Katrina hit a year ago today, meaning a year ago my life began to take a bizarre loop I never planned for, never saw coming, and am still trying to deal with.
To recap, first Jason and I hauled ass to Baton Rouge where we spent a few hours getting some sleep for the long trip to Houston. Did I mention that we got lost in the contraflow? You know it's not as easy to navigate as our local government led us to believe.
We then got back on the road to Houston where a very nice couple let us stay with them. Us and our animals. For quite a long time. Did I mention this couple is a couple of saints? Looking back I don't know that I ever thanked the saints for letting us crash in their spare room. Thank you Dan and Erin for tolerating Jason, myself, Lily, and the two cats. I'm especially thankful since Jason and I sat around all day watching CNN and getting pissy with each other since we had no idea what was going on at our house and in our city. I have to admit we weren't exactly the most pleasant houseguests, but you guys never made us feel unwelcome. My saying thank you will never express how truly wonderful you were to us and how we would have been up Shit Creek without you guys.
After camping out at Dan and Erin's for a bit we headed to Austin, which was to become our semi-perminant home. We stayed there for 8 months before moving to the golden state of California.
When people would ask how I was doing after the hurricane my stock answer was "Well, we lost everything, but Jason and I are alive and our animals are safe so we are pretty lucky." But I can now say, thanks to some therapy, that although we are safe, I am upset and feel robbed by Katrina. Why did it take therapy for me to admit that? It seemed so greedy to me, so ungrateful, and so disrespectful towards people that suffered more than me. Jason and I might have lost our possessions but so many others lost so much more, what right did I have to be upset? It turns out, a lot. I didn't ask to be whisked away in the middle of the night to not be able to return home for almost 2 months. I didn't ask to lose my job. I didn't ask to leave New Orleans. And I have every right to be upset and angry and hurt. And still, a year later, not a day goes by when I don't ache for New Orleans more than I will ever be capable of explaining with words.
I miss snowballs. I want to walk down Magazine Street. I want to be able to go to the French Quarter because I have nothing else to do. I miss magnolia trees. I miss CC's and PJ's iced coffees. I miss that no other place ever makes me feel like I'm home and I belong there. I miss being a local and knowing how to say Tchoupitoulas (see I can even almost spell it). I miss the people. I miss the culture. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss knowing my way around town.
At first I felt like I had abandoned the city when it needed it's residents the most. And some days I still feel like that. But other days I know being there would be more difficult. Having to see how slowly the city is being rebuilt, seeing how many restaurants are still on limited menus, how many stores have closed up and moved on. But if I were given the chance to go back tomorrow I would take it. I would go because since I've left New Orleans it's like a piece of me is wrong. The piece is not missing, but it's also not fitting comfortably in its place. My heart aches for something it used to take for granted.
Yeah, I am a little homesick.