The next day I went down to downtown Boston and walked part of the freedom trail, weaving through the Boston Commons, passing Cheers, and finding the grave of Paul Revere. I visited Quincy Market and watched a street performer, then shopped for a bit before having lunch in the oldest tavern in America (The Bell in Hand). After my warm cup of Boston Chowda (yum!) I headed back to the bus station and returned to Philadelphia. Now I am working on homework (LAME!) and preparing for the upcoming week. Next week I am working the night shift with the Crime Scene Unit and visiting the chambers of a Federal Judge. Then on Friday I am taking a bus up to New York with a few of my roommates where I am staying in a hostel next to Central Park, going to a Broadway show, and exploring the gigantic city!

Well, I gotta go finish up homework and eat lunch. Talk to you all soon!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Before the snow...

It won't stop snowing...

Ok, I know it has been FOREVER since I have written. I really have no excuse, other than the fact that it has been snowing like crazy and nothing has really progressed in the past week. Apparently east coast cities don't know how to handle snow, which is kind of shocking. Everything has shut down, classes have been cancelled, and my internship has postponed my start date. So I have spent the last week sitting in my apartment watching people below slip and slid trying to cross the intersection. Two days ago, before another blizzard came through, I went grocery shopping, trekking through a mile of snow to reach Whole Foods. Unfortunately I still haven't learned how to limit my shopping to what I can carry home. So as I was ringing up my items it dawned on me that I had to carry all of my super heavy new purchases home with me. And the blizzard had started. So my roommate and I packed six reusable bags with all of our cans, jars, and boxes, and proceeded to trudge home. Every two blocks or so we would pause and take a break and readjust, brushing the snow off of each other. By the time we got home we were covered in snow and we felt as though we had just gotten out of the weight room. Our arms were dead! But now our cupboards are fully stocked in preparation for the next blizzard on Monday.
On the internship front, I have received offers from all three of the places that I interviewed (a private firm, the Defenders Association, and the District Attorney Homicide Unit). I officially accepted an offer from the District Attorney's Office and was supposed to start there yesterday but the office was closed due to snow so I will be starting next week (Wednesday) instead. My supervisor, who is an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) just started a new trial so I will be jumping into the middle of all the action as soon as I start work. Unfortunately this means that I had to buy a pantsuit for court which was one of the most horrible shopping trips I have ever been on! But I know it will all be worth it in the end when I am sitting in court with the lead prosecutor on a murder trial.

Well, it's a short blog this time. Life has been slow, snow hasn't let up. Hope everyone on the west coast is enjoying life!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Apartment Pictures

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Busy Week

Whew. I am currently sitting here in my apartment soaking up the sun, listening to Jay Z (what did Botswana do to me?), and contemplating how I am going to juggle two internships, two classes, and a part time job. Yesterday I interviewed at the District Attorney's Office and I think it went well! I have a phone interview today with an Assistant District Attorney in the Homicide Department which I am a little nervous about. And on Thursday I have an interview with the Chief of the Defenders Association (The Big Cheese as my advisor calls him). Hopefully all goes well!

On the photography front, life couldn't be going better. My advisor has invited me over to work on a project or attend a photo shoot everyday since my first interview with her! Last night I walked over to her studio and watched her complete a shoot that involved three ballet dancers. When we met the dancers Deb introduced me as her 'intern extraordinaire'! She taught me all about lighting and as soon as she started the shoot she had me up and about changing lighting as she directed. She would also show me the photos she was capturing and would tell me about the technical information needed to get the shot. I felt like I was a big help but was learning so much at the same time, which, in my opinion, is my idea of what an internship is supposed to be. I am returning today to help her with some team photo distribution and tomorrow for another photo shoot. We have been getting along wonderfully, editing photos while drinking tea in her house. It is totally laid back which is going to be a great contrast to my law internship. It's the best of both worlds!

Then I have my classes! One day a week I have two seminar classes (3 hours each), one titled Power and Authority and the other titled Social Justice. I have a paper due for each class every week as well as a significant amount of reading. The teachers have set up the classes to be like grad school classes, designed to give us an idea of what it would be like to be attending grad school while working full time.

Speaking of working, I took a part time job working at The Philadelphia Center. I work one or two nights a week, and the work is pretty low key. My first shift is tonight so I will let you know how it goes (but I don't think it will be all that exciting).

Philadelphia is an amazing city. The whole downtown grid is walkable, and all of the neighborhoods are right next to each other so I can be in Chinatown one minute and Olde City the next. My friends and I, due to our busy schedules and in an effort to save money, have been spending most nights at home, but we still have fun! We have been making group dinners, hosting class in our apartment, and having Glee marathons with other students in our building. But this weekend we are throwing all caution to the wind... we might go see a play.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I just returned from the best dinner of my life. But let me start at the beginning...

Around 11:30 today I left my apartment to have an interview with Deborah Boardman, the leading Performing Arts photographer in Philadelphia. Her studio was only a few houses away and I arrived early, only to meet her coming around the corner. We went inside and began chatting about photography. I showed her a few of my photos, which she liked and surprisingly she wasn't at all concerned about my lack of technical experience. She was also very accommodating to the fact that I would be working a full time internship in a law office, telling me we could work out a few odd times to meet together for shoots or editing. We hung up a few of her prints in her office while she talked to me about Philly, people, art, and food. It turns out her husband is my landlord (yes, he OWNS my apartment building). They also own a hotel a few blocks away which houses a fancy restaurant. She told me I should stop by for the last day of Restaurant Week, which is a city wide event where expensive, high class restaurants serve three course meals (usually valued at $60) for $35. Her restaurant was taking part, but they were serving 5 courses instead of 3, and all of the courses were full portions! After talking for over an hour we parted ways and I returned to the apartment to tell all my friends about my new friend.

After telling all of my roommates about her restaurant, and the delicious food served there, we decided to spontaneously give it a try! We called ahead to schedule a reservation and Deborah called back a few minutes later telling me how excited she was to see us! So we dressed up in fancy clothes and marched 5 blocks in the snow, arriving at an adorable brick bed and breakfast. We entered the restaurant and Deborah immediately started chatting us up, leading us to a great table in the back and telling us the menu in detail. Then we perused the menu and chose our five courses. For the first course my friends got bruschetta (each person ordering a different kind) and I got calamari. Deborah kept popping in to see how we were doing, occasionally sitting down and chatting with us about Restaurant Week, her work, and her properties around Philly. The second course was a wonderful arugula salad with sweet beets and chopped almonds. The third course was pasta, and we all ordered different ones and then shared so we could try them all. There were three types of noodles with two types of sauces. The pesto was killer! Around this time Deborah came back to our table and showed us a full page list of the best restaurants around Center City which she had handwritten for us. She went through it line by line and explained all the best places, telling us why she loved them, what price range they were, and what the owners were like. She realized that none of us had ordered the homemade empanadas for our starter so she brought out a special plate of them for us to try. By this time we were starting to feel the food! Then the fourth, and main, course arrived. I ordered homemade vegetable raviolis that were covered in a cream basil sauce while two others at the table got salmon with asparagus. I cannot emphasize this enough... the raviolis were the most heavenly dish I have ever eaten in my entire life. I actually closed my eyes, sat back in my chair, and just savored the moment. The salmon was also fantastic, probably the best I have ever had, but nothing will ever come close to that vegetable ravioli. Our fifth and final course was dessert. Mine was chocolate ice cream rolled in powdered chocolate and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Two of the other girls got tarts (lemon, apple, hazelnut, peanut butter). We finished off the night with cups of peppermint tea to cleanse our palates and to warm us up for the ride home.

On our way out we said goodbye to Deborah who told us to come back soon. When we were leaving we gazed out the window, across the courtyard to the bed and breakfast, and we gasped at how beautiful it was. So Deborah took us on a tour! She led us across the courtyard and in the back door of the hotel. It was a gorgeous, historic, building with a big banister leading up the front staircase, built in bookcases, and HUGE fireplaces in every room. There were also old portraits hanging in all of the rooms which were painted as jokes by a friend of Deborah. They look exactly like Deborah's husband (our landlord) and his business partner! After our tour Deborah led us out the side gate and said goodnight. I can't wait to get to know her better over photography! If you want to look at the hotel, here is the website, it is beautiful!

And now we are back in our warm apartment, watching the snow fall outside, about to snuggle up to a movie. So for now, goodbye! And goodnight!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bomb Threat in the Gayborhood

Yesterday was quite interesting. My house mates and I went over to the apartment to prepare for the movers. We cleaned up a bit, pondered where our new furniture would go, and eagerly greeted them as they arrived. They were both quite adorable, very kind and considerate. After the furniture had been moved in we found ourselves having a conversation with the guys about life in Philly. All of the sudden we hear a woman running down the hall screaming "THERE'S A BOMB IN THE BUILDING!" We immediately raced to the front door to see what was the matter. She frantically explained that there was a bomb in the building and that we needed to evacuate immediately. Then the sirens in the building started going of and an automated woman told us to remain calm and to proceed to the nearest exit. So the movers, my room mates, and myself all rushed down the hall to the emergency exit and out the door. We stopped once across the street and watched the emergency vehicles pull up, continuing our conversation with the movers. After a while they took off and we were left to wait for the bomb squad to clear the building. Not wanting to wait out in the cold we decided to have lunch in the cafe across the street. As soon as we walked in we remembered what we had been told about our neighborhood. Some call it the gayborhood because it is heavily populated by gay and lesbian couples. The street signs all have rainbow stripes beneath them (officially designated by the city) and the sidewalks and restaurants are full of gay couples. The cafe across the street was no exception. The two men working behind the desk were clearly gay, there was a young gay man in a pink shirt in the back where we sat, another graying gay man reading a paper, and a young lesbian couple holding hands. When we left the cafe there were two gay couples introducing their partners to each other on the corner. We felt like the only straight people in the neighborhood! Almost like we were living in a gay world. It was pretty hilarious. It also makes us feel pretty safe, and we never ever get creepily hit on. I can't say the same for our guy friends though. One was told, while moving boxes across the crosswalk, that he had a nice package... both of them.

Today my roomies and I treked to Ikea to pick up some much needed furniture, linens, and household goods. We just finished constructing our treasures and the place is starting to feel like home. I moved my clothes into my closet, the bed is finally made, and tonight for the first time I will be sleeping in my Philadelphia apartment! Good night!!!