I went to Lewisville, TX this past weekend to participate in the American Association of Community Theatre's regional festival. I've been a part of an original piece called A-musing with Ashe Cultural Arts Center. We won at the Louisiana festival in February, so we advanced to the regionals. We didn't win in Texas, though - which I have mixed feelings about. The national festival is in New York in late June, when I'll be 8 months pregnant, so they would have had to replace me anyway. But it would have been nice for the rest of the team (who all worked harder and longer on this project than I did) to advance.
While packing to return home, it hit me that, for the first time in eight years, the home I was returning to was not New Orleans. I moved in with my partner (my baby's dad) at the end of March, and we live in Denham Springs.
I remember a few years ago, my sister and I (we lived together at the time) were thinking of moving to a new apartment, and we looked at some places on Algiers Point. We were unsure whether it would feel "too far" from downtown New Orleans. Ha! Now I'm a 90 minute drive away (if traffic cooperates).
I live in a subdivision with cookie-cutter new brick houses and no trees. There are no stores within walking distance. I've been forced to shop more than once at Walmart (which, among its other obvious issues, does not exactly have a great selection of vegan foods). Sometimes this still feels like a weird dream.
On the other hand, I now live in a 3 bedroom house with a big yard, 2 cats, and the guy I love. I've planted a vegetable garden. We've got a big compost bin, which for some reason I find ridiculously thrilling. Our son's room is gradually filling up with artwork, toys, and clothes that other parents have given me.
I'm still commuting to NOLA for work two days a week, and I've also visited often to see plays and attend French Quarter Fest. We recently checked out the Swine Palace Theater on LSU's campus, closer to home, for their production of The Metal Children, which I enjoyed.
The pace of my life has dramatically slowed over the past few months. I'm simply not able to work as much, to do as much theater, to exercise as much, etc. It was a big shift - much like the move itself. But I've found myself enjoying being able to really focus on one thing at a time. I do prenatal yoga DVDs. I cook dinner (I was doing that before, but it's nice to have someone to share it with). I finished revising the novel I've been working on for two years (finally!) and am ready to take that project to the next stage. When I was in Lewisville, I was able to direct all my energy to our performance and the necessary preparations. When I drove into NOLA for Playback rehearsal on Sunday, I felt fully "there," with no future responsibilities tugging at my brain.
I know this period will be brief. Believe me, every parent I know has informed me multiple times that this stuff will not be possible, at least for a while, after our baby is born. But it's where I'm at right now, and I'm enjoying the moments as they come, these days.