I'm writing this on my grandparent's screened-in porch in Nashville, NC, enjoying the thunderstorm while I think back on my last couple of days in New Orleans. The end was just as fantastic as the beginning, even though so much was different.
It's fun to look back and think how my first few days in New Orleans were special because of the sense of anticipation and excitement for such a new experience. In contrast, my last days in New Orleans were special because (1) the time I spent with my coworkers who, though I met them just two months ago, quickly became my favorite people in New Orleans and (2) because of what I got to do with my job, which overall was probably the best part of my summer.
I didn't have to be at the NUL Conference until 11am on Thursday. But instead of sleeping in, I got up at 6am in order to bike a lap around Audubon Park. I had to borrow James's bike, and he needed it to get to work that morning. I was stuck on the idea, so I did what I had to do to make it happen.
At the conference, I got pens, magnets, hand sanitizer, food samples, lotion samples, reusable shopping bags, a massage, a caricature of myself and a photograph of me driving a UPS truck (in a UPS uniform)— all for free! And of course it was really cool to see and learn about all the organizations represented there.
Later that evening, I met Kelly and Tatiana for dinner at one of the last restaurants on my NOLA bucket list. It was a major highlight of my summer, and such a wonderful way to end my time in New Orleans. I was sad Elisa wasn't there (she was sick) but I did get to say goodbye to her the next morning in the office. I could not have had more fun, funny, and all-around enjoyable coworkers than these wonderful women at CCFM.
Friday started with quite an adventure as soon I got to the office.
Tatiana read online that a certain New Orleans bakery had burned down early that morning. Apparently everyone in the city loves this bakery and the little individually wrapped snack pies they distribute in the area. There was a news story on how quickly these Hubig's pies were disappearing.
Emery had gone out earlier and bought Tatiana and me each a Hubig's pie,
which all the staff signed as a goodbye gift. I declared that I was saving mine forever. Tatiana, who thinks they're amazingly delicious, was appalled and insisted that I had to try one before they all (literally all of them, ever) sold out. So Tati and Kelly squeezed into my car (which was already stuffed with all my belongings, ready for the long haul home), and we drove to the closest corner store.
To our dismay, there was a sign on the door announcing that they were sold out of Hubig's pies. Dejected, Kelly and Tatiana turned to go, but I said, "Wait! I want to know when they sold out."
I went in to ask, and minutes later we walked out with two of the store's last three pies— which the store owner had saved for herself! At first she had tried to sell these $1 pies to us for an inflated price. There were already pies on Ebay for $50! She asked us how much we'd be willing to pay for hers, but we convinced her to let us buy them at the basic retail price. I was surprised that we were successful. When people realize a resource is finite, it instantly becomes precious.
It was my first (and tragically, probably my last) time tasting these pies. But such a fun last day in the office. I left around noon to start the 950-mile drive home...