50 things I have learnt from Louisiana

  1. There is only one type of rain in Louisiana and it is torrential.
  2. Pudding is a specific dessert rather than a generic term for dessert. If you say you are going to get pudding and come back with cake you will get a talking to.
  3. There is no highway code.
  4. Wearing trainers, gym shorts and a big t-shirt by no means indicates that someone is going to the gym.
  5. During summer there is no such thing as having the air conditioning on too cold.
  6. It doesn’t matter how far it is, you drive.
  7. American football makes a lot more sense once you realise that they are trying to run into one another.
  8. Every animal that is cute at home bites here. For example, ants.
  9. Some people never tire of telling me that I’m going to get deported.
  10. Journey and queue are apparently archaic words.
  11. Don’t run after a possum.
    I intended to have a section of my blog called ‘Wildlife watch!’ but that never happened. Basically, it was going to be me noting all of the strange creatures I have come across. One night I saw a possum disappear behind a building, I went after it to get a better look and DeJean told me off. The first time I saw a nutria, Echo and Courtney laughed at me.
  12. People will go out of their way to make me repeat words after them.
  13. Football is a religion.
  14. Don’t fuck with the police.
  15. America has a thing about leaving gaps between the side of public bathroom stalls and the door.
  16. “When you’re drinking you’re not thinking!”
  17. Fuck Bama.
  18. There is a special cake for Mardi Gras called King Cake and it has a baby in it.
  19. I have learnt more than I ever intended to about firearms.
  20. How to speak American “BaR, caR, faR” “Wah-deR”.
  21. I can’t say power hour.
  22. You can always use a friend with a pick-up truck.
  23. How to appreciate a road trip.
  24. I like baseball.
  25. If it looks like the sketchiest restaurant in the world then 9/10 times the food is going to be fantastic.
  26. Nothing looks better than purple and gold.
  27. Bass Pro is one of the greatest places on Earth.
  28. What alligator tastes like.
  29. You can find an LSU fan anywhere.
  30. A lot of food in America just doesn’t go off…
  31. Don’t leave a beer keg in your apartment for three weeks. Ever.
  32. Louisiana is a curse when it comes to food because nowhere else even begins to compare.
  33. If you’re tired and someone asks if you’ve ever been somewhere, don’t admit that you haven’t because they will insist that you get up and go there.
  34. You can never have enough workout clothes.
  35. A t-shirt is needed to commemorate every occasion.
  36. Taylor Swift isn’t that bad after all.
  37. What a Nalgene is and why I need one.
  38. It’s not a social gathering without alcohol.
  39. Getting a good throw at Mardi Gras is the best feeling in the world.
  40. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger.
  41. How to sweat.
  42. I love country music!!!
  43. How to rid your apartment of a mouse through fear.
  44. All about 1776 and 1812.
  45. Asking your drunk friend to clean your apartment after a party can work.
  46. I really, really don’t like bowling.
  47. A tour of Louisiana is a tour of places to eat.
  48. Baseball pants are a beautiful invention.
  49. I will never stop forgetting how unexciting Cracker Barrel is and I will always be excited when I see one.
  50. I am so lucky!

I knew that my year abroad was going to be one of the greatest experiences I ever had. I know plenty of people who have studied abroad and told me how incredible it would be, how much they enjoyed it and what wonderful friends they had made. What I didn’t realise is that it would break my heart, and in the process teach me exactly what I want for my future.

It’s funny because when I look back at this year it hasn’t been entirely positive, there were times when I was kind of miserable over one thing or another but even then I was having a ball because I was here and I was always busy doing something exciting and most of all I was where I wanted to be. Over here it feels like people are always willing to make a space in their schedule for you just for the sake of having a good time. Maybe that’s a generalisation and I’ve just been super lucky to meet the people that I have but my experience has been incredible and I think it’s been especially enhanced by a little southern hospitality.

As I was flying home for Christmas I realised that I was flying away from where I wanted to be. Having lived in more places than most people my age I have known for a long time that I wasn’t going to live in England the rest of my life, the only issue was working out where. I think this year has answered that question for me. Until fairly recently I couldn’t even think about going home without getting upset. I didn’t book my flight back until six weeks before my visa expired. Only in the last three weeks have I started to come to terms with leaving and solely because the day I fly home is also the day that I start working towards coming back.

I have loved this year, I love this country and I really, really love this state.

photo (10)

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