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The first trip

Yancy's picture

I thought Philadelphia was a modern city with hundreds of high-rise buildings, busy men silently walking in the streets and thick dark clouds. My thoughts are broken when I go up from the Septa station and the first sunlight shines on my hair. Blue sky and clouds are like the Easter egg and its soft white decorative patterns, enwrapping the old but fashionable city.

The structures surprise me a lot. When I look around and catch the city hall standing far away solemnly, it seems that I am in a European city in middle ages. Pigeons flying around, people from different states speaking their own languages take photos in various angles to describe the beauty of this city. Also, the eight pillars in front of the Art museum door remind me of the temples in Athens. There are not many high buildings, which means more sunlight can fall down on this area, can warm people and trees. The city has a magic. When I walk through the old structures, the time seems to stop, and I feel I touch the history when I put my hands on the stone walls or pillars. The feeling is familiar, in some degree. In the past eighteen years, I got it thousands of times when I hang around aimlessly in Nanjing, my hometown. This feeling, this magic, belongs to those cities which have many stories to tell others, having power to solidify the sands in hourglass. However, in my deep heart, I actually know the difference, when I overlook the streets and find the city hall substitutes the mountains appearing in my eyes. In my city, the old structures own special Chinese styles: complicated patterns, elegant and simple colors, rising corners of roofs and so on. I like listening to the voice of bells hanging under the eaves when wind blowing, or staying with some students who lean against red pillars of pavilion and draw the sunset-red peach blossoms in ancient gardens.

Another point is the food. Because I like eating very much, I pay more attention on it than others. In the lunchtime, we sit near the street with ice water in hands, and ordering the food. I ask for the ‘pulled pork sandwich’, because it doesn’t have onions or peppers I hate. The sandwich tastes good, or maybe because I am so hungry that I can eat a whole ox. This is a simple lunch, so I think I cannot use it to represent the whole styles of Philadelphia meals or comment on or compare it to others. However, in the afternoon, I come to China town in Philadelphia. Before I come here, I ask for the advice of a junior student. He told me a restaurant called ‘Sakura’ is good. Then I come here with my mate. I agree that I am excited to see Chinese on the menu, and I order Xiaolongbao-a special snack in China, especially in the area I stayed. My excitement ebbs away when I take the first bite of it. How thick the cover is! One of the important characteristic o Xiaolongbao is its thin cover. Normally, through the thin cover, I can see the delicious soup in Xiaolongbao. I have never eaten a Xiaolongbao with such thick cover! I raise my head and stare at my mate sadly.

‘I can’t believe they call it Xiaolongbao!’

She calmly glances at me. ‘Pal, you are not in Nanjing.’

Then, everything can be explained. I’m in Nanjing, so the food here, although in the Chinatown, is not the same as it in Nanjing. Culture is really different in those two cities, the food, the views, the structure, the languages and the people. There are no same cities in the world, no matter how close they are or how similar they are, they have difference. People in Nanjing are used to practice in the early morning, but in Philadelphia, I can see people run in the street all the day. Trees on two sides in Nanjing are buttonwood trees, but in Philadelphia, I don’t know the name of the trees.

I looked up to the night sky, where thousands of stars shining around the moon, counting silently in my heart in how many days the moon would become full. Weather is becoming colder and colder, and the summer is ending. Three or four days later, I’m not sure about the day because there are no symbols or signs can tell me the precise date of Mid-autumn Festival. In Nanjing, I know the date because newspaper and family remind me. Anyway, the festival will come, and the moon will be full, just like it is in Nanjing.


Yancy's picture

The picture

The image shown of Nanjing old structure was found online.