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Spring Break!

Hello, hello, hello!


It is finally time to reflect on my birthday month. March went by in a blur. Spring Break felt like both the longest and shortest trip of my life, and as soon as I returned, assignments (called homework here) piled up and left me overwhelmed. Now, finally in April, I am looking forward to zenning out, finishing some of the extracurricular activities I have been part of in the US, and flying away from Grand Rapids for my last North American adventures in Toronto, Denver, and New Mexico.

 

Let’s kick things off by describing my fabulous Spring Break trip! While most of my classmates flew over to Florida, I had planned to fulfill a long-time dream of visiting Britney Spears' hometown. While in the area, I thought I should check off another bucket list item – that of visiting New Orleans. I bussed it to Chicago and spent a day doing a city tour, drinking on a rooftop, and viewing a Second City show before heading over to New Orleans.



I was in New Orleans for four days, and I was a little underwhelmed by the city. There were a lot of homeless people there, and on the flip side, a heap of tourists spending money frivolously. On one night, I watched as drunk men threw beads off the rooftops to drunk women dancing on Bourbon Street. Around them were homeless people picking up the beads on the ground, walking around trying to resell them. It was hard to ignore the disparities. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however; I saw a lot of jazz both at the Spotted Cat and onboard the Steamboat Natchez. I also met two wonderful people named Owen and Sheena. We spent one day exploring the botanical gardens in the rain, traveling back and forth St Charles Avenue via tram to see the rich mansions, and trying beignets from Café Du Monde and Café Beignet.



After my time was up in New Orleans, I rented a car and drove through Mississippi to Kentwood, Louisiana – the home of Britney Spears. I parked the car and walked past her childhood home, taking a selfie with the mailbox while wearing my Britney T-Shirt. I also stopped in at the Kentwood Historical Museum, where there is a large collection of memorabilia donated by fans and Britney's mom. You could see Britney's childhood bedroom, a massive fan-made replica stage of her circus tour, and an assortment of Britney dolls over the years. From there, I headed up to Memphis. With only one day in Memphis, I bought myself a Graceland ticket and learned some stuff about the King of Rock and Roll. The rest of the day saw me walking over a bridge into Arkansas, seeing the duck march at the Peabody Hotel, and trying a Southern barbecue pork sandwich at B.B. King's Blues Club.



On my birthday, I headed back through Mississippi, stopping in Alabama for a malted strawberry milkshake at Whataburger, and over to Georgia to see seven states from Lookout Mountain. Finally, I arrived in Pigeon Forge to celebrate my 32nd birthday and to check off an item on my big-ass bucket list – visiting Dollywood. I spent the day listening to country music, skipping lines as a solo traveller for rollercoasters, and taking selfies with anything that said Dollywood. Eventually, I drove three hours into Nashville, scanned Music Row, and headed out to the Grand Ole Opry, where I watched a movie nearby. In the morning, I ran into an old friend, Dakota, at the airport. We did a musical together in Brisbane in 2011, and he lives in Nashville now! I was exhausted at the end of this trip. You can check out a picture of me at the airport - happy to finally be heading back home.



Other than travel, I have been working on some stuff. The first was a feature-length script for a friend. With four half to full days of writing, I was able to come up with a pretty full first draft for a 90 page children’s feature film. I am quite impressed by how much I can write with only a few prompts and in such a short span of time. I’m not sure if the project will go anywhere, but I enjoyed the writing experience – I haven’t delved into creative writing in a long time. I've also been working on my dating skills in the past few months. It's something that I am not particularly good at, but I managed to see a few men over the month of March! The one I liked the most saw me drive all the way up to Traverse City for a date. Unfortunately, the fact that I have to leave in less than three weeks has kind of dampened my mood on the whole dating front. I don’t think I’m a fan of casual dating. If there’s no future – what's the point? So, I'm taking a break in April and focusing on more important things.



University events in March were rehearsals for Legally Blonde (with performances in less than a week) and practicing acapella music with Groove (we also have a showcase on the 19th of April, where I sing a solo). My student organization, Uniting Nations, also had some little wins. We got approved for funding for two projects, rented out a car on the university's dime to check out a cultural show at Cornerstone, and took road trips out to Grand Haven, Holland and South Haven in Michigan.



Finally, this month I read ‘The Girl Who Drank the Moon’. It’s a middle school book about witches, and it was excellent. I think reading it while writing the kids' feature film was really helpful in the creative process. Movies I watched this month were ‘The Princess and the Frog’ (because New Orleans), ‘Ruby Bridges’ (also because New Orleans), and ‘Dune 2’ (I kind of get the Zendaya and Timothée hype now, it took me a really long time). Next blog, I'll write about my April road-trip, the Lake Michigan Circle tour, through Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.


Much love, May



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