|Baltimore Inner Harbor|
I came to Baltimore as a fresh PhD from India, leaving behind the life I had created for myself in Bangalore for over 6 years. Flying across half the world and moving over to a new country wasn't going to be easy, and so I was more anxious than excited. It didn't help that I landed here in late November when the cold winter was already under way. I was worlds away from everyone I loved and completely clueless about how things were done here. Of course, like everyone else before me, I too figured out everything. But, in those initial few months, I often wondered who would know or care if something happened to me right then. I was home sick and wallowing in self-pity. Nothing unusual there.
It didn't help that Baltimore is a sleepy town, with few people and fewer things to do. It has pockets of unsafe areas tucked between any two safe neighbourhoods. And, among those safe neighbourhoods, the Inner Harbour area is the only place where people seem to be having fun without needing to resort to alcohol. It is the one spot with some great street performances every now and then and some "life" to speak of. Everywhere else it has a sort of a "boring town" vibe. And, it is in this setting that I landed.
But gradually, I grew comfortable with my surroundings, I made a few friends, I discovered events and things to do in this city, I realized how close the city of Washington DC was from here and how beautiful its memorials and how wonderful its museums were. I also tried my hand at volleyball and more recently started running with a friend. I discovered specific Indian and Italian restaurants that appealed to my palette. And, without even realizing when it happened, I became comfortable here.
I also achieved to some extent what I came here for, an advancement for my career. I learnt a lot in these two and a half years, growing both professionally and personally. But now I feel is the right time to move on to something new. Baltimore wasn't my favourite place in the world to begin with and still isn't. I am in fact excited to be moving on to a new city, to a different lab and I don't even know if I'll miss what I have here. But, it is my first home in a foreign land, and for that, it will forever hold a special place in my heart.
So, is it time already?