And yes, I really do mean every day. But especially on days that include interviews or meetings with people I don’t know.
I’ve only been in the workforce for about a year and a half. But I’ve had my fair share of professional encounters during that time. I’m a qualified graduate. Graduated with honors, won a few awards, have had my fair share of internships and experience. What I’m saying is, I have enough material for the standard cover letter/interview #humblebrags.
A few months ago I walked into an higher-ups office at work who I was meeting for the first time. I was nervous – and then I saw The Blue Dog. You know the one. I said, “you a New Orleans fan?” motioning to the frame. Turns out he’s close with the artist. Who knew? A few months later, in a not so dissimilar setting, a producer asked me “Tulane? How was it?” It wasn’t in that disinterested, killing time, kind of way. He wanted to know how it was.
Here’s the thing you realize when you leave New Orleans: it really is as interesting and unique as Tulane marketed it to be. The city itself is amazing, not just for what it endured and rebuilt after Katrina, but for the traditions, weirdness, and people it attracts. It is a city unreplicated anywhere else in the U.S., and I’d go so far as to say the world. Now, of course you can say the same about New York or D.C. or LA. Of course these cities have something special and cool about them, those certain traits that move millions to call them home. But not like New Orleans.
New Orleans has a je ne sais quoi. You can’t quite place what makes you love it, what makes you want to know about it should you encounter someone who has spent time there or even called it home, what makes you want to be around people who understand just what it means (both to miss her and to know her). It’s hard to put your finger on a tangible reason why your heart swells when you hear jazz through your headphones and you just imagine it for real at Blue Nile. And you can’t explain why plastic beads and the color combos of green, purple, and gold – or black and gold, for that matter! – make you feel a little drunk and a little nostalgic all at the same time.
So when my cold-meetings get New Orleans-warm simply because my resume lists me as a Tulane alum, or when a conversation with strangers leads me to say I grew into myself for four years down in New Orleans, I’m thankful.
Not that I wasn’t before. But it’s always nice to have a reminder.