When I left Louisiana in 2012, the only home I've ever had and known, I didn't think much of it. I didn't make a bucket list, I didn't think I would miss it (too much), and I was more than ready to get out. The excitement of moving across the country and experiencing something new for the first time in my life far outweighed any reservations I could have possibly had. For the entire year prior to the day I finally packed my car, entered my new Connecticut address into my GPS, and began a 1,400 mile move across the country, all I could think about was life somewhere else. I didn't care where, I just wanted it to be different. I wanted something new. I wanted an adventure.
I'm easy going with a lot of things. I tend to overthink the small things at times and just go with the flow with the bigger things. My grad school application process was one of those. I didn't care where I ended up, as long as it was a reputable school and program. I wasn't set on getting into a specific school in a specific state, so instead, I sent out my application to a few places. One to the West coast, one to the East coast, and so on. When the time came to make a decision, the East coast won and off to New England I went.
It was just me, a packed car, my dog, and Chris in his packed car behind me. We said our goodbyes and hit the road not looking back. That new adventure was finally happening.
It took a year for the newness and excitement to start to wear off before I began to realize what our life really was. Our life consisted of a place with no family nearby and a small amount of friends we could count on both hands, there was no jambalaya or étouffée on the restaurant menus, no sights or sounds of "Who Dat" or "Geaux Tigers", no festival just for the hell of it, the only snowballs were that of actual snow, and holidays became our vacations which turned into the only time to see the familiar faces we loved.
What I didn't do before I left was take in what I currently had. Growing up in south Louisiana, for me, has been a very unique experience; one that is different from the rest of the world, and is enough to make you feel like a foreigner in your own country. All of those things that were considered a normal part of life in Louisiana became a thing that had to be explained to people from other walks of life, but it was a true passion that I later realized had a very special place in my heart. It was those things that I had once undervalued and so desperately wanted to escape.
To anyone planning a big move or life change, I'll say this. Before you go, look at what you have. Maybe that city you can't wait to leave means more to you than you think.
I'm not writing this to discourage anyone from making a decision to start a new adventure, in fact, I'm implying the opposite. Perhaps it takes leaving everything you have to fully appreciate everything you had.
If I had to go back and do it all over again, I'd do it the same. Living that new experience helped define me. I may not have willingly returned to everything I know and love, as I'm now in Dallas, but it's still with me on a daily basis. It is me.
Labels: about me, Louisiana, moving, new orleans