Finding a Home in Philly (by Antoinette Mpawenayo)

The names of the people in the photos are me (Antoinette Mpawenayo), my host grandma in Philly (Popo) and my roommate (Courtney Templeton). The two photos are important to me because they show an amazing relationship that Popo and I have. At the beginning of the SST experience in Philly, Popo and I got off the wrong foot due to some miscommunication, but after many weeks I have gotten to know Popo and we have become so close.

The first photo is my favorite because one day Popo came to my room and she had three shirts for Courtney and I. Two shirts were green and pink and had the letters “ICS” on them as you can see above and the third shirt was white. She gave me three options for shirts, but one day I woke up wanting to wear black leggings, and the pink shirt she gave me. I was headed to one of my lectures and I saw her on the couch wearing the same exact thing as me…we just happened to have the same style in clothing!

I have had many experiences with Popo. Everyday during dinner, Popo and I talk about everything and anything that makes us happy such as; food, traveling, and being with family. She would show me photos of her travels back to Indonesia and she would tell me what I should look into when I get there and what I could probably bring back to her. Those moments were always great. Popo was always so busy, but she always found time to socialize with me and I appreciated that. She is a strong woman. I decided to let her know and she smiled.

Saying goodbye to Popo was really hard, but before leaving she said that me, Courtney and her should take a vacation together next time. I think she was very serious about that, so I will most definitely be going back to Philly especially because now I have a home there.