Since we’ve started our time here in New Orleans six weeks, I’ve started to feel more settled in. I’ve been eating red beans and rice on Mondays (which is a New Orleans tradition), memorizing several street names, and been exploring new places to eat all the time, and even returning to some that I’ve already been to. My favorite part about familiarizing myself with the city has been seeing people that I recognize on a daily basis. I was told that if you live in this city, it is almost impossible to go anywhere without seeing someone you know or have seen before. I see the same group of people taking the streetcar that I take to work every morning. Even at Touro, I’ve gotten to know many people who work there and those who volunteer there as well. As our time in New Orleans is coming to an end, so is the Junior Volunteer program that I work with. I’ve gotten to know these volunteers and other staff members, and I’m sad that I’ll be leaving soon. This is especially since I’ve gotten used to seeing the same people every day. It’s a really comforting feeling to have when I see familiar faces like that because the city doesn’t seem so new and different to me as it did in the beginning.
That’s not to say that it isn’t exciting anymore, because we keep finding more new things to see and experience all the time. One of my favorites was going to see Charmaine Neville at Snug Harbor. I loved how interactive she was with her audience—she even came and talked to some of us with musical talents individually, encouraging them to come on stage with her. On a totally different note, some of us went to go see Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Superdome, which was incredible. It’s something that I honestly didn’t ever see myself going to, but I ended up having such a great time there! Even the simpler things, like getting ice cream from Creole Creamery (which is amazing!) and coffee or hot chocolate at Café du Monde, have been fun and relaxing. Another interesting thing we did was go to the River Road African American Museum and then take a plantation tour at Oak Alley. The River Road African American Museum had so many artifacts, newspapers, and documents that helped us understand the history slavery and slave life in Louisiana. Oak Alley plantation had beautiful oak trees that lined the pathway to the mansion.
I’m really looking forward to the last two weeks of being here. I’m trying to really balance the time I’m spending studying for the MCAT with experiencing New Orleans to the fullest for the remainder of our time here. There is so much more I want to see and a whole grocery list of types of food I want to try, and hopefully I get to accomplish all of that!