Ken and I met in Baltimore in September of 2004. I was just starting college and he was a junior. We met at an Orioles game. We started dating a month later and we’ve been together ever since. We have a lot of history together in Baltimore. We went to countless Orioles games together, we became involved in the Jewish community at Hopkins, we discovered new restaurants, we played in the pep band at Lacrosse games, Ken introduced me to hockey in Washington, DC and we went to quite a few Capitals games, we got to know the festivals. We went from being just Ken and just Anna to being “Ken and Anna.” We made a lot of friends both through our University and through other avenues–the Jewish community, the Orioles, etc. We moved into an apartment together in Baltimore in the summer of 2006. We got engaged in Baltimore in December of 2007. When we made the decision to leave Baltimore to come to New Orleans, we agreed that we would eventually go back to Baltimore.
I was starting law school and I decided to pursue the Common Law program, which would allow me to take the Bar in any state except for Louisiana. At first I didn’t love New Orleans. The city seemed to be all about drinking and partying. Our first month here, we had to evacuate because of Hurricane Gustav. It was scary and terrifying to leave everything behind, to not know when we would be able to return, if we would be able to return. But we came back. And as they say, New Orleans got under our skin. New Orleans grew on us a lot and now that we are preparing to move back to Baltimore, we are both feeling very bittersweet about this upcoming move.
I always try to stay positive and optimistic about big life changes and I’m trying to do that about this move. By moving back to Baltimore, we aren’t necessarily leaving New Orleans for good. New Orleans will always be a part of us. We got married while living in New Orleans. We became the Levins while living in New Orleans. We became a family while living in New Orleans. Julia was born in New Orleans. New Orleans will always be a part of us, so we aren’t leaving New Orleans, never to return. We’re leaving New Orleans to form new adventures as a family in Baltimore. We know that we’ll be in Baltimore for the next three years but after that life could take us so many places and it might even take us back to New Orleans. It’s definitely bittersweet to be leaving New Orleans and I feel like right now we’re in this funny place with one foot still in New Orleans, wanting to experience everything we love about this city one more time before we leave, and one foot on its way to Baltimore, ready to have new adventures in the city that we used to call home, and will soon call home again. There is so much we want to show Julia about New Orleans and we plan to come back here for vacations in the future so that she can grow up knowing what the neutral ground is, knowing how to properly pronounce “beignet” and “Tchoupitoulas,” knowing how to shout, “Throw me something, Mister!”
As cliche as it is (and I hate cliches), we’re not saying goodbye to New Orleans, we’re saying, “See you later, Alligator!”