The night before I left I was so nervous I couldn't sleep and I actually felt nauseous. When I drove over the Betsy Johnson Bridge and saw the Philly skyline for the first time it hit me, I'm really doing this! I may or may not have started crying... 

The Mayor Jim Kenney addressing the crowd about how "the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection" needs to be an accepting place for refugees. 

The Mayor Jim Kenney addressing the crowd about how "the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection" needs to be an accepting place for refugees. 

I made it there in time for International Day of Peace, and stumbled upon a beautiful ceremony at the Capitol building, where I met some incredibly compassionate people working towards justice for refugees in Philadelphia. I heard the mayor speak, saw a live music performance, and got free insomnia cookies! It was a good morning. Here are some people I met there. 

One of those was Faez, a man who moved here from Iraq 3 months ago with his mother who is battling cancer. We started talking because he was drawing and I had my ukulele out. He said that he didn't know many people yet and is learning English, but he trusted artists more because he is one himself. 

We spoke for almost an hour and eventually he shared with me that his family had been killed back in 2003 and he was trying to start a  new life here.

Faez gave me permission to share his story, and I hope I've done a decent job of it. I enjoyed speaking with him and was really moved by his optimism. I'm glad I was able to make him smile by teaching him a few chords.  

 

Lanica, who started Cambodian American Girls Empowering (CAGE) as a way to preserve culture through dance. Check out her awesome group! 

My friend and former roommate Dani took me sight seeing later on. The line to see the Liberty Bell was ridiculously long, so we peeked at it through a window which was just as good. We ended up on a rooftop bar at the 51st story of a building which had an incredible view of the city.

Later we met up with our friend Bridget and went to an open mic, where I performed and taught the bartender how to play a few chords so he gave us a free drink!

Me, Bridget, and Dani

Me, Bridget, and Dani

Great times, awesome people, Philly is an A+.

Total # of People Taught: 12

See more pictures from Philly here