Today, I’m writing my love note to Philly.

Charkie sent me a text message reminding me (read: harassing me) about posting, and though I made a series of excuses, I’ve finally thought of a post I’ve been meaning to write for a few months now.

Philadelphia has made me markedly aware of a characteristic that I have always had but have never paid much attention to. I am one of those people who subconsciously smiles while I am walking down the street, even in a crowded city like Philly where I don’t know the people around me. Now, my immediate family members are all frowners, so they think my absentminded happiness is nothing short of idiocy at best and a sign of mental illness at worst, lol! I don’t have a great explanation for why I do this; all I can say in my defense is that I’m just really over the moon about life.

As an undergrad at Duke, I never really got called out on it. Every once in a while, I would run into a classmate on the quad who would say, “Your smile always makes me feel better about my day, sweetheart” or “Where have you been? I miss your radiant smile in my life.” But being an exuberantly happy person at Duke was not really out of the ordinary, I guess. Living in DC or New York, I don’t think a single person has ever noticed or made a comment about it. I guess those are both cities where strangers don’t engage each other on the street. But in the City of Brotherly Love, I don’t think there’s been a week where a complete stranger hasn’t made a comment about my smile.

Mostly, it has been passerby on the street. Not always in the leery, cat-calling kind of way, although that has happened. It’s also happened that homeless people have decided misguidedly that they might have a better shot at getting money from me than from the curmudgeon walking by. But sometimes it’s just a person on the street saying, “Excuse me, miss. You have a beautiful smile” as they walk by. On more than one occasion, someone has stopped their trek to wherever to ask me, “What is it that you’re so happy about?!”

I never know how to answer this question, but I love it when someone tells me that my smile makes their day a little bit better. I guess it’s just the idea that something I do completely subconsciously could make someone else happy, even for a split second. It tickles me pink. When I first moved to Philly, I have to say, I wasn’t much of a fan because of the cold and the crime. And I always wondered why so many people were writing love notes to Philly ( But today, I have a love note for the City of Brotherly Love.

Arkie, University of Pennsylvania

Years in Philly: 1

Current Home: University City/West Philly

Thanks for noticing my smile, Philadelphia! ❤

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5 thoughts on “Today, I’m writing my love note to Philly.

  1. So glad that you’re enjoying my hometown–I think newcomers give up on it all too quickly, but Philadelphians are unique! We’re outspoken, tough, passionate but we sure do have heart! Hope we keep making you smile. 🙂

  2. I stand by my so-called harassment if the world gets to see more of your writing because of it!

    Count me among your smile lovers!

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