Bye Bye Baltimore (Part 2)

I gave Baltimore a pretty rough time of it in part 1 of this post so this time, I would like to showcase some things I will miss when I say my farewells less than a month from now.

The Inner Harbor. Ever since I made the move from Charles Village (where the recent infamous street collapse happened) to Little Italy in 2011 because my landlord had failed to pay his taxes and the house foreclosed, I’ve never wanted to be more than a 10-minute walk from the Inner Harbor. I especially love the promenade walk from Harbor East to Canton Waterfront. I used to run this trek three times a week during the summer. Now, living in Federal Hill, I run along the water to Harbor East on the other side of the promenade or take Key Highway to Fort McHenry.

Last Sunday, as I walked around the fort, beneath the cannons and Memorial Day flags, after a heated run, I knew I would miss this view. Even though the water is discolored and the smell can be overpowering after a rainstorm, the whistling sounds of sails in the wind, seagulls calling, and calm waters hitting the banks has always been a source of tranquility for me. I’m excited to explore new trails in DC around Rock Creek and Georgetown, but I will miss running along the bay, looking beyond as it opens wider and engulfs my dreams.

Thai Food. Even though it’s a city, Baltimore doesn’t offer much variety when it comes to ethnic food. But you can find a Thai restaurant on almost every block, sometimes right across the street from one another (though anyone in Federal Hill will tell you Thai Arroy is better). I never ate much Thai before (or should I say “American” Thai), but now it’s become almost a staple, my go-to carryout order for a Friday night. I’m not saying I can’t find Thai food in any city, but it is one thing about Baltimore I’ve grown accustomed to.

Outdoor Movie Series. So every summer, I attempt to make my rounds from Federal Hill, Little Italy, and Fells Point for the outdoor movie series. My favorite is Flicks From the Hill with a projector showcasing the movie on the back of the American Visionary Arts Museum, while viewers watch, sitting atop the hill. And they’re free! Unfortunately, I will be gone before these start back up again, but I hear DC also has some options.

Dionysus. For those House of Cards fans, remember the loud bar Zoe used to live above? Yep, that’s the one. It wasn’t actually loud, but it was right across the street from where I used to take graduate school classes. It was the go-to bar for many in that neighborhood – we felt a sense of community there. But sadly, it’s no longer there (well, the building is, but the bar shut down some time ago). It will always hold a special place in our hearts for those who knew it in its heyday.

Greenness. I’m not saying DC isn’t green, but I’m most familiar with Baltimore’s own initiatives like Blue Water Baltimore, Bikemore, and the National Aquarium (speaking of which, add aquarium to the list). As littered as the city can be, people here do care about their Chesapeake Bay and their livelihood. They speak up for making the world a better place, one city at a time, and one bike lane at a time. The small town charm doesn’t just mean people take care of their own – they take care of the land they adopted.

When I used to work for a green initiative at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, staff would approach me all the time at events, telling me how they’ve been hoarding their batteries in their desks until the university got its electronic recycling program up and running. They advocated, and you know what? By the time I left that job, the e-recycling program was up and running. It’s a small step, but people are digging their roots in Baltimore. It’s not a stop-and-go city (except for me). They care, and they want to do better by it.

The People. No, I will not miss the loud women on the train or the person who randomly sings in the street or even the myriad of Ravens jerseys I’m subjected to all year-round. But above all else, I will miss the relationships I’ve developed while meandering in this city. I have met some of the most amazing individuals from all over the country and some of the best friends I will probably ever have. No matter what happened in each of our lives, we always came back together. Even if I hadn’t spoken to a friend in over a year, if I needed them, they would be there. The vast hearts of these wonderful people will never be forgotten, and I hope I can sustain these connections as I move into the next chapter of my life.

Thank you Baltimore. It’s been fun.

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