I arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday and have had a buzzy time since! It was a bit crazy rocking up to a place where multiple friends and strangers had all warned me about. "New Orleans, people are dying there every day" was litrerally the first thing someone said to me. So not gonna lie I was a tad nervous for my life when I hopped off the airport shuttle. However, so far I have had an incredible time and am loving this vibrant city!
Initial observations. It's very hot here. There's a lot of squirrels. Food feels heavy in your stomach. Trumps an awkward topic. And how lucky I am to be living on top of some amazing historical places in this awesome part of the world. There is a lovely mix of art and culture that is super special to be a part of.
First day here was brief and just consisted of me coming across the local pub (The Boot) and eating chicken wraps with some friendly locals. For the next few days, there was orientation which involved awkward introductions and more warnings about the city. But It was lovely getting to meet a group of like minded people all from different places around the world. Plus there was great food! We have done some exploring of streets near by and in the French quarter which was incredible!! The buildings were beautiful! I loved hearing all the different songs and stopping by bars where live music constantly plays. There was also a Mid Summer Mardi Gras, a smaller version of Mardi Gras, where many people of all ages dressed up in the weirdest outfits and got amongst it. Marching bands, dancing, all lots of fun. My roommate, Victoria (a bubbly theatre student who is very lovely), was dressed as a unicorn! After the parade, we headed back to an international students house and chilled. The international crew is awesome and it's pretty cool getting to know these people, they are all friendly and very kind.
Classes started on Monday and I only missed one class, accidentally rocked up to a Spanish class and was late to the other class. So started well! But teachers and pupils are friendly and the classes look awesome! Tuesday went better and I located all my classes fine! So far, it appears that classes are a lot more strict than New Zealand. We aren't allowed to go toilet or have laptops out in lectures, way more stern about phone usage in class, and it is the worst thing ever to be late. Not sure how long I will be able to use the 'international student' excuse for. Haha LOL.
Unfortunately, Loyola's cafeteria is lacking in quality and affordability. Thankfully, the university across the road is providing the goods and has become our got to food source. They also have an amazing gym we could use for a limited time where Hannah, Lotte and I have been going hard working out.
The nightlife here is lots of fun, it's unique to the city. A few clubs allow 18+ entry, so I haven't been limited and can still experience the crazy nightlife New Orleans has to offer. I find I am always meeting people from lots of different cultures. There are many Latinos, African Americans, and then all the international exchange students. I am experiencing many unique customs that come with each culture (like the Spanish greeting with a double cheek kiss, and soulful dancing from the African Americans). Being super American we have played beer pong from red solo cups, danced on a pool table and will only walk around with our pepper spray after dark.
The weekend finally came around along with a warning of Hurricane Harvey. We did a big shop at Walmart and stocked up on water and food (wasn't really preparing for the hurricane, we just wanted food). That night we cooked up a yummy rice dish at Hannahs apartment, which was a nice contrast to all the American meals we have been buying.
Yesterday we went to the Saints Football Match! WHO DAT! It was crazy! Lots of team spirit and passion. Afterwards, we went to find a pub to watch the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. It ended up being very difficult as the pubs had huge lines and were charging fees to watch. Thankfully, we came across a tailgate party in the middle of a parking lot and was able to watch from there.
And that pretty much sums up my first week ish of New Orleans.