Yesterday I was fortunate to get a big conference commitment out of the way early in the schedule, plus we had a rather long lunch break. A coworker and I booked it over to Jackson Square, which was lovely (and extremely hot, with no shade cover). We walked through the St. Louis Cathedral, a different style than the one I went to in Buenos Aires but lovely as well.
The Mississippi River was right nearby, with large ships passing each other. Later on in the evening I saw a bit of Fulton Street.
Tonight I’m going on a flashlight cemetery tour! Then tomorrow I fly home. It’s been a great adventure these past couple of months, but I’m looking forward to getting back to a routine and spending a lot more time with my family.
Yesterday I took a swamp boat tour and got to see some American alligators in their natural habitat!
Now, I have loved crocodilians ever since I was a Zoo Teen volunteer at the Oregon Zoo, so a highlight for me was getting to hold this little cutie (I was assured the tape on his snout doesn’t hurt him):
That evening I saw some jazz on Bourbon Street.
Then earlier today during a conference break I took a streetcar out to the Garden District and walked through the lovely neighborhood.
I ended up in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.
I finished up the day with a beignet.
Tomorrow I’ll be very busy with conference happenings. That’s it for now!
I have arrived in New Orleans, my first time here. A highlight for me was checking out the Hotel Monteleone, whose lobby has a neat display of books by authors who have stayed at the hotel or even mentioned it in their work.
Then my coworker and I lucked into seats at the hotel’s Carousel rotating bar!
I’ve completed a year of grad school, and to say the least it’s been a year of growth. I’ve taken many assessments, from how I deal with conflict to my intercultural competence. I’ve identified core values, crafted a personal mission statement, and undertaken a personal development plan designed to get me outside my comfort zone. I’ve participated in service projects at a local food bank and at a women’s shelter in Chile. I’ve done an interactive simulation of culture clash, honed my presentation skills, and taken on team projects with people I’d just met. And I’ve been getting to know the most fascinating people!
A lot of times I feel like I’m just clinging for dear life to this breadth of experiences, hoping I’ll retain enough later on to reflect back with a depth that my current schedule doesn’t afford.
Also, I think it would be fun someday to use these assessments and other exercises for fictional character development.
In the meantime, off to New Orleans for work.
I’m still slogging through homework associated with my South America trip and working on a couple of story revisions. In a week I’ll leave for another trip, but first, before I shift gears to that one, here are a few more random photos from my study abroad experience.
We kept moving at a whirlwind pace, pretty much a blur of class stuff and restaurants. For things of note from class, we went to a software company office whose vibe took me right back to my Silicon Valley intern days (disco balls, neon lights on the ceiling, and Ping-Pong and foosball tables). Later on we toured a factory and donned this stylin’ protective footwear:
I’ve enjoyed checking out the cool interiors of some of the local restaurants. Highlights include a steampunk bar located through a secret door in a brick wall, and a lounge-type spot with a hanging curtain made of chains! Once I get all my photos and notes in order, I’ll have to do a separate post about all the wonderful food and décor in both Santiago and Buenos Aires, but for now here’s a glimpse of the hidden steampunk bar:
For our last night, we had a tango lesson and then saw a show. I can now say I’ve danced the tango in Buenos Aires, and it was a blast! Then I spent my final afternoon of the trip exploring the city on my own. I made it to El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
Finally I made it to the Centro Cultural Borges and saw the display about Jorge Luis Borges’ work.
It’s been an amazing trip. Now to enjoy my time back home with my family!