I came to Baltimore in the summer of 2002, I was 17 and had literally just graduated high school. My parents mini van was loaded and I left directly from graduation ceremonies to start a summer program at my future alma mater, Johns Hopkins. At first Baltimore was not for me. It wasn’t paradise, school was tough, and the charm of the city seemed to rub me the wrong way. Growing up across the river from NYC will do that to you and I’ll admit to being a bit of an uptight New Jersey brat those first few years. Long weekends, spring vacations, summers were all elaborate escape situations. Then midway through my senior year, my dad got transferred to Tampa, FL relocating my parents out of my childhood home. Suddenly I found myself homeless. Couldn’t go back to NJ since there was nothing left there, didn’t want to move to Florida, California was always a pipe dream (but more on that later), so I stayed in Baltimore.
By then I had been here for four years and it had started to grow on me. I was starting to build a life, friends from school, a promising job right out of school, a little apartment in a row house, etc.
Through the years I started to evolve. I started following orioles baseball and gave up my childhood team; it became fun to root for the underdog and wear orange not on Halloween. Berger cookies and goetze caramels are probably my two favorite guilty pleasures.
I’ll crack crabs coated in old bay and throw back natty bohs on a hot summer day. Never got over the crab cake aversion because heated mayo frankly makes me want to vomit in my mouth. But I do know how to make a real Maryland crab cake and will roll my eyes at those who do it so obviously wrong.
Pit beef, smalltimore mentality, all the little neighborhoods, summer festivals, even the harbor. Charm city has grown on me. I hate to admit it, but it has been my home for the past 13 years, and I am going to miss the hell out of it. Baltimore saw me through my 20s, I became an adult here and there will always be a part of me that will call it home, even though I’ve resisted it for so many years.
So cheers to Baltimore! Finally living out a dream and moving out to Los Angeles. But until then, the next few weeks will be full of all the things I’ve come to love about this city.