Thank You, Baltimore!

Dear Baltimore,

Thank you for 5 amazing years! You’ve taught me more than you’ll ever know and introduced me to friends I’ll keep for a life-time. Sometimes you get a bad rap, but that’s ok. I like it that you’re my little secret sometimes. Ironically, it was moving here from Paris that helped me appreciate you most. Baltimore, like Paris, is a small “big city” – it doesn’t take you forever to get from one end to the other (ahem, however you could take a queue from Paris when it comes to public transportation – for 3 years I rode the bus, and now I must thank you for lowering my standards and making public transportation easy as pie anywhere else I may go). I learned to love distinct neighborhoods with their own personality and flair while living in Europe, and you’ve got that too. Besides, there really should be more Hampdens in the world. Along those lines you have great farmer’s markets which are full of color and support local businesses at the same time. You may not have wine flowing like they do in France, but I cracked your code, and was quite pleased with my $3.99 bottles of wines from my regular visits to Trinacria (and that’s practically like hopping the border to Italy, right?). Eight years ago in Paris I started taking hip-hop classes, and, B-more, somehow you raised the bar with BodyJam with Sam, as every week she religiously beat my body into a sweaty mess, but in the best way possible. I have the moves to prove it.
Baltimore, you make me realize that while I’ve found ways to compensate for my favorite things about Paris in Charm City, USA, there are things I’ll miss when I return to France as well. First off, the gym (aka, my sanity). There really is no gym culture in France – especially on my student budget – so I guess the stairs in my 7-story walk-up apartment will have to suffice. Speaking of which, I’ll miss your cost of living too. It’s a sweet deal, and I fear the exchange rate alone may be the death of me. I’m not sure that Paris has as much kitsch and charm – that is, in the John Waters kind of way – as you do, but I’ll do my best to find it! (If I ever come across another dessert topped with marshmellow fluff I’ll be shocked if they do it the way you do). In the meantime, just as you’ve taught me, I promise to make the most of the city I’m in. Thus I’ll plan on partying all night for nuit blanche, or sticking around long enough to visit city center sand and palm trees of Paris plage. It may be tough at times, but still, if I can live in the city where The Wire takes place, and still love it, I can handle anything.

Thank you again for everything, especially for the amazing people and memories we’ve created along the way!

I’m off to catch my plane soon. See you on the flip side! And who knows, maybe I’ll be back. . .


P.S. I also must add that I think it would behoove you to take a few lessons in love from the French. Your men need some pointers!

P.S.S. For more on how Baltimoreans are like the French, check out this article. I’m not the only one who sees it!

{Baltimore [top], Paris [bottom] illustrations from mix cd covers by the illustrious Felice Q. Cleveland}


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