August and Everything

August is this creepy little month that sneaks up behind me while I’m laughing and oblivious in July and says, Hey. Buck up. A lot of things are about to change, and it’s going to be hard for a minute, and very cold, but there’s coffee, at least, and fireplaces, and when it’s over, you’ll be okay.

Last fall, I packed up my comfy little 400 sq. foot apartment and said goodbye to New Orleans. I cried through 3 Gulf states, thought I didn’t know why at the time, and said goodbye to Jeff. Three weeks later, I was knee-deep in grapefruit-o-lanterns and Belizean 8-year-olds.

Two falls ago, I stuffed SJP and Sprinky into the Rendezvous and drove to New Orleans, threw my things into a supply closet, got evacuated for Gustav during orientation, and came back 3 weeks later a total stranger, still. A month after that I was dressed like a Ninja fighting pirates on Jackson Square. With friends.

Three falls ago I was meeting my French uncle at a train station in Marseilles. I don’t speak French. He doesn’t speak English. I hadn’t seen him in ten years. Three falls ago, Katie died.

Four falls ago, I got rejected to 14 grad schools. For writing. Which ruined my whole plan. Tale spin.

Five falls ago, I was driving a 24-foot diesel truck, on fire, from Austin to Beaumont and living out of a 50-degree medication closet. Red Cross. Katrina.

Eleven falls ago, my aunt died.  In a car accident. Just like that.

So here I am, in fall. In that strange quiet sunlight, with those twirly little yellow leaves, a ten minute drive from family, in a cozy home, with the most kind and loving husband, three little nieces, jobs we are blessed to have, access to pumpkin spice lattes- and I feel panicky. Even when I’m happy, I’m anxious.  And even sometimes, sad.

I think August is really saying: Hey. Your aunt died.
She would have been 50 last week.
And further still, August is really really saying: life is out of control.
I’ve never been able to dissociate fall from that feeling.

But it’s only a season.
N.N. says it better than me:

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what’s to come
You are autumn

And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter

And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

N. Nordeman

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2008, we did the best we could.


January
Moved to Belize. *Carry-on bag wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment. Attendant made me take out bulge on top, which happened to be a Ziploc gallon-sized bag of underwear. Held underwear on lap for duration of the flight.

Lived on an Iguana reserve. Learned how to do laundry with a hose. Experienced Belizean wedding and funeral in the same week. Set out to teach everything I knew about conflict resolution, drugs, and AIDS. Learned everything I know about love. Got accepted into grad school.

February Caught a parasite, hiked to the top of a ruin, swam in a cave, experienced my first Belizean election and confirmation. Fought a piñata. Lost.

March Overcame fear of spiders. Discovered a new love for choco-bananas. Played with a monkey. Met real Guatemalan Indians in Guatemala. Bought skirt from them. Watched the Ruta Maya river race. Said goodbye to the Caribbean. Understood that life would never be the same.

April Got a niece! Heart opened a little wider. Fell in love with her.
Turned 27. Panicked. Cut my own bangs.

May Got another step-family. Danced! Celebrated! Laughed!
First laid eyes on my new city, New Orleans. Stabbed my foot with a parking lot spike.

June Went back to work at Boys and Girls Club. Happy to find that I still loved the kids. Got shingles. Thought I was dying.

July Sold everything I owned on Craigslist. Moved out of Fort Wayne (ten years!) Received Carrie Bradshaw as a parting gift.

August Moved to New Orleans. Found the two-story target, which I had previously thought was an urban legend. Took a family vacation to Destin. Came back. Became acquainted with city life. Loved it. Went to Tulane for student orientation after a month of waiting. Got evacuated for Gustav at lunch.

September Stayed evacuated for two and a half weeks. Went back to school. Dropped ten pounds for lack of friends.

October Made friends! Gained ten pounds. Heard that Taylor Fort Wayne would be closing. Felt orphaned. Dressed up like a ninja and fought pirates on Jackson square.

November Watched history unfold in the TSSW building with snacks and wine. Found out Bry and Jess are pregnant again. Went to Belize. Delivered school supplies. Painted a cafeteria. Provided flood relief with two armed guards on the Guatemalan border. Became acquainted with Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, the tarantulas. Realized I had not overcome fear of spiders. Had the sweetest reunions I could ever imagine at San Marcos School.

Learned that a plan is usually unfolding around me even when I am not still or patient enough to see it. Discovered that if I feel lost even for a second, all I have to do is ask for help. Understood the beauty in a prayer that goes, “Hi God, I’m an idiot and I don’t trust myself. Could you make this one clear for me?” Trusted completely. Found out I am purposed. Convinced Tulane I am purposed. Doing last semester internship in Belize!

December Wrote a thousand papers. Failed a final. Got all A’s!
Watched snow fall in New Orleans. Saw Lily take her first 3 steps.
Went to Chicago. Smile.

And then I woke up in the Cafeteria, naked.

Dearest friends and family.

I know it’s been forever, but besides the fact that I have no more time for writing (which isn’t really true, because I do it anyway) I was paralyzed for a short time by the fact that 58 new people who don’t really know me are all over my internet space.

Don’t worry, I invited them. Then I went and started a giant group on facebook. Then I realized this internet business is a two-way street (which my grandpa always warned me about) and realized they can see all my pages and my pics and my notes, too. That’s why you may have received a little message ex-naying any comments about how many new friends I have. Not cool. Equivalent to waking up in the cafeteria, naked…Anyway, Elaine wants an update.

I currently live in the Public Health building downtown. I am not a Public Health student. I am a Social Work student, uptown. This is how things typically go for me. Always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I’ll post some pics of my apartment downtown, but you should know, in two weeks I am moving uptown. It will be fantastic. For starters, I expect less mold. Also, I will not have to park on the 4th floor, take the elevator to the 2nd floor, walk across the skybridge, walk through the hospital, walk across another skybridge, take the elevator the 3rd floor and walk to the end of the hall to get to my apartment. Also, I’ll have a pool. Oh, and complimentary coffee and pastries in the morning. I expect 3-5 more friends after my chocolate party, poolside.

Current apt:

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Yes, SJP is doing just fine. But she’s always staring off into space. I wonder if she’s not adjusting well.

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Here is my home office, which doubles as my bed:

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I searched all my files for a few pics of the campus. Here are two from welcome weekend in August while I was working in the bookstore:

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(As a side note, I emailed Intervarsity last week and found a small group to join on Tuesday nights. They were very welcoming even though I walked into their living room off the street and said: Hi, I’m Brooke. The guy who emailed me about the meeting wasn’t in attendance, so I can imagine it all seemed very street peddler-ish, especially when I started my tap routine and held up a sign asking for 5 dollars. They could have called the police. Instead, they invited me to sit down, thank GOD.)

Next. Sprinky’s sister, Christy—who I partially evacuated to during Gustav—came to visit yesterday. I was totally free to be out and about with no party-of-one situations.

(Like those even scare me.)

In 48 hours, Christy and I have eaten more food than we could handle. Christy weighs about 95 pounds, and had you been following us with a camera, you would have seen her eat 4 bites and slip off to the bathroom or something, and me digging into her plate looking over my shoulder. That’s a lie too. She outright gave me everything—jambalaya, margaritas, fajitas, ice cream, hummus. I had to roll myself home.

While we were out, I tried to snap some pics of the city. I live off of Canal, so anytime I leave my apartment after 9, I run into these guys, on the corner of Canal and Bourbon.

Me, playing the invisible trumpet with the band (one time I peed my pants playing the invisible trombone at Joe’s Crab shack—Engler, Jill, Lainey & Sprink, I’m tagging you on this one):

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And, while I’m at it, me playing the invisible violin with the band in Prague:

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Typical scene. Walking down the sidewalk behind a guy with a Tuba.

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At Sucre (dessert boutique)-

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Me with SJP. I came home and the house was trashed. She pulled this deer-in-the-headlights look on me.

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Thank you and goodnight.
(I miss you guys.)

Six steps and a patch

Hey Guys.

Turns out, graduate school= no time to write. In fact, this very second I am putting off 30 pages of Making Task Groups Work in My World to write this update. I’m risky like that.

The thing is, crazy Ike is right outside my window knocking things around, and Chelsea Handler’s book, Are you there Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea (which I got 60% off thanks to my nice gig at the bookstore) is staring up at me from the night stand begging for a quick chapter or two. I need a break.
I came home and the building next to me was on fire- FIRE- and smoke was coming into our lobby. Also, we were having 50mph wind gusts that blew open all the doors at Starbucks on Magazine St. (I know, what am I doing at a Starbucks on a street like Magazine, right? Comfort in familiarity…) and I couldn’t walk around outside without having to hold onto a building. I decided today was not the day to quit updating. I need a program with at least 6 steps and a patch.

School is overwhelming and time consuming, and I am in full list mode. I walk around with a highlighter crossing off things like: call the grandpa, microwave dinner, wash face, etc. because I have forgotten how to manage my time. I set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than necessary because I know that I will need to lay in bed and pretend to feel carefree. Even with the structure, every single morning I end up running down the street trying to catch the 7:45 bus at 7:46 with my keys, phone, granola bar, sweatshirt, ipod and bookbag hanging off me.
I have not had time to unpack from Gustav yet, either, so every morning I dig through laundry baskets and boxes to find an outfit that is less wrinkled than other outfits, and spend another 15 minutes locating things like my watch, or earrings or matching socks. Usually I forget my lunch or something and spend $7.50 in the food court on carrot sticks and a diet coke, which I am half-tempted to eat in a bathroom stall for lack of friends, still. I wonder if they are secretly lunching in some special grad school cafeteria laughing about my 4 inches of grey hair. I have not yet managed to color it, because finding another Hannah is a hard task.
Even harder are things like biostatistics and health and economic development and policy: the core of the MPH program, which I did not understand would be the case. I could spend 5 years explaining the confusion of the last week and the revelation of an outdated program description on the school’s website (from 04) or I could just tell you that I dropped the MPH component. It was not the program for me. I am strictly an MSW girl now, focusing on Disaster Mental Health and International Social Work. This decision saved me $30K and an extra year of school, thanks to a competent and honest advisor and a surprising ability to advocate for myself. But you should have seem my face in that biostatistics class-omg.

Whatsoever things are praiseworthy:
In the middle of this mess, an anonymous friend paid the balance for my Belize trip.

(Stop. Breathe. Smile. Breathe. Relax. Breathe. Cry.)
This friend has pointed my over-ambitious, under-resourced heart straight to God’s eyes. He sees me. He sees Belize. He loves me. He loves Belize. He can juggle what I can’t, and he helps us care for each other.
I love you, friend.
What I need now is a good coffee with my good friends. I would give anything for a Saturday brunch or Firefly run to sit down, throw my purse on the table and say, “You guys will NEVER believe the week I had…”

Hark! What shoe through yonder window breaks?

I am home! SJP is a little damp, but still fantastic.

It took 5 years to unload my car because of this:

Parking spot on fourth floor
Adorn myself with bags and tubs
Take elevator to second floor
Cross skybridge
Wobble through the hospital
Cross skybridge
Up elevator to third floor
Drag myself down the hall
Unlock apartment
Drop load.
Repeat.

Everything I own. One armful at a time.

By the time I was finished, it was 6:00 and The Hills was on—an excellent and surprising turn of events! I really needed groceries, but decided (in light of Audrina’s birthday party in Vegas) to put off grocery shopping until tomorrow. I could totally make do with these ingredients in my kitchen: oatmeal, shells, butter, and Diet Coke. Easy. I made shells and butter for dinner and had oatmeal for dessert.

Unfortunately, that held for only 20 minutes and what I really wanted was Double Stuffed Oreos, wine and milk for the morning. When Sprinky told me this exact same episode was re-airing tomorrow, I was out the door.

Right away, I noticed something different on Canal. People were already out on Bourbon St. and you could already hear Jazz, and it was only 6:30pm. Usually things are quiet until about 9:30. After 10, there’s a band on every corner. But 6:30? Unheard of.

(You should have seen me and Sprinky cruising around at 8pm when I first got here looking for all this so-called jazz and crazy nightlife…)

Then I remembered the curfew in still in place, and I understood that people were just getting everything in before dark. It’s like the whole pattern of nightlife was picked up and dropped off about 4 hours earlier. They must have gotten started at 2 in the afternoon! I decided curfew was just how I liked this city: a little food, a little jazz, a few drinks, some dancing—in bed by 10.

Bad news for early evening grocery runs, though. Everything closed at 5. And everything else closed at 6. Gas stations, Wal-mart, Whole Foods, Walgreens—everything. On top of that, National Guard troops were posted down every possible side street you could think to try—with their scary guns and big tanks and camoflauged hummers. I felt like they might not understand my late-night Oreo run as a matter of importance.

So I turned around. Dusk closed in. Street bands packed up their instruments. The city was a ghost town by 7 and it was dark by the time I made it back up to the 4th floor of the parking garage. No Oreos. No Hills. Only noodles. Oh, and a bag of peanut M&Ms from the vending machine: a well-balanced meal before my VERY important first day of school tomorrow.

PS: Hark! What shoe through yonder window breaks? The mustard mary-jane pair: my brand new school shoes that can FINALLY be worn tomorrow!

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Cone of I’m-never-getting-back-in-this-car-again, Ike, so back off.

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Every time this blasted Cone shows up I am in need of 8 Ibuprofen, a bag of Oreos, and $150 in gas money. It has been called the Cone of Uncertainty and the Cone of Probability, The Cone of Error, The Cone of Terror, The Cone of Confusion, The Cone of Contradiction, The Cone of Complete Cluelessness, and, my favorite: El Cono del Muerte.I don’t even think I can evacuate to the Grampies this time because they happen to fall inside the Cone of Insanity, too.

I woke up today feeling tired and desperate bright and hopeful to return to NOLA tomorrow upon the dorm’s reopening at noon. Here is what lay in my inbox, a present from the devil:

Welcoming Students and Watching the Gulf

As we continue to prepare for the reopening of campus, we are still monitoring Hurricane Ike, which we have been doing since Tuesday. Originally, Ike’s track was predicted to travel along the east coast of Florida and up the Atlantic seaboard. However, in the last day this track has changed to indicate that Ike may enter the Gulf. If it does, landfall is projected toward the end of next week. 


While this current projection is not news we want to hear, it is too soon to determine whether the storm poses a threat to Louisiana or the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, the university’s leadership group is receiving multiple daily updates from our weather service and is ready to respond quickly if necessary.

I need to go to school. This no-school thing is responsible for 40 blog posts a day, so YOU need me to go to school, too. Please join me in worrying about—I mean—praying for Ike.

One month party

Tuesday was the one-month mark for me in New Orleans. I threw myself a celebratory nap and then ate some Oreo Cakesters and crossed my fingers that I would be able to go back this week.

 
Not so.
No power.
Still Sunday.
Daggers!
There are, like, 200 buildings here. Two of the only four damaged buildings on campus are schools of Social Work and Public Health. Those are the kinds of odds I live inside.

Yesterday the Grampies (that’s plural for Grandparents) left for North Carolina to check on the house-for-sale and hurry back before Hanna, Ike, Josephine and Unnamed threatened Flordia again, so I had to relocate. This put me on the road to Jackson, MS at 4:30—FOUR THIRTY—in the morning. It was a gloomy ride. Honestly, I haven’t seen the sun in days and I was passing busloads of Mississippians who were being escorted back to their coastal homes.

I was totally jealous.

The thought of not being home for another 5 days, along with a lack of Starbucks on Mississippi highway 49, along with being awake in another country’s time zone, along with not being able to get out from under the clouds of Gustav for the life of me, I almost cried. Almost. But it being so early and all, I slipped into a coma instead and pulled over for an hour and a half at Cups, and espresso shop.

I am now safely in Jackson, coma free, and staying with Sprinky’s sister’s nanny family. Strange? I know, but they offered and I said yes. I wanted to see Tulane’s shelter at Jackson State and also check up on Christy.  She just moved here last month and is still figuring things out. Together, we have located an Indian restaurant, a cute coffee/smoothie shop and a bike trail. Saturday we’ll be going to the circus. I do what I can.

Thanks to all the friends and fam who offered to host—Lawlers, Pam, Dian, Elaine’s friend’s sister.  It’s heartwarming that people love to love.

 
I should be home on Sunday.
Notice I’ve started calling NOLA home? My crazy grandma (the famous one) pointed that out to me.  Home. It has a nice ring to it.

PS- Baby Lil turned 5 months this week!

And the newbies learned to run.

Today is my first day of school. I slept in, had a cup of coffee and then some steak and eggs from café evacuay @ gramps and grams. Next I’ll go to the market, and then to the beach. Obviously I love this school business…

But not as much as I would have liked to have actually been in school today.

Chin up! Orleans parish is supposed to start letting people back in on Wednesday and Thursday through some crazy tier system, Tulane reopens on Sunday, and school—fingers crossed—starts on Monday. So far the campus has only reported downed trees and few a blown windows. Easy shmeasy. Although, 80,000 are without power all over the city…

Either way, no more complaining about the tiny apartment or mean streetcar drivers. I just feel happy to come home. For a minute it was like watching my potential life here fall apart in slow motion. I have a profound respect for my neighbors who were doing this for the second time and hung onto eachother in hotels all across the south—if you have a chance to listen to Chris Bynum’s interview from the Times-Picayne on NPR, it’s great. She was interviewed from a hotel in Arkansas where New Orleanians and other hotel guests pitched in pounds of evacuated seafood from everyone’s freezer, then cooked and shared a collective meal together on picnic tables out back. The same thing happened in Nashville with Tulane’s leadership team: “This evening the entire Nashville team will gather together and we have invited all the New Orleanians staying in our hotel to join us. At a time like this, it is comforting to be with neighbors and those who have shared this experience.”

Aw. I love this little city and this ridiculously expensive school, and I love that there will still be restaurants when I go back to relive my little pecan waffle fix.

I read this article by Michael Lewis, a NY Times writer who stayed in New Orleans throughout the storm. I thought it was an interesting take on cable news coverage and Ray Nagin’s “mother of all storms” speech:

The Waiting | 10:27 a.m.
One day someone is going to study the difference between our culture’s ability to process and respond to earthquakes (which strike without warning and so are of little use to cable news networks )and hurricanes (which might as well have been created with MSNBC in mind). The buildup, the uncertainty, the waiting — the narrative structure of hurricanes lends itself to melodrama. Click from the New Orleans local news — fairly sober analysis of the city’s chances, which the local weathermen concur are pretty good — to the cable news — where all bad news is actually good news, as it excites cable news viewers — and you get the feeling they are talking about different storms. New Orleans is safer from Gustav than it is from Geraldo…

… But now every little rustle in the trees has new meaning. Waiting for hurricane winds must be a little bit like waiting for an invading army; for that matter, evading hurricanes must be a bit like evading an invading army. The skills being acquired by New Orleanians these days will come in handy if, say, Guatemala ever launches a surprise attack. They’ll think they can sneak up on us but … poof … we’ll all be gone. We’ll be the world’s leading evacuators; anyone who dares invade us will find only an empty city. They won’t know what to do next.

Generating Fear | 10:49 p.m. Eastern time
The reaction to Gustav shows you what people learned from Katrina. The poor learned to flee; the rich learned to buy power generators and even more ammo for their automatic weapons and the politicians learned to express more sympathy and concern than they could possibly feel.

And the newbies learned to run when people start running ☺

Tulane Prez & Tornado chasing

Tulane President Scott Cowen is being interviewed live on NPR’s Talk of the Nation today at 2:30pm central time.

Yesterday we were able to do a live chat with the Prez in Nashville, and he did a great job of spreading the calmness around while CNN riled us all up. At this point, Tulane is officially closed until next Monday, September 8th and CNN is officially useless.

Here is a copy of the LIVE CHAT TRANSCRIPT – AUGUST 31, 2008. It’s an interesting read.

As far as the students in Jackson, they all seem to be doing great and are being sheltered in the Jackson State gymnasium with meals and snacks provided through the dining facilities. Jackson State has also opened recreational facilities and university center amenities to Tulane students. Aw, Jackson.
As for the rest of the city… things are looking up!
Talked to a friend who is hunkered down in the Bywater in her house near the Industrial Canal with a bunch of people. (Bywater folks: It’s Stacey G.) Her notes:- The Industrial Canal is overtopping – they see it on TV like the rest of us – but she says there is no water in the streets of the Bywater except rainwater. Some of the wind gusts are stronger than they’d expected: “Some people are going to have wind damage.” Power’s out in the area, as is Internet.

– NO LOOTING. NO CIVIL UNREST. “The area is being really well-patrolled.” At the Bywater house they are BBQing on the back porch of the house and NOPD and National Guard are dropping by for food; the authorities say that they haven’t picked up a single person in the area.”

Me? I’m tornado chasing.We keep getting squall bands and tornado warnings every 15 minutes. A few hours ago, with two tornado warnings in Destin- one to the east and one to the west- my grandparents said, “Grab your camera. Let’s go to the beach!” We wanted to see the beach swells and try to catch pictures of waterspouts. How did I get lucky enough to have storm-chasing grandparents? It’s my dream evacuation, for sure.

Storm chaser Brooke:

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We stopped at the grocery on the way home for fried chicken and were attacked in the parking lot by fast-moving abandoned carts, not tornados. But the fried chicken was delish.

Home away from Home away from Home

I had to give myself a mandatory 12-hour break from the Weather Channel and CNN so I could sleep last night. According to my dad, those channels play up weather problems to bring in more advertising revenue and it really won’t be all that bad, anyway. I told him he would be that guy standing on top his house waving and yelling out “Rescue Me! Somebody help! I didn’t know! I thought it was an advertising ploy!”

I’m sure he was just trying to make me feel better.

The school texted us last night at 11:30 to tell us to get out if we weren’t already. Today they are having an online news conference at Noon in Nashville and a live chat with school leaders at 3:30. To be sure, I have a list of questions for Mr. Tulane President. Mail? Financial Aid? My first and last check from the ol’ Bookstore? Transfers? Stop-outs? Host schools?

I can’t believe I left all my winter coats and jackets and shoes, and don’t even get me started on the unopened case of Diet Coke in the fridge, DVDs, Journals, socks, hair products, hats, sheets, etc. … but I had to share the bell-cart with a bazillion other people and it was a battle of picking and choosing.

Nagin just said, though, if anyone is caught looting they’ll go straight to jail. At least SJP won’t get kidnapped. She just better not break curfew, is all I have to say.

Contraflow began this morning out of New Orleans, which was so strange. I had received a map about this contraflow business last week and couldn’t figure it out. Basically all the lanes going into the city are reversed and used to evacuate people, which is great considering gas is gone and ATMs are empty.

Here is some other good information from local blogs and papers that are funny and informative:

Saturday

Saturday

Sunday

In the meantime, I have been staying with my grandparents in Destin (on the Florida panhandle just across the Alabama border) learning about everything hurricane. We started getting storm bands from Gustav last night and swells were supposed to start this morning at about 4. We put up hurricane panels over the windows and blocked the front door from the inside—all things I’ve never done before—and then filled up our gas tanks.

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My grandma and I also went to the beach early this morning to scope everything out. It was so hazy and beautify and eerily quiet…

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(Is that a silver lining?)

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I have to say that my grandparents have been the best evacuation hosts a girl could ask for: great food, great company, great little puppy, and a full tank of gas to boot. Thanks for keeping me safe, sheltered, well-fed and gassed up! If it wasn’t on the verge of a panic/breakdown and it wasn’t totally inappropriate to joke about yet, I’d say we should be evacuated more often. It’s that great here.

Alas.

I am trying to act like a reasonable person (vs. my normal neurotic self) and realize that things happen, and we adjust.

This may be an important piece in the empathy puzzle that will help me understand what people are going through in the future. The levels of irony here are too many to list… three years ago my bags were packed and waiting by the door so I could get into the city and help, and today I am shoving everything into my car to get out- on the anniversary of Katrina itself, which is what brought me here in the first place.

“As they experience acculturation and assimilation to the culture here, these students are experiencing their first storm,” notes Johnson. “Many of our students will become leaders in public health — prevention, planning and emergency response — so this puts what they’re learning in the classroom into a real-life setting.”

-Jefferey Johnson, Associate Dean at the School of Public Health.

I’ll try not to be a baby and have the same attitude and optimism as I did before this was MY home, MY stuff, MY school, MY future, etc… it looks a whole lot different from the inside out.

For now, here I am:

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