ICCA 2016

A thousand spectators, commanding lights, and the sounds of emotion in my ears.

Yesterday night, Johns Hopkins hosted an ICCA Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal, an event run by Varsity Vocals that brings a capella groups from around the region to show off 12-minute “sets”. A group’s set typically consists of three songs – each with a soloist, vocal percussion, bass, and backing vocals. In this quarterfinal, ten groups competed for two spots that would bring them to the Semi-final competition at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.


Cred: PhillyMag

We weren’t supposed to perform until much later that night, maybe 9 or 10 O’clock. All of the groups met earlier at 1:30 for a quick debrief/informational meeting, and then let go to do whatever they wanted until it was time to perform. After a short sound check at our assigned time, we headed back to polish and shape-up portions of our set. We changed into our outfits, and nervously (yet hopefully) talked about our would-be performance. Everyone felt tense, yet immensely proud of what was to come.

Performing with the JHU Octopodes last night was something else – it was the result of countless hours and days of repeated rehearsals, all culminating in a final musical presentation. To be honest, the performance itself was such a blur; I only vividly remember the moment when we finished our set. Maybe it’s because we ran through it so many times, or maybe it was just the adrenaline taking over.


Cred: Cindy Jiang

When the judges announced that our group had won first, the experience was nothing short of awesome. With everyone screaming and jumping all at once, I managed to capture snapshots of tears and joy of my friends despite all the frenzy. We even had some individual recognition in which some of our members won awards for best vocal percussion (Gabriel) and best song arrangement for the entire set (Joe and Katrina). Still shocked from the moment, we were asked to perform an encore song – something we definitely weren’t ready for (but it happened anyways).

As one of two teams competing in the Semifinals in Philadelphia, we have about a month to polish/change any part of our set. At Semifinals, my group (along with JHU_Joanna!) will be competing for the top spot which will take us to the ICCA Finals competition in New York (and once there, we’re also going to be featured on the Netflix series, Sing it On!). I don’t think I’m able to post any part of our set until we’re finished competing, so make sure to come out and watch us perform on March 26th!


Cred: Cindy Jiang

What I’m learning: Cognitive Neuroscience

Curious about the thumbnail? Read on!

I never knew what being a “neuroscience” major really meant when I came to Hopkins. I mean as a high school student I never studied the brain or the nervous system, and I guess being a “neuroscience” major sounded well, cool.

Only since coming here have I realized how valuable and intriguing studying neuroscience, especially at a place like Johns Hopkins, really is. Having basically chosen the major on a whim, the classes I’ve taken here and the people I’ve spoken to have only helped to further compel me into the major. They tell me their undergraduate education at Hopkins has more than prepared them for graduate school and jobs in a real world setting.

I’ve been told that the Hopkins undergraduate neuroscience program is so special because it really integrates neuroscience-specific classes for its undergraduates. Believe it or not, most universities don’t have neuroscience majors take major-specific classes until they’re juniors or seniors; many colleges don’t have a neuroscience program at all. On top of that, many of my friends and peers partake in neuro-related research with graduate, PhD students, and renowned faculty. So many students are able to find a plethora of opportunities because research labs are so welcoming of undergraduates and because there are so many resources nearby.

As a freshman, I’ve already taken three classes related to my major. This spring semester, I’m taking a class called Cognitive Neuroscience, and it’s by far the coolest class I’ve ever taken.

This year, the organization of the course is different than it’s ever been – students watch lecture material and do readings on their own time, then go to class twice a week. On one day, students go to small group “Active Learning” sessions of 10-15 students for material reinforcement and group problem solving. On the other day of the week, teaching assistants hold optional lecture review sessions where students are able to relearn material or ask further questions. The instructors formatted the class in a way that really encourages students to take their time to learn the material, and I think it speaks a lot towards how the Hopkins’ neuroscience program treats their students!

In the three weeks of class I’ve been in, we’ve already covered a variety of topics:

  1. Learn neuroanatomy and general brain functions
Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 1.01.11 PM

The software we use!


With the use of brain imaging software, we can look at different cross-sections of the brain to locate specific brain regions. We’re also using the imaging software to view lesions and neurodegenerative diseases!

  1. Different neuroimaging methods
Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 1.02.27 PM

wow science

We’ve analyzed various brain imaging methods such as fMRI, EEG, MEG and weighed the pros and cons of each.

  1. Studied various aspects of the Vision System
Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 1.04.35 PM

Now, look at the picture upside down!

Besides learning the anatomy of the vision system, we’ve learned about how it works in relation to our cortices and the workings of optical illusions and why we perceive them in certain ways.

Throughout the rest of the semester, whether it be learning about the auditory/olfactory/gustatory systems, listening to guest lecturers come in and speak, or reviewing cross-sections of brain slices, I know that Hopkins will be providing me with a particularly unique and relevant education that’s hard to find anywhere else.





Tomorrow the spring semester will start and everything will be familiar and different again.

These past three weeks of Intersession have been some of the most fulfilling and exhilarating times –  I’d even say these weeks have made up my favorite Hopkins experience so far. It’s nice not being in the midst of the typical daily grind; I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on how the past semester went, and to also re-align my interests for the next one.

I think it has to do with being at school, but not doing school – whether it be actually taking my time to enjoy the campus (instead of having to rush to class) or having an infinite block of time to sit and enjoy dinner with friends (rather than having to leave to finish homework), Intersession gives the student body a totally different vibe.

For the sake of having a diary of my favorite Intersession experiences (and to show off all the “cool” things I did), here’s what happened:

  1. Recorded an album with the JHU Octopodes

Two weeks into Intersession I headed up to Rochester, NY with my favorite acapella group to record an 8-track album for a couple of days. It was (for lack of putting it a better way) pretty insane to have the experience of tracking covers and original arrangements in a professional setting (thanks SledDog Studios!). I got to see all the ins and outs of the recording process all while being in the company of some of my best friends.


The studio we recorded at!

  1. Held a dinner party for 15 people

In my dorm at Peabody, the kitchen is pretty out of the way and really isn’t used that often. With all the more time on my hands, Intersession has instilled in me the courage to cook for the first time at college. I was originally just going to cook for myself and one other, but my entire floor caught drift and I ended up cooking for everyone.


  1. Learned the principles of musical conducting

Because Peabody is on a different academic schedule than Hopkins, I’ve had some of my music classes already start. One of my favorites is Conducting with Prof. Adam Waller, probably because it’s such an out of the box class. We’re always on our feet, twirling our arms around in fantastic and crazy patterns.


Somewhere along the lines of what we do…

  1. Took courses about Vaccines and Ion Channels

Arguably the reason why I did Intersession in the first place are the two Hopkins classes I took: Vaccines: Past, Present, and Future & Ions in Flux: From DNA to Disease. With professors teaching a very specific topic they’re knowledgeable and passionate about, taking academic classes during Intersession has been surprisingly refreshing. Of course the lack of homework might just be something that adds to the feeling…


Science n’ stuff.

  1. Discovered the brilliance of the game: Bananagram

Held in a banana-shaped sack of frustration and glory, the game Banangrams has got to be one of my greatest discoveries this Intersession. I’ve played countless games, again and again, with friends and strangers alike. (@JHU_Joanna –  I’ll beat you eventually)


It’s a love-hate relationship.

  1. Actually read 2 books from cover to cover

I can’t remember the last time I read a book for fun; I’ve always only read assigned readings for classwork and homework. I realize I’ve forgotten how relaxing it is to sit down in the cozy warmth of a coffee shop and read at whatever pace I want. I ended up doing this so often this Intersession that I blasted through two (pretty hefty) books: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. (I strongly recommended both of them!)

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 9.15.17 PM


  1. Had not 1, but 15 movie nights

I’m not even going to explain this because I’m ashamed at how much entertainment I’ve watched these past few weeks. (What I watched: Nightcrawler, Grave of the Fireflies, Silver Linings Playbook, The Cobbler, Meet the Fockers, Howl’s Moving Castle, Hot Fuzz, Snowpiercer, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Rain Man, Black Hawk Down, Bad Teacher, Kill Bill. This doesn’t include the however many hours of TV watched…)


Absolutely cry-worthy.


I’m from California. Just look at this picture – you’ll understand.


Picture Credits:

Picture #1 – http://www.thevocalcompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sds-studio-empty.jpg

#3 – http://www.allthingsstrings.com/var/ezwebin_site/storage/images/media/images/nezet_marco_borggrreve_/1860175-1-eng-US/Nezet_Marco_Borggrreve__xlarge.jpg

#4 – http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v449/n7162/images/449545a-f1.2.jpg

#5 – http://www.thetoyinsider.com/wp/wp-

#6 – http://also.kottke.org/misc/images/wolf-in-white-van.jpg

#7 – http://s4.photobucket.com/user/paradorlounge/media/foer.jpg.html

#8 – http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71qMlebtjuL._SL1280_.jpg








Whenever I tell people the instrument I play, they automatically assume I do jazz. It makes sense, the saxophone can be heard throughout all jazz styles of ragtime, bebop, swing, and others. Jazz is an awesome style of music, but it isn’t what I primarily study at Peabody.


Bill Clinton played the sax?!

The classical saxophone studio at Peabody consists of about 15 undergraduate and graduate students, all taught under Prof. Gary Louie. While the saxophone isn’t a regular part of symphonic orchestra (you can find it in military/wind bands), there’s still a lot of classical repertoire out there for us saxophonists to play.

Sometimes it almost feels weird playing the saxophone from a classical standpoint, especially because there’s this overwhelming notion that the instrument is for jazz purposes only. There’s also the fact that the saxophone was invented too late for many of the well known symphonic works (yes, I’ll always be sour about that). But I think that the saxophone holds a special place in classical music because of its relative rarity – the tone and sound of the instrument is distinctively melancholy yet filled with so much power and clarity. (See the end of this blog post for some pieces I’m working on!)

Because there are such few classical saxophonists out there (compared to other classical instruments), we’re able to create our own special niches in the classical world through solo performing, small chamber music groups, premiering new works and compositions, teaching, and other unique ways. Being a classical saxophonist is about going against the grain of what it means to be a classical musician, but also embodying every aspect of what a classical musician should be.


Our beloved Peabody Wind Ensemble (PWE)

After a semester of living at Peabody (the music conservatory campus), I’m grown to better understand what it means to be a musician. In the presence of extremely talented, hilarious, and inspiring teachers (I promise I’ll interview some of them someday!) and peers, I’ve come to really love what I’m doing here at school. Bring on the music!


As promised above, my “homework” for saxophone lessons. Take a listen to the types of pieces I’m working on! 

Solo repertoire work:

Sonata for Alto Saxophone, Op. 19 by Paul Creston – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLaJHdbhqZI

Tableaux de Provence by Paul Maurice – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrykcPOEWRs

Wind Ensemble pieces:

Roman Carnival Overture, Op. 9 by Hector Berlioz – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJ_KlnQaOc4

Hold this Boy and Listen by Carter Pann – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_Fw_ov-KKk

Four Scottish Dances, Op.59 by Malcolm Arnold – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7XcYCh2vzw

A Child’s Garden of Dreams by David Maslanka – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCZdgrTCR6s









Research Adventures #1


one of the biggest aspects that our university prides itself on. As the first research university in the nation, Hopkins doesn’t disappoint. Being the primary U.S. academic institution invested in research (leading the nation in research spending for 36 years), Hopkins has spent over $2.2 billion in fiscal 2014 alone.

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 1.11.25 AM

Graphs n’ stuff.

Even our motto says it all: “Veritas vos liberabit”, or “The Truth Will Set You Free”. We pride ourselves on being intellectually curious – Hopkins students are conducting research on an impressive variety of topics all over the world. Whether it be uncovering the public health impacts of operating room supplies to researching the differences in interpretations of Bach Cello Suites, Hopkins is an awesome place to be.

With an impressive network of connections to the school of medicine, international studies, public health, music, and more, research can be done in all sorts of directions, all at the same time.

As I begin my undergraduate experience here at Hopkins, I’ll keep a continuing record of my research adventures. It’s only been a mere semester, but I’ve already found eager mentors and teachers to help me get started. As a student majoring in music and neuroscience, it would make sense for me to somehow combine the two, right?


Because, why not?!

Although I haven’t actually started tangible experiments yet, I’ve come up with a research proposal with the help of my mentor, Dr. Serap Bastepe-Gray. As a medical doctor and guitar faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory, Dr. Bastepe-Gray focuses a lot of her research on the relationship and rehabilitation of musician-related injuries.

With Dr. Bastepe-Gray’s help, we devised an experiment that explores the effects of auditory imagery on improvisational performance. You know how as humans we’re able to close our eyes and visually picture something random like a pink elephant? We can do the same with sounds, pitches, tempi (speed), dynamics (relative loudness). How does mentally preparing for improvisation, an activity that supposedly cannot be prepared, affect a musician’s ability to improvise music? Is there an explicit and neurological difference between “on-the-spot creation” and “prepared creation” in music? Does mentally preparing for improvisation even make it improvisation after all?

With a handful of jazz musicians, data analysis software, surveys, and judges, we’ll hopefully be able to uncover the beginnings to some of these questions. This semester, we’ve applied for a grant in order to fund our research project (fingers crossed for the announcement in January)!

With the end of my first semester here at Hopkins, it’s only really been the end of the beginning. With at least 7 semesters left to go, I’ll be sure to document my future research adventures every step of the way.


Graphic #1: Source

Graphic #2: Source


An Invitation to Anthropology

As a neuroscience and music double major, I get a nice variety of classes that satisfy my seemingly conflicting interests. My first semester here at Hopkins has yet to disappoint; I’m taking music classes that range from Ear Training to Music Theory, and neuroscience classes which range from a neuropsychology course to general biology. With registration for Intersession and Spring semester finished, I’m set to take an even more fascinating set of classes in the near future.

There’ll be another day when I introduce what those classes are and how I think they’ll shape up to my hopes and expectations, but I’d like to focus on a particularly unusual course I took this semester: An Invitation to Anthropology.

While yes, there is no practical reason to take the class (as it doesn’t count towards fulfilling any of my major requirements), the course has influenced the way I think. It’s easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of factual science and the infinite freedom of music; an Invitation to Anthropology has given me distance, a chance to analyze situations from the role as an outsider.

It’s how our graduate TA described it:

Imagine you’re in a room without a light switch. Anthropology gives us a torch and urges us to boldly uncover different aspects of the room. We illuminate one corner and move onto the next, but each new area we see complicates and relates to what we’ve previously seen. That’s anthropology: complicating the snapshot of what humankind is by uncovering the unseen.

The Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins prides itself on being “one of the few in the country that focuses exclusively on socio-cultural anthropology”. The literature we’ve read and discussed in class has been both puzzling and distinctive:

41iRLtF2RpL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship, by Aaron Goodfellow

The very first book we read which discussed the struggles and successes of queer kinship in America. Written by a member of JHU’s anthropology department, the book shows the complex relationship between gay families, social interactions, and state-wide institutions.


5017598Ghosts of War in Vietnam, by Heonik Kwon

Set in the post-war era of Vietnam, this book introduces the idea of ghosts as essential social actors in the Vietnamese community. Kwon uncovers the complex relationship between the living and the undead, and shows how the unfamiliar can become familiar after all.



9780990505044The Anti-Witch, by Jeanne Favret-Saada

Favret-Saada’s ethnography traces the complex relationships and interactions between witches and farmers in rural French farms. She compromises these relationships by including herself in the mix, speaking towards how her own perspective as an ethnographer complicates her analytical work.




Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Written by a current author who is known for discussing the current-day social and political scenes in America, this book is a sort of integrated biography which discusses the author’s experiences growing up as a black individual. The book is actually a letter to the author’s son, and provides a unique ethnographical stance.


Along with these major works, we’ve explored shorter ethnographies and snippets of other anthropologically-related literature. The course has been a whirlwind of discussing perplexing ideas and questioning thought-to-be concrete conclusions, and it’s instilled in me a unique perspective I’m only beginning to see. It’s urged me to piece together the seemingly unrelated, and it’s invited me to uncover the dark, hidden room of what anthropology means to me.



Why Music?

With a crazy amount of class credits, inconveniences in transportation, a constant worry about social integration at each school, and thoughts about the practical future, the Hopkins-Peabody dual degree has really got me thinking.

It seems that each of us (dual degree students) tends to gravitate towards a certain area of interest: academics or music. And while we carry these pursuits side by side, one of them seems to be of greater importance. For me, at this time and place, it’s the Hopkins side of things.

For me, this poses the question of:

Why am I pursuing a degree in music?

If I’m already pursuing another degree in something that seems more practical and enjoyable to me, what role does music have in my life? Why do I feel the need to get an official degree in saxophone performance when music is one of those things that anyone can just pick up? Besides, being in an acapella group seems like it would satiate my musical desires (and in truth, it does). So why try and pursue something I’m not as passionate about, especially if it detracts from the academic performance I want to achieve for future plans?

By no means do I have answers to any of these questions, but through talking with other dual degree students and musicians, I’ve gotten a better understanding of what it means to be where I currently am.

Like many others, I’ve been playing music from a really early age. For all of us, it seems to start unwillingly, but as we grow older, music becomes more than enjoyable. It becomes a(n) activity lifestyle we just can’t leave behind. Pursuing this bachelor’s degree doesn’t only mean that I get continuity with something that I love, it allows me to transcend and enrich an aspect of myself that I hold so very close.

While in the moment, practicing for hours on end for an upcoming lesson and doing tomorrow’s music theory homework are such daunting tasks, they’re helping me to become a better musician, and in turn, a better person. I’ve just been so worried about the practicality of what I’m doing here in college, and I’ve forgotten that a big part of why I’m doing music is for me.

If anything, I’m more than grateful to be where I currently am. At the beginning of the semester, I complained about how I wasn’t getting the typical college experience but it’s because I’m not that I’ve been able to find out of the box opportunities (such as research between music and neuroscience). My time here at Hopkins and Peabody has been humbling and enriching, and for what I want and plan to do, I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else.


Last Saturday, the angry city-goers stuck in a half-day road block must have had a terrible day.

But for the 17,000 participants of the Baltimore Running Festival and the rest of the Baltimore community that took the time to be involved, I imagine that the experience couldn’t have been any more rewarding.


This year marks the 15th anniversary!

At the end of Summer before coming to Hopkins (when you know, everyone’s afraid of leaving their tight-knit high school friends), one of my good friends (currently at Brown University) and I foolishly decided to sign up for the half-marathon in hopes of forcing us to: 1. Visit each other, and 2. EXERCISE. So, we pledged to exercise 6-days a week, so that we could absolutely destroy the half-marathon at the end of October.

Fast-forward to the week before the marathon. Our conversation went a little something like this:

Me: “Hey, have you been exercising?”

Friend: “That’s hilarious.”

And that’s when we knew we were extremely screwed for what we signed up for. Although both of us did 4 years of cross country and track & field together in high school, both of us hadn’t run since the end of senior year.

Running the actual half-marathon wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be (it was still horribly painful), and because we ran at a reasonably constant pace, we basically jogged all 13.1 miles of it. The 2 hour run gave us time to catch-up and also enjoy the surprising scenery of nature landscapes, contrasting Baltimore neighborhoods, and the beautiful inner harbor. Along the way, community members from all over cheered us on with hilarious posters and encouraging cheers.

Here’s a small picture diary of the experience!


Immediately after the race, we were led to a finisher area that had tents filled with fruits and chips for post-race recovery. That part of the half-marathon experience is a blur, but I still remember wolfing down 6 or 7 bags of chips while trying to wobble around on my numb legs.

There’s something about the Baltimore Running Festival that struck me as heartening. Besides the fact that my friend and I conquered 13.1 miles we thought we couldn’t, running with the Baltimore community and seeing all the runners/supporters throughout the entire city was just amazing. I wish I could find a better word to describe the experience, but it was just that.

Here’s to next year’s race!


“Yeah, Peabody! I’ve been to that library; it’s so pretty!!!”

I get it. Everyone always talks about how you have to go to Peabody, just to see the stunningly beautiful architecture of the George Peabody Library.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 3.24.00 PM

[Impressed by the pictures? You HAVE to see it in person.]

It’s true, the George Peabody Library does deserve all the attention it gets. It’s so beautiful that people even reserve the library for private events like weddings and concerts!

But let’s talk about what The Peabody Institute actually is.

The institute was founded in 1857 by a philanthropist named George Peabody, and is the oldest music conservatory in the United States. In 1985, the conservatory became a division of the Johns Hopkins University – since then, the affiliation has allowed students and staff to explore research from a multi-disciplinary standpoint. Outside of offering degrees in music performance, composition, recording arts, and more, numerous students from Johns Hopkins pick up a music minor or take weekly lessons with any one of Peabody’s highly regarded faculty members.

So yes, while Peabody has one heck of a library, it is at its core a MUSIC school.


[“There will be over 1,000 performances on this block this year. Join us!”]

Isn’t that just crazy to think about? Every time I walk from the 7-11 just outside of Peabody, this huge banner stares me in the face. More than ONE THOUSAND performances, all in just one year – that’s 2-3 concerts per day!

Why not come to Peabody for its music? The concerts here are so well-rehearsed, extremely professional, and infinitely interesting. There are concert symphonies, orchestras, operas, jazz bands, quartets, student recitals, and literally so much more.

What’s even better? Almost all the concerts are FREE or DISCOUNTED to JHU students and staff. While ticket prices will obviously vary from concert to concert, you can usually get free tickets for events if you buy them online beforehand. (Find upcoming concerts and learn more about purchasing tickets at peabody.jhu.edu!)

Just this past week, I’ve already been to 3 Peabody concerts, and each was completely different and breath-taking.

The first was an opera featuring a work by Michael Hersch and soprano singer Ah Young Hong. The experience was something that can’t really be put into words, but it was one of the most moving performances I’ve ever seen. There’s an opera review that will better describe the experience than I can found here.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 3.33.48 PM

[A truly thought-provoking and emotional night.]

The second was an awesome jazz ensemble concert put on by fellow Peabody classmates from the Peabody Jazz Ensemble, and the entire audience was grooving out by the end of the performance. The ensemble featured works by Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, and more. If you’re into jazz or just want to see what it’s about, I’d definitely recommend going. The group is insanely talented, and the concerts are free for students/staff!


[Shout out to the few Hopkins students I saw at the concert!]

The last concert I saw this week was not at Peabody, but at the nearby Enoch Pratt Free Library a couple blocks away. Another friend (who happens to be a Dual Degree Student!) performed harp pieces there with her studio for the public. There was something about the sound of the harp in the large echo-y space that seemed ethereal.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 3.33.55 PM

[Some snapshots from the event!]

Artists at Peabody put in ridiculous amounts of hours a day practicing, rehearsing, and fine-tuning everything they can to perform their hearts out, and that in itself is admirable. Maybe (more than) once in a while, take the JHMI shuttle over and see what they’ve been working on. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

[Sources: Picture #1: mmmbaltimore2014.org. Picture #2: http://peabodyevents.library.jhu.edu.]

A Weekend Away

People have been telling me to go explore Balti(more)^2, but with student groups starting and midterms coming up, it feels like there’s already enough to do on campus. Last weekend was the first time I really got out of Hopkins and Peabody, and it’s definitely been my favorite college experience to date.

Saturday morning started with breakfast at the Papermoon Diner, where some friends and I ate pancakes and bacon to our hearts content. The diner is a mere 5-minute walk from the Homewood campus, and it’s filled with super funky decorations and quirks that were both hilarious, creepy, and mesmerizing all at the same time. The service was fantastic, the food was to die for, and the experience was a one-of-a-kind thing. I’d definitely recommend checking it out here!

These pictures are really just the beginning.

The rest of the day was a retreat trip with the Octopodes (read more about acapella groups from JHU_Jackie’s blog here!) to Washington D.C. Although we only stayed in D.C. for a day, we ran into numerous festivals, had a hard time choosing where to eat from the infinite amount of restaurants available, and explored some of the coolest museums I’ve ever been to. As part of an acapella group, we even sang an arrangement of one of our songs at Union Station!


Museum giftshops are the greatest.

On Sunday, I went with my Peabody friends to the Baltimore Farmers’ Market where we spent the morning. The market is about a 10-minute walk from both Peabody and the Inner Harbor, and there are about a hundred different stalls selling a variety of foods, fruits, flowers, and art. I ended up buying a TON of fruits, apple cider, and some art to decorate my room! We ended up spending hours at the market, getting lost in the sea of people and all the cool things to buy.


Some snapshots from my first farmer’s market experience!

Although the school year is really starting to pick up, making time to go explore Baltimore and beyond is something I plan to do every week. Whether it be going to the upcoming Mushroom Festival, Fall Harvest at the Inner Harbor, or Halloween at Federal Hill, I’m not worried that I’ll have nothing to do. Actually, it’s more that I’m frustrated that I can’t be going to all these cool and wacky city experiences…

From touring popular neighborhoods to finding quirky eateries to stumbling upon unknown city festivities, I’m starting to see why Baltimore’s called “Charm City”! I can’t wait to see what other hidden gems await.


Just had to toss in another creepy picture from the Papermoon Diner…