Monday, May 31, 2010

Things I'll miss about Baltimore #1

Little Italy and the best dessert restaurant, Vaccaro's. Our first weekend in Baltimore we wandered over for dinner, passing a group of men playing bocce ball and a large crowd of families who had gathered to watch Roman Holiday on a warm summer night. A little old man projects the movies from his window while people watch on blankets and in lawn chairs, eating pizza and drinking red wine. Doesn't get any cuter than that.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hollywood Diner

When I told my dad we were moving to Baltimore, one of the first things he said was, "You have to watch the movie Diner." So, with less than 2 weeks before we move, we finally watched and realized that the diner itself is right around the corner from our house. We made like Mickey Rourke and Paul Reiser and headed over there for breakfast, milkshakes, and sugar directly from the jar.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The walk to school

Sometimes I ignore the shuttle stop and walk to school instead. I head down the hill of my street and under the freeway overpass that marks the separation between Mt. Vernon and East Baltimore.

On the left is a jail with tall brick walls topped with barbed wire. A few men in jump suits walk out of the building, single file, pushing laundry carts. They disappear through a door and are gone. A middle-aged man on the sidewalk stumbles as he tries to maintain balance. He stares at the ground, wide eyed, as if he has no idea where he is or why. He is tripping on something strong and he doesn't even notice as I walk by.

An old lady stands at the bus stop in a turquoise dress suit with a hot pink cowboy hat. I smile and she stares straight ahead. On the left is a tree-lined field where young mothers push their babies in strollers and boys play football. I pass the Old Town Flava Barber Shop on the right and a large group of men sitting at the edge of the field. They are always there, no matter the time of day. Around the corner there is a street of homes that has been blocked off to cars. A tiny girl in braids sits on her gray stone stoop, lollipop in hand. A young man with quick eyes stands on the corner and points at the ground repeatedly. I think he is working with a drug dealer and I walk faster. He moves away when he sees me and I imagine what it would be like to be an undercover cop. (Scary, I decide.)

Pieces of paper litter the sidewalk and a plastic bag floats by and lands in the gutter, deflated. I pass a church and a few old women exit the front doors. They wear wide-brimmed hats and flowered dresses over their short bodies, and they smile as I pass. An older man in a hat and vest sits on a bench in the shade and smokes a cigarette. I smile and he says, "Have a nice day, baby."

I come upon a school where a group of young boys play basketball on a court with chain link walls and trash piled in the corners. Little ones run and scream on the playground, dressed in yellow and maroon school uniforms and hair twisted in ties all over their heads. A boy, standing at the top of the slide, waves and yells, "Hi!" I wave back. He waves again, so I wave again. I wonder if he has parents who love him and whether he will go to college. Suddenly, a helicopter appears overhead and I look to see if it belongs to the police or the hospital.

I cross the intersection and the neighborhood changes. The noise picks up and more and more people are about. A security guard sits in a booth, looking up and down the street as nothing interesting happens. Large buildings appear on either side of me, their names taken from old men with lots of money. People in suits and scrubs walk past a street vendor selling candy and soda. Important people walk quickly by because they have important things to be doing.

After just 20 minutes, I arrive at my building. I put on my badge and walk through the glass doors. I sit through lectures about HIV/AIDS, health equality and community participation. We talk about reaching the marginalized and saving lives. Then we pack up our bags and go home, walking right past the woman with HIV and the addict in the corner, all the while dreaming about when we will be able to put our knowledge to practice.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


To clasp the hands in prayer
is the beginning of an uprising
against the disorder of the world.
Karl Barth

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finals smiles

Because this is finals and I feel like I'm sinking, I'm going to list some things that made me smile today:

- the awkwardness of the above picture
- a little boy on the playground who waved and yelled "Hi!" from the top of the slide
- cookies and fruit in class
- a biker who gave a strong and full-armed point forward while going through a green light, making sure we all knew he wasn't turning
- a class speaker who kept throwing in little tidbits like "I was robbed once" and "the community gave me 5 shirts which I could not accept...except I did take one"
- rain on my face while walking home from school
- coming home to a clean house
- realizing how very loved I am by my family
- Marek is coming to visit tomorrow!!!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Doggie friends

We made some good doggie friends in our 9 months here.

Bailey, the athlete.

Gatsby, the gentleman.

Bravo, the lion cub.

But it didn't make me miss her any less.

Sura, the queen of my heart.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hello little wormy

Can you see him?

The not so great part of Maui 2007

(Waiting for the fire to clear. I think Leenie's gesture means "this stinks.")

(The fire that blocked the road to the airport.)

(The view from our emergency hotel. Not bad.)

I neglected to tell you about an important part of our Maui trip. It was nearly perfect, except for a bit of an issue we encountered on our last day. Or what was supposed to be our last day.

There was a fire on the island. And because the fire blocked the only road to the airport, we could not get to the airport. And because we could not get to the airport, we were diverted to a Red Cross shelter. They fed us pizza and bottled water and arranged us a hotel for the night. (I love the Red Cross.) We spent a few long hours in a gym chatting with a rasta-hippy named Jose Z who told us stories of whales and pretended to give us gifts then stuck them back into his own bag.

We all made it home the next day, but not without some drama and on 3 separate flights. Janne and Vanessa even had to bribe the airline employees with Costco churros. My roommates deserve a prize for being so patient with me while I stressed about getting back home. My wedding was in 2 weeks, and I was perhaps a little more upset than I should have been. No one really feels bad for you when you say, "Help! I'm stuck on Maui!" And they shouldn't.