We'll be busy completing the final portion of the move from Philadelphia to Boston this weekend and into next week, so at best there'll be only very light blogging until then.

Obviously this second leg of the move is a good thing, since for the past 9 months I've been in Boston while 'Anita Job' has remained in Philly. Trying to span the "Megalopolis" we found out that the transportation infrastructure is woefully lacking in the Northeast--the "high-speed" Acela is damned slow [at least between NYC and Providence] and expensive, while flying is dirt cheap yet delays abound. But though things were rough, this final departure is certainly not easy. To a certain degree this is true with every move, but it seems especially poignant this time around: it's with a very heavy heart that we leave a place and people we've grown to love.

I don't think we would have expected to eventually say that when we first arrived in Philly from Portland Oregon. We thought we had landed in hell. Coming from a clean, green, virtually crime-free city surrounded by vineyards and framed by mountains on one side and desolate beaches on the other, it seemed like we had landed in a cauldron of segregated ghettos surrounded by oil refineries and decaying industrial facilities. A place where it's both expensive and inconvenient to buy wine yet people strangely cherish "BYO" restaurants. A place where one was graciously allowed to recycle and conserve energy, yet no one really did. Where people looked at you strange for saying you enjoy camping. Where the population seemed resigned to accept some rather intolerable conditions because now at least the city didn't bomb its own people anymore and we only had to carry "mugger-money" rather than being prepared to duck behind the nearest abandoned vehicle to avoid being caught in the crossfire. Apparently things were really bad 20 years ago!

Strange as it may have seemed at first, we learned to love it here. We learned that Broadway in Camden is a place to buy crack, not wine--wine is best bought a little further into New Jersey, at Moore Brother's. We learned that the abandoned buildings do get renovated and rise beyond their previous glory as trendy yet affordable rowhouses and positive change can be felt in many parts of the city. Things aren't nearly as dangerous as they seem to the untrained Oregonian eye, and though there are tremendous economic disparities between various parts of the city which will remain a challenge to its residents for years to come, the friendliness between most of this city's residents seem to smooth over many problems and people do live up to the moto of "City of Brotherly Love". We learned that being the "city in between" is a wonderful thing in part because of the vibrant arts and culture scene that thrives in the heart of the Megalopolis; and yes, things truly are cheaper in Philadelphia than in New York--and dare I say Boston! We learned that scrapple is...well, scrapple is unique. In short, we felt like we were--albeit for only a brief part of our lives--true Philadelphians.

Above all, though, we will never forget the very good friends we made, all of whom we'll miss terribly. [Partial list, alphabetically from my blogroll]: Cranium, Dentist and Somegirl, Booman & Co, Brendan, Atrios and Mrs. Atrios, [Eligere and family], Mithras, Neurochic, Overheard, Dragonball Yee and Lady, Phillybits, Rittenhouse Review, Upyernoz & Mrs. Upyernoz, Susie and Chris & family, Matt, and everyone else who I've either failed to mention or doesn't have a website.

These were good times. We wished they wouldn't end quite the way they did. Thanks for sharing them with us.

We'll be back to visit, so keep the spare bed handy.