Before I departed for France, I made a quick stop in Baltimore to visit my uncle. He lives in the heart of Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon neighborhood.

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I spent an entire morning exploring the neighborhood. First, I went to a coffee shop called Dooby’s and enjoyed a strong cappuccino while I worked on my computer. I highly recommend this place to visitors and locals alike.

IMG_4176Fun fact: a scene from He’s Just Not That Into You was filmed outside this location.

Feeling thoroughly caffeinated, I walked from street to street. I knew the area well because of my uncle, who gives me tours of his neighborhood whenever I’m in town.

I explored the inside of the Engineer’s Club, a mansion which offers memberships for Baltimore’s most prominent professionals to congregate in a prestigious atmosphere. While the mansion is open for visitors during the daytime, I felt sneaky as I went from room to room, all which were equally extravagant and void of any other visitors. (fun fact: many scenes from House of Cards are filmed here).

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engineer's club

And then I popped into the Peabody Library, which was built in 1878 and is well known for its elaborate architecture. The amount of sheer detail in the cast-iron columns and railings alone is astounding.

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Then I walked down to the Inner Harbor. This area has all the tourist attractions. There are restaurants, street performers, shops, and museums.

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(Across the way is the National Aquarium, which I hear is a great place to take your mom for mother’s day)

There are ferries that can take you to various points around the waterfront. For a reasonable price I rode a ferry from the Inner Harbor to Fell’s Point. The colorful townhomes in Fell’s Point were a stark contrast to the brownstones in Mount Vernon.

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In Upper Fell’s Point I came across Patterson Park which I got lost in for a while. I really liked the small dose of nature after walking around in the city for so long.

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When you ride the ferry, you get a brochure with coupons for different attractions, bars, and restaurants in the area. After all the walking I did, I decided to take advantage of a “buy one get one free” coupon for a local craft beer at a bar called The Point.

I spoke with one bartender who was constantly on the move. He had only been in Baltimore for a short amount of time; before that he stayed in many cities including San Francisco, Fort Worth, and Tulsa. I asked him why he moved around so much. He said, “Because why not?”

His question, posed more as a statement, resonated in me. I was in Baltimore, but the next day I was getting on a plane to France. Why was I leaving the United States for the first time, all alone? Why was I moving to a new place, choosing to immerse myself in a new culture with a language I can barely speak? Because why not?

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