It was 17 years ago that I met Matthew in Atlanta, Ga. (he lived across the street) and three months from then that we were living together (yeah that was an awkward conversation with my mom). Our first trip as a couple was a drive to New Orleans and instantly (like everyone else on earth) we fell in love (with New Orleans, we were already in love). Two years into my living in Atlanta we had discussed the possibility of moving to New Orleans but I got a newspaper job offer back in New Jersey and for the first time in our life we had to decide what to do. I chose New Jersey (Matt followed three months later).
After two years of living in Jersey City, Matt had decided he wanted to move to Berlin, Germany and so we quit our jobs and off to Europe we went. Traveling from Amsterdam to Budapest and back and once again asking ourselves where we should live when we got back to the States. Sitting in a Thai restaurant in the Jordan we came up with three choices: Jersey City, Atlanta or New Orleans. An old man on his way out the door came over to our table, knocked on it and said, “Say Hello to C-Town for me. I vote Jersey City.” So Jersey City it was.
After a few years we went to Jazzfest and once again, for the third time, New Orleans called our name. We got married the spring of 2001 and we all know what happened the fall of 2001 and once again we found ourselves questioning where we should move. But this time we focused on Matt’s home state of Maryland. I attended MICA and so it was.
In the past 10 years we have been nothing but happy. We’ve lived good lives, had good times, made good friends. When we first bought our house I remember being told we “had” to live here for three years for the tax credit and I remember thinking, “shit can I last three years?” but we lasted ten and have become the block stalwarts. Matt goes fishing with his dad regularly, we always have a freezer full of venison and fish, I’ve become a crab snob, and I won’t lie, even for a Jersey Girl that damn “O” will come out of my mouth. We adore Baltimore, we adore Maryland, and we adore our friends and proximity to the beach and family.
So why is it that after our most recent trip to New Orleans, Matt is looking at jobs at Tulane and houses in the Lower Garden District? There just seems to be some sort of draw to that city for us. And I think the truth is that is just when we are at an unhappy point in our lives we dream of New Orleans. Just yesterday we were watching a Cooking Channel show that went to Breaux Mart and we jumped up and screamed “BREAUX MART!!!” like it meant something to us. It’s just a grocery store. At best we bought bananas and Gatorade there.
It’s been a few weeks since we’ve been back from our most recent trip and in all honesty going from 80-degree weather, totally awesome friendly folk and amazing food to 40s and people being miserable just sunk back in. The idea for the fourth (or is it fifth) time of moving to New Orleans has come back. Like an old friend who you love dearly but you know will eventually ask for money, that’s New Orleans to us. So we’ve been looking at jobs, looking at apartments, talking about the possibility of moving but then Charm City reared its ugly head.
For those of you who don’t know, there is a reason Baltimore is called Charm City and it couldn’t be more prominent than it is in the Spring. Our Cherry Tree is flowering, we ran into friends on Friday night, got a text from my good gym friend right before she boarded her cruise and met a very drunk guy who had awesome advice on how I could be a better Aunt. Yesterday, we stopped by the grocery store for snacks but they were selling hot dogs outside (my favorite, all the better) and then we went to go get wine and they had a company giving away free snacks (which were awesome) and then we mosied on up the hill home only to catch a guy playing piano in an extra large alleyway where neighbors had set up tables for a party. Today, we stopped by our favorite bar for a Kitchen Sink Burger and the best Dub was playing and I said to Matt, “If we wandered in here on vacation right now we’d think this was the best place.” It’s been a weird weekend because it’s been like Baltimore has been listening and saying, “Um, where the hell do you think you are going?”