Over Christmas, I went on a cruise to the Bahamas. The trip had been a plan in the making for the past two years. My grandfather’s girlfriend, Pat, had organized the itinerary and invited all 28 family members to join. Amazingly, this was kept a secret, and for my grandfather’s 90th birthday, we all showed up in Miami where we definitely surprised him.
Not only was it a great way to celebrate my Papa, but it was also a really wonderful thing to spend time with this side of my family. There were cousins there who the last I saw had been a foot shorter than me, whereas now, they are at least a foot taller than me. The best part was rediscovering everyone’s new passions, plans, interests, and personalities. Family is family, and all I can say is that I’m so grateful to have them!
So yes, it’s been a long time since I have written here. That does not mean that nothing has been happening, or that my life has been lacking of adventures. In complete honesty, I’m lazy, and have been turning all my focus and attention on saving money for the next….the next….well, who knows what?
This time in New Orleans has been as per usual, a type of emotional roller coaster. However, I’m sure that it is not only New Orleans causing this life evaluation, but even more so the fact that I will be 29 in a couple of weeks….ya think??!!
September and October (and some of November) gave me a lot of time for personal insight. Especially with the aid of my dear friend, Erin, who seems to always be there to aid in hashing out the typical ‘what are we doing with life/love/happiness/potential’ questions. This inner work made for an interesting and somewhat reclusive Autumn. New Orleans can only allow for a little of this exclusivity before it has to impose on your daily life….
I had some rowdy Cubans neighbors (sadly, they moved away this week) who were never too shy to chat. Especially when they discovered that we would speak with them in Spanish. Almost once a week, I find a magazine on my front porch that is titled, “Latina.” This magazine includes all the new and hot make up tips, fashion, and dating advice in the Latina world….very interesting stuff.
One of the regular friends, who came to the Cubans house several days a week, drove a scooter. Granted, it wasn’t his scooter that made his presence known from within our walls, but his booming and raspy voice. I would wake up to hear him yelling about some debate with the neighbors on their porch.
“La bandera! La bandera!!!!”
There was always something he was passionately arguing about with his buddies.
It has only been a week since they moved out, but I miss them dearly. Especially now that I am left with our other neighbor whose house was in between the Cubans and mine.
Now, the other neighbor, he is a very kind man. We exchange pleasantries every time we see each other but then, in the night, maybe once or twice a week, I will hear a sound coming from the house that I have only been able to convince myself has to be someone having some sort of night terrors.
At the moment, my friend, Ali, has been living with me, after Erin left for Key West. Ali and I will be in the living room talking, and all the sudden, this horrific noise will come from the house next door. Like someone is having trouble breathing….it is BIZARRE.
Other ways New Orleans has been forcing its company into my life in ways I cannot ignore:
- Floras- Floras Café has been a safe haven for me for many years. I always seem to find some sort of inspiration there. Whether it be from an intellectual conversation with the owner, Ali, that always ends in an invite to dinner or escape from the cold or a great place to write, Floras always seems to provide me with some sort of inspiring experience.
- Little Maker- Little Maker is a band that I discovered because my dear friend Becca is the violin player in the group. They play every Thursday and Sunday. OK, truly, truly, I love them. After so long in New Orleans, and trust me, LOVING New Orleans music, especially brass bands, Little Maker is something different. No matter if it is a new song I’ve never heard, the sound and style always give me a sense of nostalgia of…of….I’m not sure what? Summer days? Sitting by the bayou or Lake Pontchartrain? Sailing on boat? Haha, all I can say is that seeing and listening to Little Maker makes me feel SO DAMN GOOD.
- Sobou- My job. I’ve been working at Sobou (a restaurant in the French Quarter) since September. It has been really awesome. Incredibly supportive, amazing food, awesome co-workers. What else to say? It makes me happy working there when I think of all the experiences that have stayed in my mind from past visits to New Orleans, where we would go to a restaurant and have…AN EXPERIENCE! Haha, I mean, where else do you go to eat, and have AN EXPERIENCE. Not only because the food is awesome, but because the staff is real, the ambience is made for it, and when all of those things come together, it is…well….an experience you don’t forget. One of the most beautiful and important parts of NEW ORLEANS! Right?
Just a couple of pics of some awesome co-workers…
So, New Orleans. I guess all of life is a roller coaster of growth, emotion, and so on. My time here has been very beneficial. I do have plans to travel soon, but for now, I am soaking up the little time I have left in this beautiful and strange place.