Thursday, March 12, 2009

We're finally unpacked and settled.  We actually got everything unloaded and put away in a matter of days, thanks largely to Vinny coming down to help (thanks again, Vien!!).  The house is smaller than our house in Lafayette, but it feels a lot cozier than that one ever did, mostly because it's carpeted in the living room and painted in light neutrals and whites.  It's starting to feel very homey.  

Mandeville is a small town; even if it were combined with its neighboring town, Covington, it wouldn't be as big as Lafayette.  But I've always liked small towns.  It's a nice compromise for Jim and I; I get the small town experience, and he gets to be next to a big city again.  

We're living in what is referred to as "the northshore" here.  That term includes Mandeville, Covington, Slidell, Abita Springs, and other surrounding towns.  For anyone not familiar with the landscape, that's because we're all on the northshore of the huge lake, Lake Pontchartrain, that separates us from New Orleans.  We have to take a 24-mile long bridge over the lake to get to New Orleans from here.

Or, New-aw-lins, spoken as close to two syllables as possible.

People are really nice here.  Must be that southern hospitality I've heard about.  The night we arrived, our new neighbors offered to help right away, and gave us some home-made soup.  The next night, they made barbecue chicken.  They're really sweet people.  Up north, we're friendly with our neighbors, but basically keep to ourselves.  Here, our neighbor Tom came over the second night, knocked on the front door, asked me where "the boys" were, put out his cigarette by the bushes in our front yard, walked in and insisted they come over for "a cold one".  I couldn't help but laugh.  Guess I'd better get used to it.

Louisiana fun facts:
-Louisiana is the only state to have "parishes" instead of counties.  We live in St. Tammany Parish.
-Lake Pontchartrain is the second largest salt-water lake in the US.  It is home to many large sea creatures such as alligators, bull sharks, stingrays, dolphins, and manatees.
-The 24-mile causeway bridge over Lake Pontchartrain is the longest bridge over water in the US.

Pests and pets
We have geckos here!  I've always thought they were so adorable.  There was one trapped between the screen and window in our dining room the night we got here, and it scared Jim when it scurried away.  I want to try to catch one, but I don't want it to get scared and drop its tail.

Unfortunately, we also have crane flies.  They look like huge mosquitos, but are harmless.  They basically exist to mate and die.  They're really clumsy and not too bright.  When I let the dogs out at night, they fly in the house, run into the walls, and fall down.  Then Bo eats them.  Everybody needs a bedtime snack, right?


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