What a whirlwind these last two weeks have been. Leaving New Orleans I never thought I would say that but it truly has been, albeit in a totally different respect. I have had a lot to process since returning home. The last few days in NOLA I struggled a bit with the idea of returning home. I come from a small town – we’re talking one stop light, blink and you’ll miss it sort of thing. Glenburnie, Ontario. I can bet you have’nt heard of it, and if you have, well good on ya! The relevence of this is that everybody knows everybody and everybody knows everybody’s business. When something remotely interesting happens to someone, it’s the talk of the town. I had no doubt that when I came home from New Orleans, not only would I be so excited to share my experiences, but my friends and family would be equally as excited to hear about it. What I struggled with however, is how I could make it clear to the people I care about the most how important and significant this experience was. I was afraid that I just wouldn’t be able to put into words exactly how I felt and what I brought home from this trip.

After being home for two weeks, I can tell you it hasnt been easy. I find myself saying things that became inside jokes from the trip and getting weird looks from my family before I explained the hilarity or significance behind them. I found myself at a loss for words when friends would ask me question upon question from my trip. To be honest, as I’m writing this, I’m not quite sure why Im typing this as if it were a past feeling because it is still something I struggle to capture in it’s entirety.

Tomorrow I am going to my old public school to give a little presentation on our NOLA 2011 experience. I am excited to (hopefully) inspire young individuals to consider partaking in opportunities like this as they grow. I sure wish I had before now. Once again however, I find myself worrying that I won’t get the message across as powerfully as I would like.

That being said, I think it is important to remember that sometimes, a loss of words is just as powerful as a novel full of them. Sometimes it takes people recognizing the struggles you have as you try to explain something to understand and feel what you are experiencing. From the people I have shared my stories with, the feedback has been phenomenal. Even though I feel as though my descriptions of this journy are lacking the true essence of NOLA 2011, talking about it continues to inspire me to continue in this direction and become more involved. I can’t speak for others and say that talking about this with them has impacted them. Sure, I have been told that, and that is amazing news to the ears, but realistically, I will never know the truth behind that. I had no doubt that the inspiration that came from this trip would never cease to amaze me, but to still feel it growing as the days away from New Orleans become more and more has really allowed me to appreciate this loss of words rather then curse it. I don’t know if I will ever be able to get the point across the way I would like. To be honest, I dont think I have ever had something render me speechless in the way this has, but I am slowly realizing that this is something to embrace.

I have never fallen in love with a city like I did with New Orleans and I cannot wait to go back.

Missing everyone from the trip and everyone from NOLA,

Cassie

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