Each time I visit Baltimore (Maryland) I get to enjoy spending time with good friends. It is in this way that I am treated to seeing special handpicked sites; the places chosen by good friends who take joy in sharing the places they love most where they live.
I have two good friends in Baltimore; one from college and another, a colleague and now good friend from my years in Israel. By some unexpected twist of fate they both ended up living about two blocks from each other. This is really nice because when I go I can see both together.
My friend and colleague is Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen, founder of the innovative early literacy program, Mother Goose on the Loose (MGOL). Betsy developed this program while we were living in Israel. We met when we learned together with the late Barbara Cass-Beggs, founder of the Listen Like Learn (LLL) and Your Baby Needs Music programs. We both fast became fans, instructors and teacher trainers. I continued implementing the program and adapting it to the needs of Israel while Betsy integrated LLL into her MGOL program. Both have been successful and well worth looking into if you have or work with babies and young children. Betsy and I continue to work together. Our most recent collaboration was her Goslings project for premature babies and their caregivers. I recorded the music. It was right up my alley as I work as a Therapeutic Musician. These trips always involve work meetings and also fun times!
The three of us have fond memories of previous visits that included trips to Washington, D.C.'s fabulous and impressive National Cathedral, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial - to mention a few. We've also been to the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum, which I totally enjoyed. On another occasion we strolled through the Ladew Topiary Gardens, a real treat!
In spite of the storm that delayed my flight until the next day, I arrived in Baltimore bright and early at 7:30am. That's a tough call for a night owl like me however arriving at such an early hour allowed for having the entire day to make up for lost time. There was time in the morning for my college friend and I to have breakfast and catch up since our last visit. In the afternoon we met up with my colleague and took advantage of the nice sunny weather to take a walk at Lake Roland and Jones Falls.
The next day we visited the National Aquarium. I noticed a plaque on the walkway to the aquarium that has some unusual writing on it. A closer look revealed that the writing on it was in Hangul or Korean. Curious as it was I was excited to see it because I have learned to read a bit in Hangul!
The aquarium is a beautiful place to visit. I enjoyed walking the spiral path where you can see all kinds of fish and other water animals. It seems we were there at feeding time. I found it amusing to watch the divers swimming around together with the fish in the great tank!
We totally enjoyed the exhibition of the "Jellies".
Unlike my previous visits I think the most interesting part of my trip was getting a personal tour of my good friend's own home! You will see from the pictures below that her home is speckled with beautiful older and very likely antique furniture. The walls are filled with beautiful art that my friend loves as well as personal family gems. Each item has its own history and story to tell. I was more than happy to hear the stories of family members and of many of the items in the home that belonged to them. It's so important to know and appreciate one's own family history, legends, and the unique ties and relationships of the extended family. This is something that is slowly being lost in today's minimalist trend. We must remember to appreciate and treasure the things we keep in our homes. They are most certainly things of beauty because they hold so many very important memories!