Written by Bianca Medina, proud AmeriCorps member serving on the Entergy Louisiana/New Schools for Baton Rouge team at Broadmoor Middle School. 

Two places pretty much sum up the first 22 years of my life: Texas and Mexico. I lived and breathed Dallas. I know that city and all of its gorgeous and gritty and self-aware districts inside and out. And when I wasn’t in DFW, I was travelling down I-35 with my family to our second home, Aguascalientes, Mexico. Sure, I’d visited other states within the South, but I never felt more at ease than when I was in Dallas speaking Spanglish, riding the light rail train across town with my brother, and getting everything done at a super-fast pace.

And, now, I feel, my life in Baton Rouge and at City Year is turning out to be a surprisingly delightful inversion of almost everything I have known. In the past 2 and 1/2 months of living in this super rad city and getting to know my 1CYBR community, I have learned that home is where you make it, and the people you choose to enjoy your life with are the ones who comprise your family. My roommates are from the Carolinas, from the other end of the South, and I feel like I’ve known them for ages. My sharp yet nerve-racking eighth-grade English students at Broadmoor Middle have taught me to inject more laughter into everything. Their eagerness to live –to ride the bus into school before 7am, to truck through tough assignments, to goof off, to share their lives and ask me about mine– gives me an eagerness to live. In the past two weeks, my students lit up because they unknowingly wrote their own poems with figurative language-- that’s what I live for. I lose count of how many times a day my students straight up wow me with their incredible insights. And, outside of school, whenever 1CYBR gathers as a whole, I’m reminded of how beautiful we all are. We support each other, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Dallas, of course, will always be a part of me, but Baton Rouge and City Year are teaching me to slow down a bit, to take a look around and soak in the awesome “people, ideas, and cultures around me”, as the pledge goes. My roommates, my students and all of the other corps members have taught me this. We all make up this home I’ve found in the state adjacent to one of the loves of my life (that’s Texas, just in case you forgot). Yes. I think I found a new home to add to my collection.

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