I found myself absolutely delighted with today. I stayed up late (I am confused about the time so I read until 3 in the morning, a guilty pleasure which would not be possible with my usual 6 AM alarm to get Maya ready for school) and woke up late. It had been raining through the night, which reminded me of the jungle, where so often my night time lullaby is the rain. Of course, here in Baltimore, it was cold and gray, and not a bit of sunshine shone through.
Emily and I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods, which was usually too expensive for me when I lived in Baltimore, but the produce is gorgeous, and I spent my time looking for fruits from Ecuador. I found Mexican mangos, but little else that looked remotely Ecuadorian. Whole Foods is a welcoming sort of place to shop, nothing like Megamaxi or the local fruit stand in Quito, but better than any other choices in Baltimore. I wonder what foods I will miss when I leave Ecuador. Definitely popcorn, which tastes better in Ecuador than anywhere else.
I walked to the Starbucks near Johns Hopkins University again for coffee (can't get enough good coffee!) and a glorious visit to Barnes and Noble. I miss English books in Quito. Although there are English sections in Libri Mundi and a few English bookstores, choice is always limited. I have a irresistible attraction to crisp new books. I found titles on the shelves that looked interesting and put them on my kindle, and met with Sandi and Sarah to catch up and discuss school choices for Maya. There is a Montessori charter school that several of Maya's friends go to, but it has a 600 person waiting list. Sandi is a schoolteacher and knows many of the teachers at Maya's former school and reassured me about grade 5 instruction. In Quito, Maya has been in grade 5 this year, but would return to grade 5 in Baltimore. Grade 5 in Quito is grade 4 here, so the transfer should not be too confusing. Sarah made suggestions for books to buy Maya, which now fill half of my suitcase and may be too heavy to carry without paying duty. In Quito, Maya reads the same books over and over again and I feel I must relieve her and bring her new material. The ten books or so that I have bought will be inhaled in a week!
I like walking through the fog and mist. I wandered again to Peabody to pick up information for Maya and check on any performances for the afternoon, and then walked up Charles Street back to Johns Hopkins and Emily's house. I think I walked ten miles in the rain and the mist and as it was getting dark, Emily and Nathan got worried and drove the car to look for me. It feels good to walk, and I like not driving around. I would never have thought of walking these long distances when I lived here before, but having walked all over in Quito, it is a new experience to see Baltimore from this perspective. The city is very walkable, although there are some parts that feel a little unsafe, it was Sunday today and when I saw crowds of people, they were coming out of church. I never realized how many churches there are in Baltimore. They are on every corner walking down St Paul's and up Charles Street. I had never paid much attention before, but not that I am on my feet, I see so much more.
I came home just in time. The moment I stepped in the house, the heavens opened up and thunder and lightning and buckets of water fell out of the sky.