Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ascension's New Orleans Tour

In honor of Ascension's first birthday, I've put together this little Ascension scavenger hunt--seeing New Orleans through Cheyenne's eyes. I had so much fun revisiting all the places that I've written about for years now. I swear, that city has some sort of calling on my heart. I can't put my finger on it...

1. Mother's 
Of course, our first stop was at Mother's on the corner of Poydras and Tchoupitoulas St. for the one the only Ferdi Special, fully dressed. Oh yeah. It was heavenly. And after wolfing down that sandwich, I leaned back in my chair and took it all in--the waitresses having a ball, everyone else enjoying their food, people trying to go out the wrong door. It was great!

2. Ms. Rose's House
I don't think I ever gave a super concrete description of Ms. Rose's house, but when I passed this one on Iberville St., I just knew that this was her house. She and Mason wouldn't live anywhere else.

3. Garden District - Kara's Home 
We ventured into the garden district (partly because we'd been told about this pretty great bakery Sucré which I'm unofficially adding to the tour) to wander around the beautiful houses, and I ended up finding the perfect Kara house. So you can just see all the crap that went on in that house...well, here it is!

4. Street Cars
Of course we had to ride on the streetcars. It's completely apart of the New Orleans experience, though not necessarily the speediest way to get around town. This one is my favorite because it's just so pretty and goes straight to the French Quarter from the River Walk.

5. The Cemetery 
Alright, so here's the scoop on St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Apparently, a bunch of delinquents decided to vandalize Marie Laveau's (the Voodoo Queen) cemetery, so the city has now decided to charge $27 dollars in order to keep these delinquents out while also pocketing major bucks. As much as I love this cemetery, there was no way I was about to shell out $27 for that. So we did a loop around the outskirts, looking at the tops of the tombs (even the gates have plexiglass on them so you can't get good pictures) then went to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the garden district. This one is free and beautiful, surrounded by lovely homes and old magnolia trees. You basically get the gist of the above ground cemetery here, and who knows, maybe it'll make an appearance in the third book.

6. The Club 
I had a definite purpose while walking around the French Quarter--to find The Club. And I think I found the perfect doorway that opens up to that room of horrors!

7. Jackson Square 
In the center of the French Quarter, here's where one of the first scenes in the city is placed, when Cheyenne and new friends Anne, Mason, and begrudgingly Eli watch a performance of Romeo and Juliet!

8. National World War II Museum 
You all know what happens here--swing dancing/a bunch of other drama! This is the area that they clear out for the dancing. But we also went through most of the museum, and boy, it's pretty fantastic!  Definitely put it on your to - do list. Then just around the corner from the museum is the alley where Cheyenne and Eli had their first kiss. It's just the right amount of secluded and creepy all at the same time.

And that's all folks! More will be added in book 2, and there are obviously places that I missed. But give me some credit. I was only there for two days; Cheyenne had months to cover all that ground.

Thank you to every single person who has supported Ascension, me, and Cheyenne throughout this long, lovely journey! We couldn't have gotten to our first birthday without you!!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Bittersweet Ending

This post has come on way too soon--the last post from England, specifically Oxford. I can't even begin to describe how much of an absolutely amazing journey this has been for me. I've tried to convey it in my posts, but there's just something I can't describe. It's not just all of the absolutely mind-blowing places that I've visited, walking in the footsteps of some of the most amazing authors. It's not just the great food, the lovely accents, the good beer, the amazing sights, the intense history, it's that I came over here and did this. I've never truly travelled on my own before. And yes, I've almost always had people around me during this trip, but I was doing a lot on my own--navigating London and Oxford, staying on my own, getting the most out of this experience as humanly possible.

I haven't written much this week because I was trying to focus on my course and experiencing Oxford. I've met some pretty incredible people while here, not just in my course but in the city too. I even made a new friend that I've gotten to know pretty well. But the people in my course are some amazing students who come from all backgrounds and offered the most unique of experiences to the idea of Oxford and Fantasy. I can't recommend enough the OUSSA program through the continuing education department. They offer week long courses throughout the month of July and into August. There were some people who had taken several weeklong courses over the summer. The administration is very helpful, and if you find the program soon enough, you can actually stay at the college (I was a little late to the game, but my Air BnB was still great and centrally located). My tutor, Maria...her knowledge literally blows my mind. She knows so much and has so much to say, and there's never enough time to get it all out. She posed some great questions in class that led to interesting discussions. Plus, it's pretty fun to listen to an Oxford educated tutor with a Phd talk about how much of a geek for Lord of the Rings she is. We finally got her talking about what she doesn't like about the Lord of the Rings movies in the last class session.

And the other wonderful part about being in this course--you're surrounded by people with the same interests as you. Your conversations are meaningful, and you can totally geek out because everyone is as geeky as you. Now, I was the only real hardcore vampire fan, but that's okay. I think I inspired some people to get back into the vamp genre haha.

All I've seen in Oxford while not being academic:
The Perch (beautiful pub outside the city that has you walk through Port Meadow)
Merton College (where Tolkien taught)
Christ Church College (where scenes from the first Harry Potter were filmed and where Lewis Carroll taught while write Alice in Wonderland)
The Ashmoleon Art Museum
The Natural History Museum (which has a bunch of creepy shrunken heads)
The Turf pub (where Bill Clinton did NOT inhale pot... where the prime minister of Australia set a drinking record, and where a lot of the HP cast would hang out during filming) #
The Bear (the first pub in Oxford that basically existed before Oxford was actually a city)

And now I'm going to go out and enjoy my last day in England, which is surprisingly nice weather (don't get me started on how much I've talked about the weather while I've been here. It's a real thing. I get it now).

See you back on the other side of the pond,