I constantly am asked the same question…by friends, family, coworkers, patients, strangers…everyone. “Why Knoxville?” I usually respond by saying that my husband transferred down here for work. While that isn’t a lie, it’s not the whole truth. The truth is I have always wanted to move south. I hate the cold, I like a good snow maybe once a year, and the fast-paced, hustle and bustle of living outside of D.C. was just no longer appealing to me. So when Brendan’s company in Rockville was coming to a crossroads, I looked at a map of all of the company’s locations and pretty much randomly picked Knoxville as our destination. Now, this is where Brendan and I really differ in how our minds work. I close my eyes and pick a spot on a map and then pack my bags, while Brendan needs to do a thorough research analysis, comparing pay, cost of living, taxes, etc. We met in the middle, and after visiting the area last spring and having a successful job interview at the hospital, we decided to go for it! So here we are!
The second question I am always asked is, “how are you liking Knoxville?” Now, I only got to experience my new home as just Brendan and I for about two weeks until we found out I was pregnant. Out of those two weeks we visited one bar…Cotton Eyed Joes. So based off of that one experience I probably can’t give you a fair review of the night life down here. But one thing we have gotten a lot of experience with is the nature and beauty of Knoxville and it’s surroundings. We have hit 8 out of the top 10 best hikes of the Great Smokey Mountains, as well as gone on a couple of more local hikes at House Mountain and Frozen Head State Park.
Out of all of the hikes we have completed, by far my favorite has been the hike we went on 2 weekends ago in the Great Smokey’s. The trail was called Porters Creek Trail. It was about 4 miles of fairly easy terrain covered in gravel and rocks. The trees displayed the perfect variety of vibrant fall yellow and orange colors. The path diverted into hidden old barns and boy scout cabins. The trail was also paralleled with a beautiful creek that provided calm and serene sounds of flowing water. And the best part was where the trail led to…a beautiful hidden waterfall surrounded by beautiful yellow trees.
Brendan and I have done our fair share of hikes in Maryland, so it has been nice to get a change of scenery and explore new places. Hikes have always been my favorite pastime with Brendan because not only does it provide enjoyable exercise, but it allows us to get away from the stresses of work, bills and the anticipation of having a child. Most of the time we don’t even talk, but just soak in the sounds and images provided to us by mother nature. It allows us to gain insight into our own thoughts and grow closer together in the deafening silence of nature.
Okay, now a little more about my thoughts on Knoxville. Our first real impression of the people here was when we met our landlords. An older, sweet couple who live down the gravel road behind us and have a son who’s family lives next door. When we first met them we were automatically caught off guard by their long, slow, East Tennessee southern drawl. We are so used to the “mile-a-minute” way of conversation in Maryland. It was actually pretty refreshing to be able to read the lips of someone and being able to process and appreciate the words coming from someone else. Now, I have cared for some patients who have such a very, very thick Appalachian accent that you almost need a translator to decipher what they’re saying. I have also worked with and met a lot of people who talk like me! Turns out we aren’t the only “yankees” here in Tennessee. Most people I have met down here also have an appreciation for different things in life, like hard work, respect, family and God. I’m not saying people back home didn’t appreciate these qualities, but people here aren’t afraid to express what they believe in. I see this the most with my patients. They are constantly teaching me new ways to view life…slower, wiser and holier. I’ve met several wives who will sleep in the hospital room, on the hard couch, with their husbands of 60 years because that’s all they have ever known. They’ve only known how to care for their husbands but they aren’t angry about it, they do it with a smile and respond with “he’s the other half of me”. I’ve had 90 pound ladies refuse to let me turn them because I’m growing a “blessing from God” and they don’t want me to compromise the health of my child for theirs. It has truly been refreshing and humbling to work with these people.
Oh and a fun fact I learned…people here call their meals breakfast, dinner and then supper. It gets quite confusing, but they do it for religious reasons.
Food. Lots and lots of food in Knoxville. Barbecue restaurants and dives are almost on every corner. Fried okra is provided at almost every restaurant. And I’ve never heard so many people confess their love for Cracker Barrel until I moved here. Downtown there is a cute place called Market Square, and it is exactly what it sounds like. A square lined by modern restaurants with a southern twist and a center stage for entertainment while eating or walking around. It is a great place to go to people watch. Brendan also discovered his new favorite street band there…a couple who play a variety of instruments that I, of course, have no clue what they are, but they sound awesome.
Overall, we are enjoying ourselves here in Knoxville. However, I can’t speak for Brendan, but I have grown to really miss friends and family. I always said I couldn’t wait to move and get away from all the craziness that comes with family, but I do miss everyone! I blame the hormones and upcoming holidays for all of the recent sentimental feelings. But I am sure after spending a week back up north with all you crazies I will be ready to come back down to my new, 10 degree warmer, state of TN!
Can’t wait to see you all next week!
And the adventure continues.