March 24th, 2008
Arriving in Baltimore, I meet up with Daniel and Andrew at Baggage Claim, and proceed to catch a taxi. As soon as we load our bags in the back of the cab, the monstrous Russian driver asks us “Where to?”
“Cherry Hill” Andrew responds.
The giant’s eyes widen as he shakes his head and says “I don’t go to Cherry Hill, and neither should you.”
Jace, a recent graduate of the PPA and Business Honors programs resisted the corporate lifestyle by dedicating two years to Teach For America at one of the toughest schools in the United States. Daniel and Andrew had visited him before and knew what to expect; I however, was not accustomed.
Being the only white person in a densely populated school is nothing new for me, but to walk into the decrepit halls where the students cannot drink the water out of the water fountains because it has lead in it was another experience. We played multiplication bingo in Mr. (Jace) Goodier’s class and I’ll have to admit, there were a few I had to think on. Teaching is a very noble cause, but boy it is exhausting.
After school we headed back to Jace’s apartment in Baltimore, located in the center of a high crime area.
“What are those blue flashing lights on top of the stoplights?”
“They’re an indicator of high crime areas, letting people know that the police are watching very closely.”
And surprisingly, I never felt unsafe; granted everywhere I went I was accompanied by a minimum of three guys, so that might have played in to the “safety factor.”
So of Jace’s three other roommates, two of them were non-Texans, hailing from New York and Ohio. Whenever there are 3+ Texans in the company of less (we had six) it is standard that you point out Texas superiority and introduce them to the wonderful ways of the Lone Star State. We ate chili (without beans… that’s the Yankee way) for supper until Tice, our friend working in D.C. came to pick us up.
My first visit to our Nation’s Capital was fast and furious. We visited many museums, monuments and pubs, trying to fit as much as we could into the short amount of time that we had. From getting to see the Spirit of St. Louis at the Air & Space Museum to enjoying dessert at the White House, I would say it was a pretty successful trip. Georgetown was a beautiful area and was comforted by the southern menu served at Old Glory. On this trip I also had Ethiopian food for the first time, however I do not think that I will be eating it again any time soon. I think this section of the trip would be best described in pictures:
In parting, I did not by any means have a traditional spring break filled with booze, beach and bikinis. If I had to describe overall the continuity of my trip, it was one of patriotism, history and service. Not a typical theme for a spring break, but it worked out nicely for me.