The grand finale.

Over the weekend, I drove back to Baton Rouge to get a ton of things done. It was one of my best friend’s birthday weekends, plus I needed to see my CASA boys, get my hair done (very important), and I needed to get any remaining things out of my apartment, clean the place, and turn in my keys.

It was a lot to cram into a 28-hour visit.

So, I got up Saturday morning at 1:30 and hit the road to Louisiana at 2am. Shockingly, it wasn’t terrible. There was no traffic, so I was able to whiz right on through and get into town at 9 — just in time for my hair appt at 9:30.

After that, my mission was to get to the birthday party/LSU-football-watching party (more on this adventure tomorrow), and later, I took my CASA boys to dinner.

The real chore was packing up the remaining crap at my apartment. It wasn’t much, but it was that annoying, little stuff that probably sometimes gets left behind. I checked all of my cabinets and wiped them down as I went. I also had to clean out my fridge and freezer (a task that took way longer than I expected).

Around 9 Saturday night, I was taking my fridge trash to the chute, and started chucking bags of frozen fruit down it, when I thought I heard a voice. I stopped. Heard nothing. Kept tossing.

Then I got to tossing frozen containers of soup. One clanked its way down the chute when I hear:

“Yo, you trying to kill us or something?”

It was obviously someone at the dumpster — and they didn’t appreciate what I was throwing.

I stood still.

“Yo, FUCK you,” said another voice.

So, onto another chore, I quickly decided. Somehow, cleaning my entire apartment took way longer than I’d hoped. Around midnight, I still wasn’t done, but I was exhausted, and pumped up an air mattress to sleep on.

This also took forever, but I happily crashed once it was done.

Sleeping in my empty apartment will classify as a LOW point in my life. It looked completely different without all my stuff in it, and while I loved that apartment, all I could think about were all the bad things that happened in it.

And when I woke up to my alarm 5 hours later, I was laying on the ground. My air mattress had failed me — so it took a sail down the chute as well.

Sunday morning, I finished cleaning, and someone came to pick up my last piece of furniture: my dining room table and chairs. When I did my final walk through, and took a long look out my living room window, I cried.

It really was a beautiful apartment. One that I probably could never afford, but I budgeted my ass off in order to live there. I will miss seeing the palm trees and the brick buildings out of my windows every day (my view in Austin is less-than stellar).

I felt really safe in that apartment. It was really difficult to get into the building, and once you did, it was very much like a hotel. My door didn’t open to the “real world” and I loved that.

Of course, there are things I love about my new apartment. But locking the door for the final time in Baton Rouge was tough. I know I left for the best reason there is: to take that opportunity of a lifetime.

But as I drove yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about how many awesome people I was leaving. There were times when I felt so alone in Louisiana; I felt like I never fit in. But, there were also a lot of cool people who befriended me, or who took me in for no other reason than to just be kind.

It’s not like I won’t see them again, that’s for certain. But I think this month in Austin has been a HUGE reality check. I definitely DID move 7 hours from pretty much everything I know. Sure, I moved from Indiana to Louisiana for college, but then, at least it’s pretty much laid out for you: where you’ll live and eat. And, there are lots of other people in the area who are in the same boat.

My month in Austin has been exciting! I love my new job, my coworkers are great, and I do love my apartment. But, it’s also a little lonely. I know THREE people who live here, and I know my way to and from work. Other than that, I need Siri (even though she took me to the wrong place three times last weekend).

I know, these things will change over time, and I’ll meet people and build a life here. But Louisiana, and everything in it, will always have a place in my heart.

When I was a senior in high school, all I did was dream about my life that would-be in Louisiana. It was pretty much nothing like I imagined, but it was something special. And I’ve also dreamt about my life here, in Austin, and I know there’s great things waiting for me (like trips to the wine outlet).

So there, I did it. I said my goodbyes. But it sure as hell wasn’t easy.

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