I had quite a roundabout experience in getting to NOLA.  Long story short is that after a flight delay, missed connection and major rerouting all across the USA, I made it to New Orleans.  My luggage on the other hand…..

I had the opportunity to reflect on privilege on my way here.  I realized that despite the frustration of having my flights redirected all over the place, and despite having lost my stuff along the way, the fact that I was on an airplane at all was a major privilege!  I recalled that in our class, Tanya mentioned that the majority of residents in St. Bernard parish had never left their own parish before (that includes going to New Orleans), let alone left the state.  I had the ability to take two weeks off of work to come here without (much) fear of the financial situation I would be left with by doing so.  I have a university education – in fact, I’m working on my second degree, a privilege that the majority of Canadians or Americans still do not experience.

Despite this privilege, I also had the opportunity to experience charity and the kindness of others.  Upon discovering that my stuff was left somewhere along the way on my wild ride through the USA, I realized that this means that I have no clothes besides what is on my back, no toiletries, no sunscreen, no bedding.  The airline is being pretty awesome about helping me track it down, but still I was left with nothing but what I had in my wee little carry on bag.  I’ve been quite fortunate that my classmates have offered up some of their PJs, bedding and shared toiletries to help a sister out while I wait for my stuff to (hopefully) arrive.  Relying on the donations and charity of others has been very humbling, and yet, very appropriate considering the reason that we’re here.  We are here to give of ourselves, to give what we can to help somebody who has fallen on very hard times and needs a helping hand. 

I feel privileged to be one of the lucky people who had others to rely on when I needed help, even from people who were strangers only a few hours ago.  I’m fortunate to have a support network both here and at home to look out for me and share resources to get me through a sticky spot.  Many others here in NOLA weren’t so fortunate when they had need that was significantly more dire than this.  Yes, it’s a pain in the rear that my stuff is in limbo and yes, it’s inconvenient.  But it’s not a life or death situation.  I haven’t lost everything I own.  I have a place to return to and loved ones waiting.  For that, especially seeing the vacant lots and dilapidated houses in town as reminders of those who weren’t so fortunate, I feel truly blessed.

Michelle

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