The 9 Crazy Things of My First Year in Louisiana, 2017

Living with Tim is an adventure! We have home construction projects (porta potty), high water, hurricanes, snow, ice, broken appliances, doggy hospital visits, doggy escapes, immigration problems (delays), parking tickets, speeding tickets, and I even got my car towed! And that’s all in just over a year!


1: Alligators 

Louisiana ‘s wild alligator population is estimated to be approaching 2 million animals. There are also over 300,000 alligators on alligator farms in Louisiana.  Our house is on the water and connected to Pontchartrain Lake.   So we do know that we have ‘live’ alligators in our neighborhood canals.
The first time that we took our boat out, and one alligator was swimming in front of us!



Tim was so sure that they wouldn’t like our canal because it’s in a dead end with no way for them to get out of the water, and it’s too far away from the lake. But I never listened and I kept watching!

Tim, the grandkids, and all the neighbors swim in the canal during the summer but I won’t…

Tim says that “Alligators will not bother you!” I know he means that alligators are not aggressive like crocodiles (in Thailand). Alligators will swim away when they see people. But one summer night we found out that it’s not true anymore.

In July,  Tim was fishing off our dock and he ran into the house to get me, “Jam Jam!!! Bring your camera!!!” I took my iPhone and ran after him…
Believe it or not? The alligator was there!!! She was about 3-4 feet long, just a baby (with big teeth). She stayed there all night fishing under our lights and she didn’t seem scared of us AT ALL!!!

Tim said he never saw one this far off the lake since he has been here! But it’s here, and it’s my first year!!!


2: Hurricanes 

Living in New Orleans you have to deal with the hurricane season from June-October (Late August and September mark the height of hurricane season).
But my first year in the US was the most active year for Hurricanes since 2005!!!
I was welcomed into my new home by 5 hurricanes this year;
Cindy (June 22), it wasn’t a bad hurricane but it drove me crazy, I was home alone and I didn’t know what to do. We don’t have hurricanes in Thailand, we do have typhoons though… So I only have experience worrying about flooding but not blowing crazy wind and rain!
Harvey (Late August), Harvey had a major effect on Houston which is about 6-7 hrs away from our house. It was big news and the effects of this hurricane lasted about 2 weeks. Harvey was just rain in our area so we were fine.
Irma (September 10), the major impact hit in Florida which is about 7-8 hrs away from our house. We saw many cars with license-plates from “Florida” driving passed our city as they needed to be evacuated.
Maria, (September 16 – September 30) Maria was the one that Tim started to worry the most about for me. It’s the first time that he told me to get ready to be evacuated. Maria peaked at cat3 in our area. I remembered that I slept in a t-shirt and blue jeans for 2 nights, just to be ready to wake up and get out of the house anytime! BUT it was good luck that I was safe and the storm turned slightly away from our area in the last few hours. Yes, I said I was good luck!

NATE (October 3), Nate was the last hurricane of the year which I thought was done with hurricanes already! It was pretty much just rain but it was raining all week during my birthday!

The point is when I got the hurricane warning, I had to move our stuff away and I had to move it back when it’s over!

3: Speeding ticket 

It wasn’t that amazing, just speeding a little bit, but it was my first ticket ever in the US! And it was right after I got my driving license just a month earlier! And…it was about a mile away from our house! AND… it costs $300!!!

The speed limit near our house is 25 MPH but I was going 36 MPH!!! By the state law, it’s 1-12 mph over speed limit is $272 (excluded taxes).

It was a little funny that my driving coach (coach Dave) told Tim that his only concern was that I tend to drive too slow, but SURPRISINGLY?!? I got him a speeding ticket a month later!

4: Lost & Found DOG 

Not many dog owners lost their dog and found them! I was the lucky one, I guess.
Our dog, Jammai ran away from home because I yelled at her about peeping inside the house. I felt bad, I felt guilty to make her run away! I tried to look for her everywhere, even in the water? In the neighbor’s house? I took a bike to find her on our streets, I was crying – no one could help me!

It was 2 hrs torturing myself about her disappearance. Then our best friend and neighbor (Helene) came back from work. She came to help me and she opened an app called “Nextdoor”, this app will gather all the neighbors comments and we shared the information with each other.

We found one post about a LOST DOG.  And yes! it was her, my dog!

In that post, she was having fun, she was happy, she was dating a guy down the street and walked into his house which was about half mile away from our house.

We contacted him and he was happy to return the dog to us.

It was a happy ending, Jammai… Crazy dog!!!

5: The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017

“The Great American Eclipse” by the media! If you missed this time, you have to live another 100 years to see one again! I’m glad that I got a chance to make it because I don’t think I will make it for the next time.

My area wasn’t the best place to see the eclipse but it was a dark sky for 10 mins, I’m here in US which is the best year in 99 years to have the eclipse – don’t you think it’s amazing for my first year here?!?!?


6: Sheriff’s department came over at 2am and I was home alone !

It was frightening when I was home alone and the house alarm went off at 2 in the morning. It was very very loud and woke me up like a nightmare!
I ran to turn off the alarm, then the security company called to check that everything was ok with me? I had no idea, I wasn’t sure that I woke up yet! I told them I don’t know what’s going on and I’m home alone with the dog!
The security call center confirmed that the sheriff was on the way to check. Just 10 mins after the alarm went off, the sheriff got here! It was very impressed that they showed up here so fast!!! There were 2 sheriffs deputies and they were walking around outside of the house, and checked for about 10-15 mins, then they told me that everything fine, no worries.

I was super scared because the neighbors posted that there were thefts in our area. I was hard to go back to bed after that. Tim called back about 6 in the morning, I was still crying, I told Tim I thought I heard noises from the garage door. Tim was in Angola and he calls the alarm company to investigate the alarm system as he believed there is no way to break into the garage door.
At 10am the maintenance guy came over and checked the alarm system…guess what? One of the door alarms showed a fault for low battery!!!


It woke me up at 2am and I was scared to death!!!

7: They towed my car on my birthday!!! 

Well, I was home alone on my birthday but that’s ok. I planned to entertain myself and drive into the city for my aerial yoga and (since it was my Birthday) do a little shopping in the city. It was raining, but I didn’t want to give up. I drove to the city and parked at the same parking lot I always use. But it was raining so hard, I couldn’t see any signs. I went to join the class for 2 hrs then I walked back to my car and the car wasn’t there, nowhere in any parking area!!! I was shocked and I thought it was stolen!!!

I didn’t know who to call or what to do. There was NO note to tell me about what’s going on with my car.

I only saw the phone number of the parking company to call, I tried to be strong and called them. Then I found out that my car was towed by them!!! They told me that I parked in a RESERVED spot, I needed to pay to get my car back at $142 but I have to get there by myself which is about a mile away from where I parked!
Well, it was raining, it was the crazy walk under expressway alone (where many homeless people live) so I got a stupid UBER driver named Joss.
And it was even more stupid when I couldn’t find their creepy office and there is only one guy who works in that office, he didn’t seem to care about returning my car to me.
I was mad, they didn’t seem to be helpful at all on the phone or in person. Oh Man! you already made money from my parking fee ($5) and for towing my car ($142), you should do it better!

You know who you are, and now the world will know about you too, because it was more than 300 views on my blog (ha!)

8: Snowing in New Orleans 

My first snow was in Maryland, that is really snowing for winter time. I was so excited at the first few days but after that, I was done with snow, it’s too cold!

But Snow in New Orleans? No Way!

I was wondering about all-time record snowfalls in New Orleans, I found some records in 1895, 1927 and 2006 that they had snow in this town. And this year 2017, the first year that I live here!

It was funny that Tim has been here for more than 20 years but he always missed the snow here. Same as this year, he was working in Angola. But he told me…“If it really snows, take a lot of pictures. It doesn’t happen very often!”

But snowing here in New Orleans, it was beautiful to see it snow from the sky. When I walked out to take pictures, I saw all my neighbors were taking pictures as well. The young neighbor kids were screaming and enjoying the snow.

It would feel like it never snows in Bangkok but if it happened, it would be more than amazing! The snow lasted for 2 hrs , there was some snow on the ground for 2 days. The pictures about snowing in this town are everywhere on social media. That makes it more unbelievable for what just happened in the first year I’m here!

 9. I survived the Louisiana Blizzard of 2018!

Having snow in town was a fun thing but after a month of unprecedented winter weather, the fun started to wear off!

January 17-18, 2018, we had a “Hard Freeze” warning in our area for a couple of nights.

When I got the warning, I felt okay because it’s just getting cold! Then it started to rain which turned to snow at night, and the temperature kept dropping to a low of 16 degrees in the morning which gave me lots of ice!.

I woke up with ‘power surges’ in the house and all my neighbors had the same problem. There was ice on the ground and it covered the roofs around my area. The roads were slippery, and we had many road closures due to the bridges freezing. I noticed this town wasn’t used to cold conditions!

I was still ok, I had enough food & water so there was no need to go out.

But…the water for the house was NOT running?!!? I went out to check the main water line with my neighbor “Rick”. We found that my main water line was all iced up (frozen solid).

I called Tim to see if I should wait for the ice to melt but Tim told me to pour hot water on that water line.

It worked! The water for the house was back and running again…

But…then our house water filter system started leaking! Gerrrrr!

Okay, now I need the plumber!!!

Tim kept saying that he’s sorry that he was not home to help. Then he said, “Jam, THIS NEVER HAPPENS!”

Well, it just happened Tim!!!



About Jam

I'm Jam, the blogger, and illustrator of this website. I live in Bangkok, Thailand and Louisiana, USA when I'm not travelling.

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