So, good news. I managed the drive and move in without any serious damage! Actually, my father helped me move in so he did most of the drive and heavy lifting, but still! I made it. This year I'll be living in a house with seven other girls. There are four bedrooms, two bathrooms a kitchen, dining room area and a living room.

This weekend was all about moving in and exploring New Orleans. My dad and I got in around 4:30 and moved everything into my room. I choose the smallest room in the house, mainly because we switch rooms in February and I would rather go from little to big, than the other way around. The first thing I noticed when we drove down St. Charles was all the beads hanging in the trees and on the power lines. I could get used to this place.

After dropping him off the hotel all of us YAVs (except Colleen who is still working) and Layne, our site coordinator, had dinner together. Let me tell you, I will probably be so sick of it by the end of the year, BUT, red beans and rice are the bomb dot com.

Saturday morning I got up early to have breakfast with Dad and Lauren. Lauren is a YAV alumni who still lives in Nola. She was also my camp counselor when I was a camper at Gilmont. Oh, did I mention she was the spiritual advisor at Gilmont this summer? Yeah, Lauren and I are pretty tight. She was a life saver my first week at camp! And now she's offered up her home and support while I serve in New Orleans.

Not going to lie, Saturday morning in the car on the way to breakfast was a little rough. Any time I go through a big change (college, Australia, working at Gilmont) I have a panicky 30 minutes where I question every decisions I've made that led me to where I am. It's pretty silly, but I guess at this point it's a tradition so why not. Lauren and my father were very reassuring. As my dad reminded me, it was a six month long process to get placed at a site, so it's not like I rushed my decision. Lauren went on to reiterate that yes, the first couple of days are overwhelming, but that would be true for anything and I would have an amazing year once I got settled.

After breakfast dad and I went and ran some errands. First we drove by my two work placements, Project Homecoming and Lakeview Presbyterian Church. I have two part time jobs, at Lakeview I will be getting a college group off the ground, at Project Homecoming I will be working in the PR/Marketing group. Apparently I will be helping out with the newsletters (see! my liberal arts degree totally did come in handy out in the real world!). There was a mandatory trip to Target to get hangars and light bulbs, than we spent the afternoon in our respective 'homes'. Mine really is a home, but dad was at the Hampton Inn so his isn't quite (aka at all) a home.

After a relaxed afternoon in the house Dad and I went to Superior Seafood for dinner, it's on St.Charles and from 5-6:30 their happy hour features specials on their frozen mojito. Not that I would know. While I was we ate lots of yummy things, including oysters on the half shell, crab stuffed jumbo mushrooms and shrimp and grits. I've probably already gained 5 lbs but I'm perfectly ok with it. That night all of the YAVs went with Layne to a bar on Frenchmen St. to hear some live music and enjoy an easy night before all the orientation hoopla begins. We also ate delicious beignets at Cafe du Monde. Lots of great housemate bonding.

Sunday I got up early, went to breakfast with Dad Cafe du Monde, then met the rest of the YAVs at Lakeview for worship. Lauren also came to show some support. It was great to be at Lakeview and meet the church family I will be spending time with this year. The people were so inviting and so excited that I was there. It was a great feeling knowing that I will have an amazing community lifting me up and supporting me during my year of service. After church was lunch at this amazing Po'boy shop, than I dropped Dad off at the airport. He was here long enough to make goodbye not too hard. Not that I won't miss him, but I'm ready for things to get started here in New Orleans.

Tomorrow we leave bright and early for orientation in New York. Supposedly there is no wifi so it will be another week or so before any more updates. I hope this will hold everyone over until I get back. I'm sure in the future I will have more insightful things to say, but right now everything is a blur!


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