The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Big Easy: Day 1 (plus some)

What would a vacation be without vacation updates?  I am surprised I feel like writing at all, given the fact that I have never done as much writing in my life as I am doing this semester (I have like 4 papers due next week alone... and that's a pretty average week now), but the writer in me cannot not tell my stories. So here goes...

We arrived in New Orleans late Wednesday night. The flights were honestly not that bad, in fact the one from Dallas to New Orleans was downright nice, but my newfound fear for flying has turned me into a complete and total basket case throughout the entire airport-plane experience. Such a basket case, in fact, that I somehow lost my ID. Beautiful...   I am guessing that it fell out of my pocket on the plane. I would normally check my seat for anything I had dropped before getting off the plane, but lately, just being on a plane triggers my body's "fight or flight" (no pun intended) response, so upon landing I was single-mindedly focused on just getting off the darn plane. Fortunately, my mother agreed to overnight me my passport so that I will be able to get home. It could be worse. It could be my whole purse, like I lost in Miami.

How one develops a fear of flying she did not previously have is beyond me... but I certainly have developed it. The worst part is, I sit there on the plane, my whole body going tense, with my brain saying, "What the heck is wrong with you? There is absolutely nothing wrong right now. Calm the heck down! You fly all the fricking time!" But my body does not pay any attention to my mind and it is very frustrating.  I used every yoga technique and calming technique I know to keep myself from having a complete anxiety attack during the 15 minutes of slight turbulence on the first flight. I focused on one spot on the seat in front of me, took slow deep breaths in through my nose, and told myself over and over again in my head, "Turbulence is not dangerous, turbulence is not dangerous." This method helped me to not cry or scream or hyperventilate, but 2.5 hours after that felt like a very long time. The flight to China is most certainly going to require anti-anxiety meds. Sigh.

But, anyway, we arrived just fine and made it to the hotel and finally out to find something to eat. Nothing fancy. It was late, so we pretty much just had some bar food and headed back to the hotel. That's the "plus some" of this blog.

Yesterday was our first full day. We slept in beautifully late and got a late checkout (we stayed in a cheaper hotel the first night) so that I could do my homework before we headed out for the day. I discovered the beauty of my "Tmobile Hot Spot" allowing me free internet access and I could not be more pleased. Finally, we walked over to the Sheraton, where the conference is being held, and checked in. The hotel has magic "Wonkavators."  Remember that scene in Willy Wonka where you press the button for the room you want to go to and it just magically goes there?  Yeah, totally the elevators at the Sheraton. I tried to take a picture that would show it, but there is just no way to really capture it. It is kind of an experience. I am pretty sure there is no "up and out" button, but I will let you know if I find one.

We scoured the French Quarter for a lunch place that would be...
a) cheap
b) not seafood
c) good Cajun food.
    I don't like seafood, but I do like Cajun food a lot (sort of an oxymoron I know, Cajun food pretty much IS seafood, but if you remove the fish, I really love it). We eventually found somewhere and had a wonderful lunch. Loved my Roast Beef PoBoy. Vinny totally would have loved it. I am thinking that next time I make a roast, I will buy a big one so there is leftovers to make poboys with. Yum, yum yum.

In the afternoon, we took the St. Charles Street Car line through the Garden District, where the streets are lined with temporary grand stands for the parades this weekend and the trees are FULL of beads from parades past. We have seen the Garden District before. Marc has seen it many times, but I saw it when we came on our honeymoon; however, we have never seen it during Mardi Gras. These people go all out. The decorations are fantastically fun. I can't wait until we go to the parade on Saturday.

The session of the conference last night was enjoyable. Very different from other youth worker conferences we have been at (and we have been at quite a few). Lutherans are just different. They are not over the top people. They don't throw their hands in the air and wave 'em like they just don't care. They DO do liturgy. And they do peace. And love. And communion. So pretty much, it was peace, love, and communion, and a very down-to-earth speaker. :-)

Afterwards, I didn't feel like venturing out ID-less on Bourbon Street (although I seriously don't think they card anyone here), so we went to Cafe Du Monde and had beignets and cafe au lait, and it was a perfect way to end the evening.

There were no pictures to this post because I forgot to bring my camera cable and took all of my photos with my regular camera, not my phone, but I promise I will post some tomorrow. :-)

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