Sitting at my desk, nestled in the corner of my room, I can hear the streetcar rumbling down St. Charles. As the sunlight streams in, I listen to the boys next door dribble their basketball across the court before connecting with the backboard, followed by a swish.
The expanse of an unknown city was laid out before me when I first arrived in New Orleans. There was a flutter in my stomach wondering if I had made the right decision in coming here; I had decided to leave my home state of Nevada for college and spent my first year of school in New York before ultimately transferring, finally arriving in New Orleans. My sense of place was stretched thin, spread around the entire country, reaching in thin dotted lines of airplanes I pictured in my head that were about to snap with the addition of an entirely new city.
Yet, I settled in. At a table in the back of Mojo Coffee, running the loop of Audubon Park, feet pounding the pavement, eyes flickering over the familiar trees, in the hidden tables in the bookstore on the second floor, and in the oversized round chair in the corner of the sunroom where the light hits a perfect golden warmth in the afternoons.
There is a deep inner sense of comfort to be found in having a place that you can call your own, in a city that isn’t home. Discovering and keeping those places where you are alone and free to be at peace with just yourself and some music; the place where you know you can go after a long day.
Returning to these spots, settling in, and having that safe haven is a comfort, a familiarity, a breath released. It could be the Fly with your friends on a Monday afternoon or a table at City Diner after an unsuccessful night out. These are the places that you will remember and when you take the time to come back to them again and again, they become more than simply places you’ve been.
When you think of your life and the routine that it is all too easy to fall into, it is essential to take the time to go places where you feel most like yourself. These are the small moments that will shape you into the person you are in the future. College will push you out of your comfort zone in the best ways and in the most difficult of ways, but this doesn’t mean that you have to let go of your sense of place. To be truly fulfilled in your heart and your mind, find your special places throughout NOLA and on Tulane’s campus and soak in the contentment that they bring.
COVER PHOTO: Tumblr