Saturday January 28 also happened to be the Lunar New Year. Of course, this is a big deal to me because I am Chinese American. Right after Wintry Mix ended, I bolted back to my room to change and literally ran to the R100 train station with two Mawrter friends. Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation was hosting a lion dance parade around Chinatown. Chinese tradition calls for firecrackers to scare away bad spirits and lion dances in front of business store fronts to welcome good fortune. The streets were quite crowded, but my friends and I were down for some late night adventures.
We took the R100 to Chinatown because $3.30 for a one-way ride is a hard price to beat. Once we got there, we watched the parade for a little, then decided to get some late night snacks. First, we hit up our usual bubble tea spot, Tea Do. I got a Green Wizard (milk, green bean, grass jelly, tapioca). Next, we went to a skewer place. One of my friends hadn’t eaten dinner so she was pretty hungry. We shared some potato, lamb, eggplant, fish tofu, pork, and sweet buns skewers.
I do not usually stay out so late in Philly. I guess I can cross that off my bucket list now. My friends and I made sure to catch the last regional rail SEPTA from Jefferson though. We did not want to be stranded in Philly during that awkward 1:30AM-4AM gap. I am really thankful for attending a college that is not in a city, but close enough to one that I can go in often if I so choose. And yes, a Chinatown is a big advantage because I don’t know what I would do without the food of my people.
The alternative to catching trains and commuting back and forth is finding friends and alums that already live in the city to crash with. I have started to do that a little, yet I still find a thrill in navigating public transportation independence, walking purposefully, and exploring the unknown at odd hours of the day with my closest friends.