To BMore in Baltimore

In a couple of months I will be saying that I’ve lived in Baltimore for a whole year. Holy cow. How did that even happen?

How long can you live someplace and still get away with being the new kid on the block?

Even though I’ve been here for a while, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what it’s like to live here and experience the city. In all honesty, I haven’t exactly fallen in love with the place either…yet?

I suppose it doesn’t help that other life circumstances are less than ideal at the moment, but I’m resolving that personal stuff and family stuff that’s beyond my control will not have bearing on my ultimate opinion of the time I spend stateside.

Our goal isn’t to plant roots here or even to stay long term, but I would like to be able to say that I had a great time while we did live here…

The Highlight Reel

I think I’ve had a good taste of the Arts & Culture scene, which — between Artscape, the American Visionary Art Museum, the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the proximity to Washington (museum Mecca) — is stellar. C’est magnifique.

Speaking of proximity, Baltimore also gets points for decent transit, allowing for inexpensive and accessible day trips. We’ve taken the bus, train, and subways to surrounding areas and it’s very convenient.

Our neighbourhood (and home) don’t qualify for my “highlight reel,” I’m sorry to say. But I will give bonus points to the truly wonderful park that is just a few blocks away.

Gray Skies are Gonna Clear Up

Since spring has finally sprung, the gray skies really are going to clear up (both literally and figuratively, I hope) so I’ve decided to be proactive with a good, old fashioned To Do list to BMORE in BALTIMORE. Really, I just want to make sure I make the most of my time here.

I’ve got a few ideas for the list already, including hitting up THIS incredible book spot (thanks for the idea, Peady!), finding some new great restaurants, gettin’ my learnin’ on, and seeing what else the region has to offer.

Stay tuned as I continue to add to my list of local adventures. If you have any suggestions of places or activities I just CANNOT MISS in Baltimore, hit me up!

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Just Another Dumb Tourist

I’m confident in the water. I grew up as a competitive swimmer before becoming a lifeguard, teacher, and coach. I even spent some time teaching water aerobics. I have no problem hopping into a lake for swim – though I despise leeches, I’ll deal with ripping one off as needed. When it comes to ocean beaches, I’m usually the first one in and the last one out. I love the water and I’m a huge proponent of water safety.

I’ve spent many hours on the beaches of Atlantic Canada, down through to South Carolina and Florida. I thought I knew a thing or two about jellyfish…how to spot them, how to avoid them, etc.

After several summers of sea time on the beautiful beaches of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, I learned how to recognize a mild* jellyfish sting. They look like a long scratch most times (like that from a cat) and while they do burn, they aren’t generally worth making too big of a fuss over.

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Arctic Red jellyfish – the jellies commonly found on the beaches of Prince Edward Island. http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/12209781

So, it turns out I’ve only ever seen White Moon and Arctic Red jellyfish.

Ever the blogger – even especially when on vacation – my sister, Erin, and I had been traipsing around looking for the best insta-worthy photo ops.

Check out this shot. Gorgeous, eh?

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In this picture, I’m concerned about capturing the beautiful blue sky and the gorgeous coastal vista…and I’m completely oblivious to the fact that I’m inches, INCHES away from a Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish.

Take a closer look.

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Total dumb tourist.

As I was approaching the rock outcrop for my photo shoot, I saw a blue plastic water bottle floating in the water. I thought to myself, “what a shame that there’s plastic floating in this beautiful, clear water” and I even considered grabbing it to throw in the trash when I went back to the beach.

I’m not sure what stopped me but I forgot about that plastic for a minute and did a few silly poses for my sister before swimming deeper into the waves for some body surfing time, while Erin retired her photography for some tanning in the hot sun.

It wasn’t until I had dried off later that afternoon when she turned to me and said “I have to tell you something…” Apparently a local had warned her that she wasn’t to go into the water near that spot because of the dangerous nature of those jellyfish. He even said that he was surprised to see “that girl” (me, the idiot) being so cavalier to pose for pictures next to it.

Fortunately, the local resorts actually work to remove this species of jellys when they’re in the high-traffic swimming areas. Obviously, though, nature, “uh, finds a way.”

I was horrified. HORRIFIED. How did I become such a cliche? Me? I’m Ms. Feet-First-First-Time! I’m the one who tells parents not to let their kids use flotation devices when the tide is going out. I’m the most annoying, water-safety woman around. I could not — and still cannot — believe it.

In my only, pathetic defense, the thing REALLY looked like a plastic bottle. In fact, they’re also known as Blue Bottle jellyfish…so…there…

The lesson to be learned is that we are all naive and dumb when we travel to new places. Experience doesn’t always translate. Be aware and be safe. If you’ve never been somewhere, educate yourself and take necessary safety precautions. Take a look around you before you start your instagram photo shoot. Your safety is more important than a funny picture.

Don’t be me. Don’t be just another dumb tourist!

* The irritation of the sting of an Arctic red can be treated easily with the nearby sand. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/pe/pei-ipe/securite-safety/animaux-wildlife

Man-of-War Jellyfish, close up pic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/p/portuguese-man-of-war/

 

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Love this Town with Fujifilm

**Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fujifilm who generously provided me with X-A3 camera to facilitate capturing why I love Halifax. The opinions, pictures, hopes, and dreams shared in this post are my own.**

Halifax.

When I was back home in Halifax for BlogJam last month, I stayed with friends who just happened to live one street away from where I had – so it really felt like I was home!

While I spent most of the time running around, filling Jam Bags and boxing up prize packs like the Instax Mini 9, provided by our generous sponsor, Fujifilm, I also made sure to take a few moments to look around and absorb some of my favourite Halifax vistas, like the iconic “candy cane” smokestacks.

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The North End was more than just my home and favourite neighbourhood but, and I may be biased, it also features some of the coolest examples of public art in Halifax. In particular, the murals at Mulgrave Park are just incredible.

I was able to capture two of my favourites at dusk on my final night in town before heading back to Baltimore.

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That night, as I packed up my suitcase and enjoyed some final moments of the trip with my dearest friends, we noticed some strange light in the sky over the Halifax harbour.

Upon inspection we saw that someone had released a cloud of paper lanterns into the sky.

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Watching the twinkling lights dance across the night horizon was pure magic and another reason that I love this town.

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