Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

a wander around the city

Cathy Zhou's picture


The trip we took this Saturday was a magical exploration.

I did not have any plan until the morning I met up with my group, we talked about the places we saw online that interested us and decided to go to an art museum when we got there.

When we arrived, I took a look around the random angle of the city, it is ----concrete and different from any city I’ve seen previously. The huge mirror buildings reflected the sky and clouds, which made them part of the blue. It’s beautiful concrete. We saw the city hall, which is a nicely preserved building, magnificent, graceful, you can see a history out of it.When we walk along the street, there are flags of different nations. I tried to find my country through the long street and found the five stars right in front of the library.

Our show (we thought it’s a show) was at 2 pm, so we decided to go to the gallery first. It says Moore College of art in the front door, and when we got in, there’s a introductory board in the front. It is the very first and only women’s college of art in United States. There are many creative art pieces in the gallery: paper art, sculpture, paintings and different classes for students from preschool to high school. The art gallery is not only a place for visiting, but also a place that brings some influence to the society. The one that impressed me the most was a room of piles of different materials and has the shadows projected on the wall. You can see the swing of paper on both the back and the front wall. It was a quite moment when you try to figure out how the room works. It’s art.

When we got out of the gallery, it’s around eleven; we decided to take a walk to the closest mall to have lunch. We walked through some fountains, the city hall, a mariachi playing beautiful flute in the center of a square. It’s not a crowded city, pretty organized, not noisy, and not quiet. It’s a normal Saturday, but there were not as many people walking out of the house and wandering around the street as in my city.

I read from Mumford that the city is a big stage full of dramas. I have looked around in here and see nothing constructed “drama”: family eating out, old couples walking, homeless people staring at nowhere, you see a whole photo but scattered scenes. They lived in a different world while standing in the same city.

We went to Liberty Place for lunch and shopped there for a while. The shopping mall is somewhat different from the places I’ve been before, it’s a small mall but everyone works dedicatedly, trying to find the customers’ need. I like the sushi bar there, the Chinese clerk talked to me when he found me coming from China, it was a Chinese festival called mid-autumn, and he got all the people going to Chinatown for celebration. That’s how we know our destination after the show.

After lunch, we walked back to the library for the show started at 2.

When we rushed back to the library and showed them the tickets, we were surprised to be provided with two iPods. The man smiled mysteriously and told us just follow the guidance of the voice. Then we were led to a saved spot inside the library. It was a magical experience. The whispering voice appeared in the earphone and asked you to open the book and read. You find yourself get into the books very quickly, and as the whisper guided, you turn from one book to another as the voice try to guide you which page to turn to and read the sentences on it. It makes you to think about your relationship to the book and how you read it. How you get attached, and how the rest of the world is working.

When the whisper stopped, we both find ourselves out of an amazing journey. As the voices lead, you actually get a deeper understanding of what is going on in the book without reading the whole thing.

We left the library and went to Chinatown after the show, which is a long walk since we got into the wrong way with Google map.

But we arrived eventually. We missed the big parade but there was fireworks burning by kids which was so pretty.

And there’s a restaurant from my city Chengdu which drove me homesick. It’s always nice to have something from your hometown anyway.

Chinatown has something different from the real China, but when you walk around it, you can feel a smell from your country. You see people talking in Chinese and celebrating the annual festival you were into when you are younger, and it feels like an old friend.

My day ended up after the exploration in Chinatown

It’s my very first time in Philadelphia and I felt there’s something more to explore.

The city is an adventure to be taken.