walking and talking my way home

Four years ago, I was a first time buyer. With prices so high in my hometown of DC, and my sister and brother-in-law newly settled in Baltimore and giving me the hard sell, I turned my attentions North. I toured houses all over Fells Point, Canton, Brewer's Hill, and Patterson Park. After visiting dozens of houses, having run-ins with junkies, and a few heartbreaks juuust out of my financial reach, I found a 3 bedroom, 2 and a half bathroom parkfront house right in my price range. Oh, but was it ever ugly inside. The first time I viewed it, I left after 3 minutes. The second time I took along my brother in law, who has an unbelievable ability to see the potential in a space, who started (verbally) tearing down walls, removing Corinthian pillars (oh yeah), redesigning the layout. And so that's what I did, lots and lots of ripping and tearing that I'll talk about another day with photos and all, but my story travels onward. Well, I'll give you one photo to tide you over [pulled from the original listing. Note the random ceiling heights, wall to wall carpet, tiny kitchen, weird dead space, and, oh yeah! The pillars...]:

Having moved in, bought furniture, found roommates, and settling in to working, I realized I really didn't know anyone in Baltimore - we're talking totally friendless! Turns out, making friends in a new city after college is pretty darn hard. And so I hated it here. I hated that I was always lost. I hated that in the blink of an eye I'd find myself in a scary neighborhood with nary a kind soul to help me. I hated that my car was broken in to three times in as many months. But most of all, I hated not knowing anyone or anything fun to do.

Trying to be a good lil' Patterson Parker, I helped out at the Spring Clean-Up and realized that there was an entire crew of young, fun residents all of whom seemed to know each other. Where had they been hiding?! Where did they live?! It became a sort of mission to find them...

I found my dog on the street while showing houses in Cedarcroft,
and soon after heard about the Citizens On Patrol (COP) walks. So, timidly, Puppy and I headed across to the entrance to the park just across the street at Linwood and Baltimore. It was evident immediately that almost everyone knew each other and each others' dogs... But it wasn't the kind of knowing that leaves newcomers on the outside. Quite the opposite! People reached out to me and lil' P, and by the end of the walk, the urge to put my house on the market and move back to DC was already diminishing. Within a few weeks I found myself really looking forward to the COP walks and the news and camaraderie they offered new and old residents alike. So many of the people I now think of as among my favorite people in the world are those I met through the walks. All that walking and talking made me take owernship of my house, neighborhood and city. Each week as the walk would end and we'd go our separate ways, increasingly I found myself returning not to a house where I lived, but rather to a home that I loved.

love k


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