Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Big News for the Big Easy

Last week I went to New Orleans for the second time this year. It seems as though I find myself there more often than any other place I visit. This time around, it was for a wedding, which I plan to blog about later. I had a fabulous time, which I always do. It was a few more points in the pro column... but perhaps I should back up and explain.

Over the past year I have really been feeling the need to change things up in my life. Last August I left my cushy 9-5 job and started searching for something I really wanted to do. I settled on the food service industry, and I've been catering for a few months now. I grew up with my mom owning restaurants, so while cooking for the masses is very different than "Support Contractor for the DHS", it wasn't all that unfamiliar. Still, I feel like I've been missing something. I knew what it was, no matter how much I tried to ignore it, I missed my family. The thought of moving back south entered my head. It's something I tried to ignore for a long time now. Spending time in NOLA last week put a few more points in the pro column, but still I wasn't convinced.

I like my life in DC, but, I don't love DC. I love the friends I have made here. My heart has been very torn. I kept adding the pro and con columns for staying/leaving and coming up with different results each time. Then I read an amazing book. "City of Refuge", completely made up my mind for me. It's a story about two families struggling during and after hurricane Katrina. I cried several times while reading it, and finished it in two days. I was convinced that there is no other place where I want to settle down. I know this might sound smug, but only a handful of people can really understand what it is to love a city. I think New Yorkers get it, and New Orleanians get it. There might be other cities that radiate personality, but I don't know of them. New Orleans is a hard city to live in, there is crime. Lots of crime. It's a poor city. There are few job opportunities. The list goes on and on. But there are also second lines, and mardi gras, and food, and friendly people, and the music, and the art, and the atmosphere. It's something you have to experience to understand.
Eventually I want to have a family, and I can't think of a better place to raise children. The city is filled with culture, and I want children who aren't afraid of anything. I want them to know that people are people, and whether you are black, white, young, old, poor, or rich, there are certain things that bring us all together as a people. The love of a great city is one of them.
So off I go. The moving date is still up in the air, but, for sure, I will be turning 29 in the big easy.

I'm totally going to miss DC, and the friends I've made here. Spending the majority of my 20's in this city really shaped who I am today. And I like who I am today. I owe a lot to the friends that I have made here, friends that are my family away from my family.

But, I'm not gone yet. I plan to make the most of these final few months. I'm going to play tourist in every way imaginable. I'm going to take walks at night by the capitol and soak in the scenery, and I'm going to say long tearful goodbyes to the ones I love.
For the next few months I'm going to use this blog to chronicle everything I do here, as I prepare to embark on the next stage of my life.

It should be fun.

Love, Tina Marie


  1. I wish I had one ounce of your bravery! I am so going to have to read that book now :) And once you are there I will have yet another excuse to go play in my favorite city

  2. I'm so happy for you and can't wait to come visit! Also, you know I am always here to talk about it :) xoxo