Welcome to Philly!

Where in Philadelphia is this 12th floor 5 star restaurant? Why, that is none other than my new apartment at Rittenhouse Square!

Dinner on the 12th floor

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010 (election day) I packed my meager belongings in Marengo, Iowa (pop. 2,500) and moved to Philadelphia, Pa. (pop. way more than Marengo). My girlfriend Lisa Ohkawa is going to school at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. She is getting her MBA in finance and is way smarter than most everybody (excepting Bill Gates and Stephen Colbert).

We have been dating for 7 1/2 years after we met at the University of Iowa as undergrads. For the last 5 1/2 years, I was an editor at Marengo Publishing Corp., a division of the Des Moines Register. For the last 4 years, Lisa has been an economist with the Bank of Japan in Tokyo. We saw each other twice a year and defined “long distance relationship.”

Well, that is now over. Last Tuesday my mom packed me a bag of homemade cookies and I made the move to Philly.

Mom and Dad and Elissa and Chad were extremely helpful in moving out of Marengo. It was neat to see all my possessions slowly erode into three small-ish piles (depends on your definition of “small”). Dad is kind enough to put the largest pile in a storage garage until he finishes his basement project, and we mailed the medium sized pile through the post office. Those four boxes should get here Monday. Other than that, I brought one suitcase, one backpack and my laptop. Including the price of a one-way airplane ticket, all told the cost of moving was under $300.

I spent my first night in town recovering from the trip. I spent my second day adjusting. In the morning I returned all the e-mails I have ignored for the last week, and spent the afternoon washing dishes and making the bed (earning my keep).

I went for a brief excursion of the neighborhood. There is a nice park in Rittenhouse Square where everybody goes to walk their dogs. I was going to take a picture, but I was worried about looking like a tourist. Surrounding the park are some fancy restaurants and high rise apartment buildings. On the east side of the square is the shopping district. For anybody who likes shopping, this is the place to be. The only store that interested me was the North Face shop, but there was also Burberry, H&M, and many other big named stores I can’t remember off the top of my head. I went one block north and there were some interesting local restaurants and bars I would like to check out sometime.
To the south of our place is a nice residential area with historic brownstone homes and neat little shops. I found a grocery store that is surprisingly inexpensive. It is mostly organic, but still has everything we need. For less than $30, I bought the necessary ingredients and made shrimp scampi last night (See the above picture for evidence of the scampi).
It is raining outside today, so my plan is to spend the afternoon making contact with some prospective employers. I had two interviews earlier this fall with newspapers owned by Gannett. I am going to contact them again just to let them know I am here. My mentor at the Des Moines Register (Kathie Obradovich, their political columnist) has an acquaintance out here who knows of some openings. So right now it is all about expanding my network, which just so happens to be the main lesson Lisa is learning at business school.
Friday night we are going to Atlantic City with some of Lisa’s classmates. I am not much of a gambler, so hopefully I don’t lose my savings. But who knows, maybe I can double it and put off the job search for a little while.

I will keep you posted!

5 responses to “Welcome to Philly!”

  1. Good luck on the job search, Nick! I moved across the country so my partner could go to business school as well. Must be some sort of trend for journalists to do this.. 🙂 – Lisa

  2. Sounds like you are comfortable already! We are super excited to hear more….let me know if you need recipes. (I know this guy who has a lot of them.) It seems as though you are becoming quite domestic! Good luck finding a job!

  3. Crazy coincidence – I’m reading a biography of John Adams right now where he’s moving to Philadelphia for the first time. According to John the streets are named after trees so it’s hard to get lost, even at night under torchlight. The port of Philadelphia is the largest in the country, where one can obtain spices from the West Indies. You may want to check that out. Also, there’s a church belltower somewhere you can climb if you want to get above the humid city funk; the air is cool and clear up there. The arguing between patriots and loyalists is starting to spill out into the streets but if you show gentlemanly respect it shall be returned to you. They’ve had several smallpox epidemics, so watch out for that I guess.

    PS Cheese steak tomorrow.

  4. Congrats on you and Lisa keeping it together, I know from personal experience the long-distance thing isn’t easy but you guys made it in style. Looking forward to further updates on your adventures out east!

  5. Sounds like you are in the same boat as me! Living in a lawyer building in downtown chi and trying to earn my keep! Hope you find something awesome soon!

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