“I would never want to live anywhere but Baltimore. You can look far and wide, but you’ll never discover a stranger city with such extreme style. It’s as if every eccentric in the South decided to move north, ran out of gas in Baltimore, and decided to stay.” ~ John Waters
I always thought of Baltimore as the place I was going to live “for now”. The minute I graduated from college I decided to branch out and moved to Charleston, SC. After 9 years, a marriage, two kids and two stints in Charleston, I’m back and settled right outside of the city and I still kind of feel like we’ve gone through a break up and haven’t re-entered “friends territory” yet.
Now, I realize I make fun of Baltimore quite a bit. When you’re from here, it’s ok…but I’ll fight anyone who decided to diss my city. No matter how many times I leave or come back this is always going to be home; the place I seem to gravitate toward without even realizing I’m doing it.
I still keep in touch with some of my Charleston friends through a variety of social media sites. I get jealous when I see them at the beach in March or eating at one of my favorite restaurants. I immediately begin searching for real estate and jobs, seeing these items as signs that we were so much happier there and we should move back immediately. This usually lasts for about two weeks when I finally admit that it’s just not going to happen and this is where I’m “stuck” for the time being.
If I delve further, I realize that my nostalgia about Charleston is not about the people (though I do miss them immensely), it’s the places that I miss the most and the sense of community I felt when living there. I seem to have this idea that there aren’t places I would equally enjoy here. True, there’s no beach, or Poe’s or Bookstore Cafe, but Baltimore has good places too…places I have yet to discover. Restaurants, parks, trails, stores, farmer’s markets etc. are all within reach if I just decide to stop feeling nostalgic over what I used to have and put forth a little effort to see what I could have.
It’s time to go out and become a tourist in my own town and rediscover my love for this crazy, wonderful, kooky, incredible city that I call home and teach my children to love it as much as I know I can.
Now, where to begin?