Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Maybe it's because I'm back in school or maybe because the snow just keeps coming but I am thinking a lot about New Orleans today. Not really about living there as much as my favorite time spent there. Have you ever remembered something and been able to recall a feeling with it? Like your gut is remembering it along with your brain?

I'm thinking about volunteering there two summers after Katrina. About how we worked ate our GoPicnic's sitting on the ground next to the swamp, covered head to toe in mud. About working on the groundskeeper's house in the boys school where Louis Armstrong first played and how the giant tree's shaded everyone as we sat on the porch talking about the places we had been. The sense of accomplishment that comes with seeing an obstacle (like a really thick old wall), being given the proper tools (like a sledgehammer) and not stopping until you've succeeded. I think that's a fantastic metaphor for life. We can almost always identify what is standing in our way. All we need from that point is the right tools and persistence. This semester I need to keep that feeling with me. The feeling I had when the last piece of that wall came down. I was tired and sore and sweaty but I'm not sure that I have ever felt better about myself.

Sitting on the giant old porch with Sarah, brandon, and Quanice was the first time I ever viewed volunteering as a way to see the world. Sarah had been everywhere, as had our roommate Bassima (who is now in the Peace Core and stationed in Mongolia). The connection that you have with the people in an area through volunteering is unlike anything else. That was the first time I KNEW I would live there.

I'm watching the snow cover everything outside but I can't stop remembering the feel of the breeze while Sarah told me stories of her travels and the world seemed accessible to me for the first time.