On the to-do list this week: Get excited. Reopening is coming soon, and, even though this is what we’ve been looking forward to for a year, we’re feeling ... a little uneasy? We have help with that. We also have great local AAPI groups to support right now, and, in case you’re hungry, it’s National Barbecue Day this weekend. We have what you need to celebrate. And, some life advice about cultivating grace.

And remember: We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and, as much as possible, it’s still a good idea to stay home.


Know this

» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: Inquirer.com/askus

Do this

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

🍽️ Center City Restaurant Week (Food / virtual and in-person) Restaurant week still looks a little different than usual, but it’s becoming more recognizable as pandemic restrictions lift. Visit restaurants like Barbuzzo, a. kitchen + bar, Gabi, Spice Finch and more for prix-fixe lunch and/or dinners available for indoor dining, outdoor dining or takeout. ($20 for lunch, $35 for dinner, May 17-28, centercityphila.org)

🔎 Find more of this week’s events, and we even have a kid-friendly events calendar, too.

Reopening? Here’s how to prepare.

We’re finally on the cusp of reopening. But ... it’s OK to be feeling a little weird about it. If you’re anxious about going out into the world, worried you’ve lost your social skills, or just not sure what you would even talk about, fear not: Elizabeth Wellington has a social guide to going back out in the world, broken down by how nervous you’re feeling. Here’s some of the advice, all of which makes us feel a little bit better:

  • Don’t go from zero to 100. If you’ve been staying at home, social distancing and avoiding crowds, a crowded bar, a big wedding or a stadium event may trigger a response you didn’t anticipate. “You might get panicky,” said Heidi Rose, chair of the communication department at Villanova University. “But you might feel exhilarated.” Pay close attention on how you feel when you do venture out. The moment you start to feel weird, leave.

  • Ask people about their comfort level. It will be tempting to go in for a hug when you run into the good friend you haven’t seen in a year. But please ask. Ask how far apart people feel comfortable being. “Pay attention to the cues that other people might be giving and ask,” Rose said. And check with others before you remove your mask.

  • Acknowledge the awkwardness. Talk about it. The one thing we all have in common is our COVID-19 experience. “Not sure what to talk about beyond corona, talk about corona,” Kudesia said. “Now’s the time to go meta.”

And remember, it’s also OK to say no, you don’t want to go out yet. Read more in Elizabeth’s insightful piece.

» READ MORE: Your social guide to Philly’s reopening

Do good

It’s AAPI history month, and there are a lot of ways to support groups doing great work in Philadelphia. We’ve got a great guide to local groups worth your time and donations. Here are a few highlights, plus one very tasty way to donate:

  • The Wonton Project: buy steamed or crispy fried wontons from Ellen Yin (Fork, High Street Hospitality Group), and the profits are split between Asian Americans United, which focuses on fighting anti-Asian violence and building up Philly’s Asian communities and Advancing Justice, which advocates for civil and human rights for Asian Americans. Learn more here.

  • Asian Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary arts center that offers exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, youth workshops, and a community gathering space. Since 1993, the organization has used art to explore the history, culture, and present-day conversations of Asian Americans. Learn more/donate here.

  • Laos in the House promotes the cultural legacy of the Lao American refugee community through storytelling and the arts. Learn more/donate here.

  • Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture: Based in West Philadelphia, Al-Bustan works to educate those of all ages on Arab heritage, and offers an array of programming designed to celebrate diversity and enrich cross-cultural understanding. Learn more/donate here.

Read our full list of worthy groups, and what they do in the community, in Grace Dickinson’s full piece.

» READ MORE: Buy wontons for a good cause, and other ways to support AAPI groups in Philly

A national holiday to celebrate

It’s National Barbecue Day this weekend, and, let’s face it, it’s an important thing to celebrate. So, to kick it off, we have scoured the region for the most mouthwatering spots, and present to you this list of 10 essential barbecue joints. Don’t read it while hungry.

And barbecue takeout pairs extremely well with our picnic guide, which has the best places to throw down a blanket and share a big feast with friends.

» READ MORE: Best barbecue to eat in Philly right now

Life advice

Grace has become the watchword for our time. How did we get here? The term was once almost exclusively religious, but now, in addition to being picked up by the larger wellness movement, just feels like what we all need right now. Elizabeth Wellington breaks down how we got here and why grace feels so important right now. Here’s an excerpt that says it best:

  • In a year when falling down and getting up has been a running theme in our lives, grace is infusing the zeitgeist with tenderness and strength. It crosses all the lines of the traumas that envelop us: the pandemic, social injustice, our divided politics. These days — both the devout and the secular — are defining grace as permission to treat ourselves and one another with mercy as we work our way through the drama of what has become our daily reality. “Grace goes beyond self-care and treating yourself,” said the Rev. Charles Howard, the University of Pennsylvania chaplain. “It’s extending kindness to others and yourself even when it’s not deserving.” Grace is offering a soft place to land. “It gives us permission to just be,” Howard said.

Read more reasons for embracing grace, and how to cultivate it in Elizabeth’s full piece.

» READ MORE: There’s a word for the thing we need most right now: Grace | Elizabeth Wellington

COVID-19 resources

💉 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids and teens: Safety and side effects, explained

📅 What’s safe to do after you get the vaccine? We asked 7 experts to rank them.

🌸 Here’s what you need to know about taking allergy medicines before getting the vaccines

🤢 What if I have no vaccine side effects?

» More at Inquirer.com/covid-tips