Not to get too sidetracked, but SXSW is a big deal. It's a week long Music, Film, Interactive/Technology 'gathering' with thousands of bands playing across the city and hundreds of films and exhibits *everywhere*. As a person who tends to loathe crowds, I was happy to escape the city and hightail it to Nola. (However, I saw via Twitter that International Woman of Mystery was in town for SXSW -- why didn't she tell me?! I'm gutted)
I spent the night in Houston, and as it turned out, some old high school pals organized a bar and hockey game get together for that same night so I figured booze and fighting was a great way to spend my evening. I'm finally at a good place with hanging out with the folks at my high school (high school was a really traumatic experience for me...) and a few of them have circled back around and become really amazing friends, including one couple in particular, whom I will call Mr. and Mrs. Heart.
The Hearts were highschool sweethearts (hence my moniker for them) and went off to college where they subsequently broke up and married other people. By our 10 year reunion they were both in the process of a divorce and, after seeing each other at the reunion, all of their original magic rekindled, they finished their divorces, and a few months later they married.
They have an amazing gratitude for each other that I really admire, and I know that the experiences of their first marriage make them treasure what they have together. They've been married a few months longer than the Canadian and me, and the four of us have a blast together so it was fun to drink and watch some hockey with them (Houston Aeros versus Manitoba Moose in case you're interested...and the Moose won...and there was one REALLY good fight, my favorite part of any game).
I was bummed that the Canadian wasn't with us to drink (and go to the hockey game!) but we all had a great time together, nonetheless. I made it back to my hotel room by around midnight and was on I-10 headed east by 8:15 the next morning.
I arrived in Nola in the afternoon and am staying with one of my closest friends from school (she's also getting her Ph.D in International Development at Tulane) , whom I will call Sonia. Sonia is hilarious and a package full of very interesting components. Like, she's half African American and half Guyanan, but, the Guyana part is really Indian (like South Asian Indian) so she looks more Indian than African American but was raised in an African American family in Washington DC (so the contrasts between looks and attitude are funny and interesting). She's got this unimaginably wild hair, which, when the humidity hits, grows exponentially. It's pretty fabulous. I love her dearly and I so appreciate the use of her guest room.
This morning, I woke up (I'm a super early riser and am always awake before anyone else in any home ever is...) and stumbled into the kitchen for coffee. I made my usual french press concoction and then headed to the couch to sit down, read email and drink my coffee. Now, I should preface the next sentence by saying, this house is spotless. There's no clutter, there's no mess. Anywhere.
So, I sit down on the couch, and feel something somewhat uncomfortable underneath me. I shift to see what was the culprit and pull out giant strings of Mardis Gras beads, which were hidden behind a couch cushion. That seriously made my morning.
Nowhere else in the world, would you find yourself inadvertently sitting on random Mardis Gras beads. I Heart Nola.