Hello all of you lovely people!!!

There is no better way to start a summer or end a term, than with a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before. I say that, because my innermost desire is to travel, see new places, faces, things, really explore and dig deep for those hidden treasures that exist in the most unexpected places. I’ve always been fascinated with New Orleans and its culture, I think anyone who loves music, particularly jazz, always dreams of going on a music pilgrimage to what many would refer to as, Jazz capital of the world. So who wouldn’t be excited about going to Jazz Fest!?  Yes, that is something that has been on my mind quite a lot, which is not to say that I am not excited about everything else that our lovely co-ordinators have lined up!

However, I want to also dedicate this blog not to the tourist aspirations that I have for this trip, but also my ambitions to see what it will bring about, in terms of personal development. My inner explorer enjoys challenges, physical and emotional, there is nothing more rewarding than to face something straight on and realize that you are resilient enough to overcome it. Last summer, I traveled and lived in India, something that has left a profound impact on me, my way of thinking and lifestyle, it made me more conscious of my values. When you come back from a place that is so different from your own, you are home, in a place that was always the same and comfortable, yet you begin to see everything differently. You start feeling different, in fact, you become different. For some strange reason, you can’t forget certain faces, certain challenges and the emotions you’ve undergone, when you felt alone or in a community, when traveling or being static, everything merges into one experience that persistently overwhelms and inspires you. The journey may end, but it always perpetuates itself inside, it continues and thrives, pushing you for more, it challenges you to see things differently.

I can’t exactly predict how this experience will alter me, but I can say with pure honesty, there is nothing more exciting to not know and wait to be surprised. This experience, unlike others, immersed us into New Orleans culture and its post Katrina challenges, prior to our departure, allowing us to think about the people and places, before we encounter them ourselves. It was a good way to let all of the material sink in and really manifest itself, let us express our frustrations and just think about New Orleans, through all of its different lenses.

I couldn’t help but think about it in my seminars, while writing my essays, or simply in a regular conversation. I have New Orleans on my mind and I know it isn’t going anywhere anytime soonThe conversations in class, the videos and the readings were truly shocking.  However, I don’t think reading or watching documentaries on post hurricane Katrina is enough to truly understand it and that is why this course is really awesome. The only way to know something, is to be there, to make sense of it yourself. So before we judge or develop opinions, I believe we have to be a part of the situation or the process, part of the people. By doing so, you can truly experience the challenges that present themselves and how they are overcome. I can’t wait to be a part of it, NOLA! At the end of the day, people love New Orleans! Why!? I can’t wait to find out!

So as the next five days fly by, I sit tight, thinking about the experience and the destination, the friends and the families I will meet. Thinking about what will happen and what will not. How will this experience bring a new understanding, a new way of seeing their world. For all of this I am grateful.

Starting packing! Can’t wait!

With lots of love,