Museums and Tibs

“Improve yourself, not prove yourself.”
~Ben Horgan, Staff at Loyola Blakefield

This weekend, I took some time for myself. It’s interesting how important that simple concept is for me at this point in my life. I have come to understand how sometimes I will just feel off and need time to meditate, do yoga, read alone, or just sit and be in my room in order to recharge my extroversion. 

Over the weekend I wandered over to The Book Thing (3001 Vineyard Lane) near Greenmount Ave and 30th St. I was astounded by the four vast rooms of books concerning various subjects: foreign language, cookbooks, political science, textbooks, romance novels, classics, and great literature. Once there, you’re allowed to take as many books as you want home with you as long as you sign out. Conversely, you can also donate and drop off books there that would then be sorted and doled out to the public. 

 Main Room of The Book Thing

Main Room of The Book Thing

 What does VHS even stand for?

What does VHS even stand for?

After perusing the rooms, I biked down Greenmount Ave. I think that that part of my biking was my favorite part of the day. Four five streets I could see multiple boarded-up apartments with crumbling debris juxtaposed with full-length building side murals of children playing on a sidewalk. I felt that there were just so many stories boarded up in those condemned houses and in the people who walked on those cracked sidewalks bounded by fast food restaurants.

Before long the neighborhoods became more whole, colorful, and quiet towards Old Goucher. It still astounds me how fast the neighborhoods, demographics, and streets change from one corner to another. I ended up eating at Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant (1100 Maryland Ave), which had amazing Ethiopian Kitfo, Tibs, and Injera reminiscent of those that I ate while living in Uganda. As I shoveled mouthfuls of Berber-spiced beef tartare, I thought about why I loved how quirky Baltimore is. 

She doesn’t put on airs. Very rarely do I see her pretending to be something she’s not. She’s bruised and beaten down, but manages to still empower herself to aspire, dream, and hope for something greater. Also, her denizens will talk to you. I have exchanged so many pleasantries and short conversations with strangers from all walks of life here, compared to any other place in the US.

I also explored the free Walters Art Museum (600 N Charles Street) and The Baltimore Museum of Art (10 Art Museum Drive), where I felt like I was in a different city altogether. It felt like awe and wonder on a much smaller scale than that of the Smithsonian Museums. I felt like the museums were small enough and intimate enough to hold my attention, while still feeling like there was more to see and do. And as I gazed at the skyline of Baltimore on the Fallsway heading back from Mt. Vernon to Station North, I couldn’t help but realize just how much I loved this city.

 Walters Art Museum Staircase

Walters Art Museum Staircase

That’s how I feel here; challenged in the most intimate way possible in the quirkiest city filled with grit and grunge.

 The City of Lights and Grunge

The City of Lights and Grunge