Tatiana Talks

Is This Heaven? No, It’s South Philly

Sometimes I have to sit back and marvel at how, if you allow it, the universe will make sure you are exactly where you should be, exactly when you should be.

Or, at least I like to think so.

More than two years ago, now, I was living with Bridie in Queen Village. We had a lovely little house, but we both knew it was time to move on, grow up and get our own places. At the time I was a bit freaked out. I mean, I had been living with Bridie for more than five years (more than six years maybe, now that I think about it). She cooked for me and listened to me when my family was driving me crazy and whenever I wanted to get out of the house, there she was, my willing partner in crime.

Plus there was the matter of finding a place I liked that I could afford.

This fear of never finding a place intensified with every awful apartment I saw. There was the place that was lovely and shiny and new but had no closets. Then there was the place not quite as shiny and new but with terrific closet space -- so long as I didn’t mind leaving my apartment to walk down a communal hallway to get to my kitchen. Bridie knew from experience that wasn’t going to work -- see I really hate wearing pants and for the most part won’t when I am home.

Then there was the Grover apartment -- which got its name from the royal blue, wall-to-wall shag carpeting in the living room.

And then I found this place. Shiny and new and continuous, with a lot of really big closets and a lovely back area where I could grow lots of lovely things. I have yet to grow anything back there, but every spring, I make the attempt.

The only problem was that this perfect place for the perfect price was a little farther south than I had imagined myself living.

My fears worsened when Lana told me that her friends called my new neighborhood Little New Jersey. To this day, I have heard no one else refer to this part of town as anything but South Philly. However, if there is someone out there that has also heard it referred to as Lil’ NJ, please let me know.

Still, I moved in and now, more than two years later. I couldn’t be happier. What inspired this wave of domestic bliss. This morning’s trip to a new coffee shop. Well, not new, but new to me.

I knew my neighborhood was vegan and vegetarian friendly. In fact, I would guess it is one of the friendliest places in the city for herbivores. So, on my way to the Italian Market this morning, I knew I would have little problem stopping in somewhere for a latte with soy milk. By the time I got to the coffee shop, however, I was also a bit hungry. I figured I would also order a bagel with peanut butter, to go. But then what to my wondering eyes did appear but Tofutti cream cheese on the menu board.

I was so happy I had to sit down. You mean now I can eat my bagel and cream cheese in a public place the way god intended? Oh happy day. When the gentlemen behind the counter asked me if my coffee and bagel were for here or to go, I said for here. I was going to enjoy this moment damn it.

I spent the rest of the day feeling connected and whole and reassured that I was exactly where I was suppose to be. I know, it’s the little things. That is why I find it so hard to believe guys would consider me hard to please.