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:

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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:

Photobucket

Photobucket

(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):

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

At Sucre (dessert boutique)-

I really feel like I might be getting a cavity.Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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…”

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!