Actually, by looking at these picture you cant tell how different Franklin, Tennessee is than Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I mean, there's a trolley, brick row homes that have been turned into market places, traffic lights. Of course, you can't tell that that is the entire downtown captured in one picture of Franklin. You also can't tell that Philadelphia has a population of over one and a half million people and Franklin gets credit for being the home of a little over fifty thousand. Philadelphia has the second largest Irish, Italian and Jamaican populations and the fourth largest African American population in the nation while only 10% of the Franklin population is non-white. About 20% of Philadelphia's population is below the poverty line, while less than 7% of Franklinites are in poverty. Actually, Franklin is one of the wealthiest cities in the one of the wealthiest counties in the US. Benjamin Franklin is one interesting cross-over between the cities. Franklin was actually named for Mr.Ben Franklin, Philadelphia's own.
The significance about the differences between cities is what seems to run through my head on a daily basis since our family's decision to move back home to Franklin. Desire to be closer to our family and long-time community has spurred our decision, but doesn't make it an easy one. Franklin doesn't have liberti (our fledgling-toddler church community), cheesesteaks or Kelly Drive, but it does have Mimi and Papa Joe. It doesn't have Nam Phong (the cheap Vietnamese restaurant in South Philly) or North 3rd (our favorite wing joint), but its got La Hacienda (Philly can't compete with the Mexican food even though it's got every other nationality in the universe covered) and it's got Country Kitchen on Saturday mornings at Mimi and Papa Joe's.
My guess is that I am slowly beginning the mourning process of leaving Philly, but still trying to comfort myself with the notables of Franklin. Change is never an easy process. Leaving friends is an impossible one. I expect my experience when we get back to Franklin to be similar to when we left it five years ago: excited for the change and new experiences mixed with the sadness (and, let's face it, down-right depression) at not having access to my people. Of course, in this move, "my people" will now include the amazing friends we have made over the past five years.
Culture Shock will be an inevitable for us. Ellie mentions her brown-ness every time we visit Franklin. Raising a brown child in a white world is a challenge we will face wherever we plant, but it will just be more noticable there. The cultural differences are huge at any rate. Gender and race attitudes are certainly more appealing for us in the culture of the Yanks. There is a certain amount of intellectual integrity, social concern and global awareness in the north that has been refreshing here. But, when it comes to the daily grind of life, Southerners really do win the day with community, integrity and just plain niceness. I'll be glad for the slower pace, the kindness of neighbors and, of course, sweet tea. Oh yeah, and parking.