Monday, August 24, 2009

Eastern State Penitentiary

As I mentioned below, while my best friend was visiting we headed to Eastern State Penitentiary. It was amazing! It was probably one of the highlights of the long weekend. If you're ever in the area you should definitely check it out.

We took an audio self guided tour throughout the penitentiary. They also have tour guides that give specific tours about various topics throughout the day. The penitentiary was operational from 1829 until 1971. It was the first penitentiary to use the system of solitary confinement. The cells were set up in a way, so that the prisoners entered from the outside and never had contact with other prisoners. It was very interesting and haunting to imagine how the prisoners lived. Al Capone was imprisoned here at some point and was actually given special privileges. There is a picture below of his cell, which was immaculately decorated with items that he wanted there. Prisoners didn't usually get this type of special treatment.

The other fun fact about Eastern State is each fall they set up a haunted house inside the walls of the penitentiary. I love scary movies and haunted houses, but I get scared pretty easily. I guess that's part of the fun! I hear that people come from miles and miles away to visit the haunted house. It actually starts next month so that'll be on my to-do list for September or October.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

1st day of School

Well we survived! Yesterday was a pretty momentous day for J and I. We both had our first day of school. I headed to med school and J headed to teach middle schoolers. I'm not sure which one is considered worse because I don't think I could handle being a middle school teacher.

We definitely jumped right into things and I'm actually at the library right now, but thought I'd take a short study break. We had about 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab. We didn't do any dissections in lab, but we prepared the cadaver. Most people said they were nervous about that part, but once we got into the lab and started talking about anatomy it wasn't bad at all. I guess you kind of detach yourself and focus on the task of anatomical learning. So for the rest of the trimester I'll be spending hours upon hours in lab dissecting and learning basically every bone, muscle and nerve in the body. Sounds fun, huh? Oh yeah and that's just until November....I can't believe I'll know all of that by then.

J had good reports about his school day. He didn't actually meet the students he'll be teaching because yesterday was just a day for new students (5th grade students) and he'll be teaching 7th and 8th grade. He mentioned to me that he couldn't handle teaching the little ones and much prefers the older students, but still had a good day.

Since yesterday was such a big day for both of us, we decided to celebrate by going out to dinner. We couldn't help ourselves and had to return to Devon Seafood, which we discovered on our first night in Philly. Although we are trying not to eat at the same place twice, we just couldn't help it and the food was just as great as we remembered. J and I talked about our days and our goals for ourselves over the next 10 or so years. It was a good night. Then, we returned home and both retreated to our laptops to study/do work for 2 more hours. Welcome to our new life! :)

So that's a little mini update. I better get back to the books before my next class in 45 minutes.

I'll post pictures from the rest of our summer next time. How time flies!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our first visitor!

So my best friend came to visit a couple of weeks ago. Yeah I'm a little behind on the blogging! :) We always have a great time together and share a love for travel. We've known each other for 11 years now and have been to New Orleans, DC, NYC, Germany, Amsterdam and Brussels together. Although we went to separate colleges, all of these trips were during college. Since graduating and "real life" getting in the way we haven't been able to dedicate as much time to our love of travel together. We were roommates for a year before J and I got married so we did get to live a little on the wild side then.

She was only here for 3 nights, but we got a lot done in a short amount of time. It was fun playing tourist in my own city. We visited the following places:

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Eastern State Penitentary
City Food Tour
Love Park
Rittenhouse Square
Bleu Martini for drinks and dancing

J let us have our girl time and didn't join us on the city seeing, but he came out to dinner with us each night. We ate a brewery in Old City called Triump. I didn't find a beer that I like (I'm not a huge beer fan), but I had a great martini.

Below are just some random pictures from the time that she was here. I'm going to have a couple of separate posts about the specifics of a few of the places we visited. Until then, here's a sneak preview.

Art Museum

Eastern State Penitentary

Rittenhouse Square

City Hall

Rittenhouse Square tango dancing

Love Park

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Philadelphia Phillies!

We went to a Phillies game and had a great time! For those that don't know, they were the 2008 World Series champs, so they seem to have a huge following around here. I hadn't been to a baseball game since I lived in Baltimore a few years ago and glad we were able to find tickets online.

Highlights - They won 10-1! Jack Nicholson was in attendance at the game (see picture of him on the jumbotron below)

Lowlights - We went to happy hour before the game. It was our first negative Philly experience. I don't even remember the name of the place, as I've just blocked it out of my mind. First, they didn't have cranberry juice to make me a Cosmo. The bartender couldn't think of another drink to make me, so I settled for a glass of wine. Then, they advertise with a sign by the bar that they give out free subway tokens if you're going to a Phillies game on game day. Nope, they didn't have any tokens and haven't for awhile according to the owner. Well then why don't you take your sign down?? Lastly, the men's bathroom was out of order so J had to go to the adjacent hotel to use the restroom. Needless to say we wont' be going back there.

Ok back to the game - It was sold out and we had a great time. The fans weren't too rowdy, but there weren't many Cubs' fans near us, so I'm sure that helped. I've heard horror stores about Philadelphia Eagles fans. I indulged in some typical baseball food and had a pretzel.

I'm not sure if we'll make it to anymore baseball games this season, but we plan to try and find some Eagles and 76ers tickets during the winter/fall.