Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. –Romans 12:2 (NLT)
My environment in New Orleans is different than any I have lived in before in more ways than one. Even living in the YAV house feels a lot different than what I am used to. I spend most of my time in close proximity with seven people and when you’re that close all the time, people start to rub off on you. I’ve been getting used to the culture of New Orleans too, and I am embracing the culture more and more every day. New Orleans is a bigger city with different food, different music, different people. In general it’s louder than what I am used to, especially in the school where I work where the culture of New Orleans is just as prevalent, just presented through small children. Compared to my first week here, I have learned a lot about my new city’s culture and acquired some new interests.
The other day, I was keeping an eye on the second graders while they played a game in their French class. They were playing a memory game matching English and French numbers. As they flipped cards over, the teacher would say the number out loud. On one turn, the teacher shouted out “seventeen,” and a kid immediately sat up on his knees and yelled at the top of his lungs, “seventeen thirty-eight!” And I couldn’t help but laugh. I told my housemate/co-worker this story when we got in the car to go home, and she laughed too. Then she told me there would be no way I would have laughed at that four months ago. And I realized she was right.
The second grader was referencing a popular hip hop song by a young gentleman known as “Fetty Wap.” It’s a song that children should probably not be listening to, but it’s mainstream hip hop and millions of people enjoy the song. However, if I had not signed up to do a year of service in New Orleans with the particular group that happened to volunteer with me, I probably would not know that song, or any of the other popular hip hop songs I now listen to regularly. I was a self-proclaimed hipster, who only listened to classic rock and indie music. But because of my housemate, and the kids, and the city, I now listen to and enjoy more music and food than I ever would have even tried before coming here. I am learning and growing here in more ways than one. I can’t wait to see what other surprises this year has in store.