There are a few things you learn very quickly when you travel from Texas to Pennsylvania: There is a Dunkin’ Donuts on every corner, seasons are actually consistent, learning public transportation is key, and people get very upset when they hear that you’ve never heard of Wawa. It was when I first came to Arcadia that I first encountered a Wawa. Besides a funny name, I didn’t think too much about it, but it seems to be a big deal here where one should do all their shopping. I saw it as a glorified gas station honestly, but I apparently have much to learn.
But then, that’s what this whole experience away from home is all about, right? To learn and experience new things. College alone presents the new student with all sorts of new things to get used to, but if one doesn’t want to stay in her dorm all day, one should also make an effort to learn about her surroundings. This is where the other things I mentioned come in, things like public transportation.
I personally had never used any form of public transportation like SEPTA buses or trains because at home, where there’s always someone to drive you where you need to go, it just doesn’t come up. Well, once I found out that the closest art store and Barnes and Noble were not really within walking distance, I was determined to get on a bus.
Thankfully, I didn’t go alone, as I was able to find a friend who needed to explore the bus system as well. We waited at the appropriate spot and were soon on the four-wheeled rectangle staring into the eyes of the intimidating bus driver. I did not realize that the big box by the driver was an automatic change acceptor where your $2.25 was to be inserted. Me and my friend tried to hand the driver our money, to which she replied in an annoyed tone, “No, don’t give that to me. Step aside. I know you have money, step aside, I got to shut the doors. Put in there. In there. No, unfold the bills.” Needless to say we were incompetent, and the bus driver didn’t have time for it. But hey, we made it, and now the bus doesn’t seem so intimidating… at least that one, anyways.
The train is another new form of transportation for me, but so far I haven’t encountered any issues with it. As long as you are on the right side of the tracks, you’re fine. Perhaps it’s the classic sensation attached to waiting at a train station (as if you’re part of an old movie), but I enjoy it.
Then of course, there’s the cheapest transportation of them all: walking. Glenside has a bunch of random shops I will probably never go into (insurance, pest control, hardware, watch repair, and acupuncture), but it does have some useful places as well which are within walking distance (ice cream and pizza place, Dunkin’ Donuts—of course—boutiques, Walmart, and Cheltenham Mall if you’re feeling up to it).
I am still amazed at the temperature difference and how the leaves actually change color and fall with the coming of autumn. The sun is still blazing back at home at a good 90 degrees, while here the highest has been in the 70s. I eagerly await my first sighting of snow and probably won’t know how to deal with it… but like I said, it’s a learning process; one step at a time.
Photo by Taber Andrew Bain