Uncertain Futures

Life is weird and scary. I’m starting to realize that in some cases I would be willing to sacrifice adventures and excitements in order to remain blissfully unaware and comfortable in life. However, I no longer have that opportunity anymore. Life has irrevocably changed for me in a way that I can never really entertain the idea of going back to my mindset two years ago.

How can I explain how different it is to think that one month ago I was packing up my belongings in my village house in Uganda. Now so many things are happening at once: I’m living in Baltimore, I may work as a temporary math teacher at my old high school, and I am living in a life post-college and post-Peace Corps.

I am still trying to figure out where I fit in this city’s culture. I am looking to find my niche and my interests. Today I learned about scheduling a hair cut appointment at JH Hair Studio. I biked to The Avenue (W 36th St.) in order to pass the time before my appointment, where stopped by a cafe. I guess that I didn’t realize how yuppie and gentrified Hampden had become until I gave witness to the pastel-colored blackboards describing different coffees, the man-buns accompanied by tight black jeans, and yoga studio adjacent to brunch restaurants.

As I drank an Americano at one of the cafes, I read an article in the City Paper. The main article was titled 344, concerning the homicides of 344 people living in Baltimore during 2015.

“… because each single homicide is the story of a life with a ripple effect on a family and neighborhood, because we wish we could do a proper obituary for each person killed but lack the editorial resources, because we wish to acknowledge each death, because we are hopeful that cumulative murders and the visual impact of sheer numbers and names will move readers to action, because we have faith in this city…”

~Karen Houppert, City Paper Editor

The entire paper was dedicated to sharing the obituaries of the 344 murdered Baltimore residents. I felt odd knowing that I was in a city of great disparity and difference. I finished my coffee, tipped the waiter, and bicycled back to JH Hair Studio. The barber shared how he and his partner bought and currently live in a house in Remington. He explained to me that Remington used to be an unlivable place, but is now up-and-coming. As he cut my hair, he shared with me his belief in Baltimore any how he would stand up for his city. However, he admitted that living in Baltimore for an extended period of time makes you weird, eccentric. When I prodded him to explain what he meant by eccentric, all he could do was shake his head and just repeat that living here makes you eccentric.

As uncertain as everything is, I still have hope. And that surprises me.