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Dear Philadelphia, I love you.

Today I found out that my favorite late night drunk pizza place is reopening its doors after the shop was heavily damaged by a fire last summer. Lorenzo's Pizza is back! It makes me want to go to South Street tonight, drink too much PBR at the Tattooed Moms and then buy a $2.75 slice of cheese pizza the size of my head.

While telling a co-worker about this incredibly happy news, she laughed, shook her head and said "You were supposed to end up in Philly. You are always having a ball!"

I love it when people say that. Believe it or not, I get it a lot.

I've written posts about being that little girl in the backseat of the car staring up at the big skyline on I-95 while equally big dreams swim through my head. I always thought I'd end up in New York City or Chicago or even Miami. I never EVER thought I would end up in Philadelphia. I thought the actual city looked dirty and scary as a child.

But I ended up here and I love it. I've complained about my job, my school, my neighbors, my apartment, but never ever have I complained about this city. Sure it is dirty, people are rude, the homeless people on the street who harass me make me want to fight them, people can not drive for crap, and sweatpants are a fashion staple. But I love it.

People joke with me when I say I'm going to go where the job is. If I find a job outside of Philly, I'm going to take it. They laugh, shake their head and say "no, Mary Anna. You're going to end up staying in Philly. You'll live in South Philly and when you're ready to start a family you'll move to the Northeast. You'll join a PTA, your kids will go to karate and you won't leave the city."

I laugh and dismiss this but they could be right. With each year I spend as a Philadelphia resident, I feel more and more like I belong here. I feel like less of a transplant and more of a native. I embrace river concerts and just fishing off the Schuylkill banks river trail. I love watching Rocky on the Art Museum steps during the 4th of July week. I love the cheese steak competition. I appreciate the wonders of brunch. I love walking into my favorite bar and the staff knows me....even in a big bad city. I like the history and learning about it.

I still look up at the big skyline and I still have equally big dreams but I wouldn't be surprised if they are fulfilled in Philly.

Until next time...


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