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BWB and I have fallen in love with cruising. It helps, I think, that we got engaged on a cruise and then had our honeymoon on a cruise. Cruises are like a little sampler platter of a handful of different places, with water, sun, and a huge boat thrown in for good measure. We’re planning on more in the years to come, hopefully longer and with even more exotic locations.

One of the most fun parts of cruising is picking out shore excursions. They give you a long list of activities, about three-quarters of which sound amazing, and then you decide on something awesome to do at every port. It’s exciting just thinking about it — do we want to go on a zip line through the rainforest canopy? Learn to scuba dive? Horseback riding? Snorkel in a coral reef?

After our last cruise, I told BWB that I thought we needed a shore excursion list at home, too. Let’s make a list, I said, which has all of the fun, touristy, unique things we want to do when we’re at home. He thought that sounded like a good idea, and then we promptly didn’t quite get around to it. The remnants of that list make up the previously mentionedNew Orleans bucket list.

We’ve talked about it, and have decided that when we move, we will start a shore excursion list for New City. We want to explore all that it has to offer, and from our initial inquiries, there’s an awful lot out there! The theory behind the shore excursion list is that the number of days we will have off will be limited, and the number of days we have off simultaneously will be even smaller. With this list, we don’t have to find the stuff to do together on the fly; instead, we can just pick something from the list. That sounds like a lot less trouble for two tired interns, and a lot more likely that fun activities will actually occur.

I’m looking forward to declaring a shore excursion day and tromping off into the great known of our backyard. Who knows what we’ll find, and we’re certain to have fun doing it!

The to-do list of things to take care of before we move is dauntingly long. It seems like every day another packet arrives by email or snail mail with forms to fill out, forms to be notarized, forms to have pictures attached to, forms to get fingerprinted on, and forms to tuck checks in with when we mail them back. Then there are the actual physical mechanics of moving: decluttering, weeding out which furniture we’re taking an which we aren’t, finding a moving company vs. renting our own truck. It’s getting to be a very long list.

Then there’s the other to-do list.

As soon as we found out we were leaving New Orleans, I started to make a list of stuff I wanted to make sure and do before we leave. Some of it is cramming as much of all of the things I love and will miss the most abut the city into the few weeks we have left, while some of it is doing those touristy things I’ve always meant to do but never made time for. BWB is not a huge fan of this plan, as he is of the opinion that we will be back soon, maybe even next year, and this list is treating our departure as too permanent for his liking. He understands where I’m coming from, though, and is up for the list as much as possible.

The following is my New Orleans “bucket list” as it stands right now. I keep adding to it, but I still hope we’ll get through most of it.

1. Visit the Old New Orleans Rum distillery with my friend H.
2. Go river tubing.
3. Eat as much Cafe du Monde as possible.
4. Eat as many snoballs as possible.
5. Eat as much crawfish as possible.
6. Go to Upperline at least one more time.
7. Take advantage of the $0.25 martini brunch at Commander’s Palace.
8. Take at least one more cheese class at St. James Cheese Co.
9. Attend French Quarter Fest (done!)
10. Visit the WWII museum.
11. Go on a swamp tour.
12. Go on one of the haunted history tours.
13. Ride my bike down the levee trail at least one more time.
14. Play golf with my friend B in City Park.
15. Take a carriage ride in the French Quarter.

As you can see, many of these points clash with my other to-do item, “lose 12 pounds before starting residency”. I think that one may be a lost cause. Losing weight while leaving New Orleans? Please. I’ve got my priorities straight.

In any case, that’s where it stands right now. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the list. I’m sure it will get longer, but at least this list I’m looking forward to working on!

Driving north this time of year is like traveling back in time.

In Louisiana, the winter green has given way to late spring lushness, and the flowering shrubs are already passing their peak. The college girls are out in tiny scraps of bikini working on their tans, and we’re deciding when to run outside based on whether it’s too hot yet or not. Head up 59N and it’s a time lapse film played backwards as the flowers return to the height of their glory, the greens fade from dark to light, and the temperature drops.

In our Midwestern destination, the daffodils are standing boldly against the cold and ice (yes, ice in April — barbaric) and the trees are just starting to look vaguely greenish with buds. The early bloomers, like the tulip trees, are screaming that spring is coming, even if the weather is trying very hard to make us believe otherwise.

We’ve made this trek to give us a taste of our new city. Our intention had been just to learn some of the neighborhoods the residents favor, thinking it would make online house hunting easier in the coming months, but to our surprise we ended up finding a fantastic house and putting an application in right away. We located the important landmarks — the hospital, a few independent coffee shops, the grocery stores, and a library branch — and started to familiarize ourselves with the basic layout of the city. All in all, a very productive trip.

Before all of our exploration, I went back in time in a different way and met up with a group of friends I haven’t seen much of since graduating from college. I was nervous about this, as I really wasn’t sure what kind of reception to expect. Would it be like meeting strangers? What if nobody really remembered me? When we arrived at the event, it took a little while to find the people we were looking for, and then there they were. Some of the passage of time was obvious, visible in the increased grey in a beard or at a temple. The infant who was born shortly after I graduated is now in elementary school and her older brother is the age of our current housemate. In the ways that matter, though, it was as if we had only been apart for a month or two. Conversation came easily and jokes picked right back up where we’d left off.

It’s strange for me to be here in the region I went to college in, but I think I’m grateful that we’re going to be a few hours away from there for the next year. My friends are good people who clearly recognize that I’m a different person than I was a decade ago, and our relationships will be different because of the impact that decade has had on all of us. These changes don’t mean we have to toss everything and start over again from scratch, and after this weekend I’m looking forward to reconnecting with all of them. It’s comforting to know that this kind of time travel is possible, and even better to know that I can bring all of that history with me into the future.

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