Sweet Caroline

Neither a Kennedy nor a Princess of Monaco

Let your mother make your bed at move-in

my dad and I at our house before the 13-hour drive!

Time definitely moves quickly when you’re having fun! In four days, I board a plane at O’Hare airport to go back for my last year at Homewood. I’m all prepared: I’ve hired movers to help get my and my roommates’ things from the basement storage unit to our apartment on the third floor, made an appointment to install wifi, turn on the electricity, and drafted a shopping list of what I’ll need to buy at CVS when I arrive on Friday (not to mention dreaming about my Peko Peko order for my first dinner back in Balti).


But I’m also thinking about my mother’s favorite Onion article, titled “Mom’s Fears About Daughter Leaving For College Channeled Into Fight About Storage Bins.” During my freshman year, my whole family – mom, dad, and brother – all came out to help me move in. We made the 13-hour drive from Chicago with all of my stuff in one day (my advice: think carefully about what you really want/need to bring). And, predictably, there was some sniping at each other on the trip and during move-in, but it was all out of love. I’m the oldest kid and so of course it was hard to watch their daughter move out of the house. I can’t imagine what it’s like for my little brother, with only three people living back in Chicago – my entire, since I was 5 years old, I’ve known these three people around me all the time.

my dad and I at our house before the 13-hour drive!
my dad and I at our house before the 13-hour drive!

So my advice to you is, let your parents baby you a little bit during move-in: let your mom make your bed, let your dad build the shelves, and remember that if you get a little irritated now, in a few hours, you’ll be on your own in a whole new place! Soak up the time you have with your family now.

In the interest of doing just that, here’s a few recommendations of where to visit with your family before they leave you 🙂 (below are all placed I’ve eaten in Balti with my family – we haven’t gotten one wrong yet!!)

hanging around the inner harbor the night we arrived :)
hanging around the inner harbor the night we arrived 🙂

My mom and I went to Tamber’s for dinner the night before I left for my pre-O program, as it’s a Hopkins classic. It’s an American-Indian fusion diner, good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and just a block from campus!

Since move-in is in August, ice cream at the Charmery in nearby Hampden is crucial! Honestly the Hampden neighborhood as a whole is a fantastic, fun, artsy place to walk around in the summer, and it also is home to….

Golden West Cafe – for me it’s particularly special because when I first visited as a prospective applicant, it’s where my mom, brother, and I went to lunch after my tour! I remember us talking about everything I would do here at Hopkins, and even if we were mostly incorrect, I’ve gotten to do pretty cool stuff all the same.

Also a fantastic neighborhood that you’ll hear a lot about it Mount Vernon, home to our beautiful Peabody campus, and the amazing Ryleigh’s Oyster Bar – their crab pretzels are to die for, and they have sweet oyster deals!

me @ Zaatar
me @ Zaatar

Finally, my favorite restaurant in Baltimore (and probably the whole world): the incomparable, delicious, amazing, fantastic Zaatar. Hummus? Yes. Falafel? Yes. Schwarma? Yes. Baklavah? Yes. IT IS ALL SO DELICIOUS. And the owners are an amazingly kind family to boot (and will probably remember you if you come back!).

So, in conclusion, indulge your parents, incoming freshmen. It’ll be a long two months before you see them again at Parents’ Weekend.

Hopkins in the Rain


Spring has sprung, April showers bring May flowers, and all that.

The rain is in fine form today with showers making our hundreds of SOHOP visitors all wet. Yesterday was absolutely beautiful – 70 degrees, sunny, just the right amount of breeze, tons of people on the Beach. Today is the opposite: a little chilly and absolutely pouring down, with the water gushing down Charles Street and creating inches deep puddles.

 black and white disney vintage rain storm GIF

Here are some pro-tips for managing the rain here in Baltimore (now entering mom-mode):

  • Have an umbrella. Seems like a no-brainer, but make sure you come to campus with a big, wide umbrella. Probably be willing to spend a few bucks on a nice one – I know the bookstore has these giant Hopkins umbrellas with nice wood handles.
  • Rain boots! So so so useful especially when you’re in a rush to class. You don’t have to worry about water getting in your shoes when you splash in a puddle two minutes before your 9am class
  • A good rain slicker. Could be as easy as picking up a $2 poncho from CVS but you’ll be so much happier when you don’t have to sit in class slightly damp and very very cold
  • Stock up on a few plastic bags. Why? Protect your notes and laptop from the rain! wrap your notebooks and laptop in the bag and stick it in your backpack for an extra layer to keep everything dry
  • Find the best indoor routes to and from places. For example – to get from Commons to Gilman Hall, you can usually walk across the Beach and onto the Quad. But in the rain, you can poke through the library, go into Krieger Hall, then into Ames Hall, and then into the side door of Gilman. You’ll learn by doing it a lot. A lot.
Image result for johns hopkins university umbrella
members of the JHU community brave the rain to pay respects at the real Johns Hopkins’ grave every year

On the other hand though, the rain is my absolutely favorite weather. Hopkins is so nice because it has so many giant windows and you can see the entire campus with it coming down. I remember I was in the Brody reading room – which has amazing floor to ceiling windows – and it started just coming down in buckets. And everyone for a moment looked up outside at the rain for a few minutes. It was a weird moment of universal connection where some people even stood up by the windows for a while. The rain is calming and a nice change – and it means that spring and flowers are on the way. Just make sure you have all the resources to enjoy it!

Old Hollywood Films dance rain musicals gene kelly GIF