Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Best Costume of the Year

We were driving in Atlanta a month or so ago, and we stumbled across a Halloween party in a really cool old neighborhood. This guy was walking to the party with his friends... none of whom were dressed up. I really wanted to be his friend.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alive and Kicking

Yes, we are still alive in East Tennessee. Football mania hasn't killed us yet :-)

Actually, the reason that I've been posting less is that we've been enjoying life here more! We've been kept away by *gasp* social engagements. Things are finally getting to the stage here where we are not totally alone... some friendships are finally in the works. :-) We met a wonderful couple who lived upstairs in our building... we've hung out with them a few times. Sadly, they moved out of our complex but they're not too far away. I've been going to a few crochet meetups a month. Scott's been playing tennis and going out with some physics guys. We've had some of his physics friends over here. And we just finished the membership class at our church... so it looks like we will become official members this month, and join a Bible study! I enjoyed having so much downtime when we first moved to Knoxville, but it is nice having places to go and people to see, too!

One of the things I was MOST excited about moving out of SoCal was the seasons. And I have NOT been disappointed. We'll see how I feel at the end of winter, but for now... seasons are a fantastic thing! It has been amazing to watch the leaves shed their summer greens and put on a show! I have seen colors in nature the last few weeks that I have not seen before in my life... colors that no man has replicated. It's amazing, some of the leaves seem to almost glow, they are so bright! And silly city-girl me... somehow I thought that all of the trees would change on the same day. Like, one day they would all be green and the next they would all start turning orange. But it's been fun to see week by week which trees are changing, and now which trees are starting to lose their leaves. I can't picture living in Knoxville with no leaves on the trees... since it is normally SO green here. But... it will be another adventure.

A few weeks ago we got our adventure-hats on and went for a drive to the mountains. The colors are good down here, but I really wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So we did the tourist thing and went to Cades Cove. Cades Cove is an 11 mile one-way driving loop up in the mountains. It was pretty well populated in the early 1900's, so there are a lot of amazing old houses and churches. And of course, the scenery is amazing. I was hoping to see a bear... but I was at least satisfied with a few deer and a bunch of wild turkeys. It was one of the most naturally beautiful places I have ever been in my life, and I can't wait to go back when we have time to get out of the car and hike around. This is definitely somewhere I'd love to bring out of town visitors!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Photo Of The Day-- New Thirties-ish Hat!

I've been crocheting a lot lately-- it's much more fun in the cold weather, plus I have a crocheting group to attend several times a week. I finished this a week ago, but finally got it all pieced together. I like how it turned out- a plain beanie, embellished with a silver scalloped edge and a crocheted flower and leaf. I think it looks a bit like the thirties. Definitely on the gaudier side of what I'll wear... but it's fun!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Highlights from The World Of Little People

- Our unit the next two weeks is on dinosaurs. I know NOTHING about dinosaurs. But I can ROAR pretty well and that's all that really matters when you're two.

- Victory from the last week: The Three-Year-Old learned how to remove his own shirt with minimal whining and crying about how he can't do it.

- Only one major injury, to Blondie. She fell on the play car and hit her head on the metal(!!!) steering wheel, leaving an awesome diagonal line bruise down her forehead from hair to eyebrow.

- I now have two biters. The Peanut has joined Stitch in using teeth to communicate.

- Glue sticks do not work with two-year-olds. Glue with paintbrushes does.

- It is possible for a child to talk for 2.5 hours when they should be taking their nap instead. Even if you take away their book and their shoes, they will still talk and not fall asleep.

- There is absolutely no way to use the water table in class without requiring a 20 minute mop-up with paper towels afterward.

- Pull-ups with designs that disappear when you pee are such a bad idea. How fun is it to make those little hearts disappear by peeing! I seriously think they are slowing down our pottying progress!

- It is also fun to pour your milk on the ground if your teacher will make you clean it up afterwards. Consequently, this child is not allowed to clean up his spilt milk... which I worry is setting him up for all sorts of character problems.

- It's fun to have the most flowery hats and bonnets, and sparkly purses, in the dress-up corner. Two-year-old little boys will think they are adventure hats and bags and will wear them to drive the play-car. And that is just awesome.

- No matter how frustrating a child is or how much they cry or disobey all day, when they run up to you and give you a hug, it is still all worth it.

- Two-year-olds can learn Scripture! Our class verse is Eph 4:32a: "Be kind and compassionate to one another." We talk about it almost every day, and when I see examples of the verse being used or not being used. I don't know how deeply they understand it yet, but I can ask questions like "Is hitting someone a kind thing to do?" "How about sharing a toy?" and they respond "Yesssss" or "Noooooo". The older ones can even give me examples of kindness. And I asked my YOUNGEST one "What does Eph 4:32 say?" when she was having trouble being kind, and she responded "Be kind and PASSIONATE!" Good enough for me... God's word is starting to sink into her little heart! This is why I teach!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Season of Waiting

Wow. Where did this week go? It was one of those weeks that seems to drag on, but then at the end I don't really remember much of it.
Monday we all got to have a 2 hour training after work... 10 straight hours at work sets the tone for a long week. That meant I didn't get to go grocery shopping til Tuesday, which made Tuesday a long day also! Thursday I baked my once-every-two-weeks double batch of cookies, to fill the cookie jar and boost the freezer reserves. Double Chocolate cookies this week... they are really soft and taste like brownies. Mmmm. Friday I got out of work an hour early and we got Italian Ice (at Ritas, where I will take every person that comes to visit us!) and checked out a local book store (named Carpe Librum, how awesome is that?). This weekend I've been catching up on much needed small projects.

But quite honestly, it's been a hard week. I've really been feeling lonely all week. That is the one really hard thing about the move to Knoxville. I love it here, love the landscape and the architecture and the culture and the weather and the friendly people, but I have yet to make FRIENDS. It's hard because Scott has automatic buddies in his physics group, but I don't have something like that. Yes, I have work, but there are only 3 other teachers at my school and we don't interact much since we are soo busy in our own little classrooms. 2 of them are significantly older than me, and they are nice but not people I can see as my life-long friends.

I am fairly introverted and not great at making friends immediately. Our apartment complex isn't really social (there's no central meeting place everyone hangs out except the pool, and it's past the season for that). I didn't really have any activities to meet people. I've started going to a crocheting circle so I'm starting to meet people but I've only gone twice so far. I don't really know what other things to go to... I'm looking at more crochet meetings and book clubs or classes, but I haven't tried anything yet. I'm just now getting to the point where I feel settled into the apartment and routine so I have time to do things. We hadn't settled on a church (but I think we have as of today!), but I would like to make friends at whatever church we end up going to.

So I have hope that I will be making friends, and I am committed to put myself in at least one situation each week where I will meet people, and to take initiative in making friends there. But for now... it's hard. Scott gets to go out with his friends on Friday nights (which I am so happy for him!) but I long for the day when I will have friends to go out with too! I am trying to trust in God, because I know His timing to provide friends will be perfect... and I know I am learning to lean more on Him through my lonliness. But I would love some good girlfriends to do life with! I miss all of my friends from San Diego and LA!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Photo of The Day-- Bringin' In The Harvest

One of the things that attracted me most to our apartment when we were looking at it was that the leasing woman offhandedly said "Yeah, do whatever you want to it... you can garden if you want." Later I asked her if she meant I could tear up plants, and she confirmed. So, despite the fact that we had absolutely no furniture our first two weeks of living here, I tore up a small patch of STUBBORN ground cover. I probably worked for five or six hours to clear 6 by 12 inch patch I have. I planted some carrots and basil. Today I noticed one basil plant was about 6 inches tall, which means it was time to harvest. I got about six medium leaves off of it, and used them in my stuffed zucchini... they tasted so amazing!! Here is the pride of my crop, right before the pluckin'. (Not the best picture, but my camera was getting rained on!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Photo of The Day-- First Ever Grown-Up Decorating?

I've been inspired recently. I'm reading through the archives of Pleasant View Schoolhouse. It's a wonderful blog. The author is amazing at all things domestic... sewing, baking, cooking, decorating, knitting, and other such lovelies. I am just starting to come into my own domestically. We are still at the stage where we don't have a couch or bookshelves, and store our books on the floor. We don't really have the money to do up our tiny apartment in fancy decorations. But reading this blog has inspired me to do a little bit with the little I have. I have really never decorated before, besides putting up posters in college. I never got to the decorating stage in LA. But I'm determined to bring a bit of beauty to our modest home here.

A bag of lovely pumpkin scented pinecones and berries at AC Moore for $2.99, a repurposed vase with beautiful curves, and an autumnal dinner napkin for some more color. I can't decide if I like it more with or without the napkin. Thoughts? Ideally I'd have a runner for the dresser, but... it's all about making do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Living in the Bible Belt

Admittedly, there have been fewer major differences between living in Knoxville and San Diego than I pictured (the majority of people here drive cars, and not tractors, down the street... despite what I had imagined).

Some of the more foreign feeling things have come from the fact that this is the Bible Belt. It's strange... it's not so much that all of the people here are church-goers. A larger percentage of the population than I had expected do not go to church. It is more that the culture is different.

- You know how many Spanish radio stations there are in Southern California, on both AM and FM? Well, it's like that here with Christian radio stations. It seems like every other address is gospel music, modern Christian music, Bible verses, sermons, etc etc.

- At the UT football game... they prayed before the game. It was part of the opening ceremonies, just like the anthem. It wasn't a super generic prayer either; it was a pretty Christian specific prayer.

- Grocery stores and convenience stores don't sell liquor, only beer. You have to go to a liquor store for spirits. And... they're not open on Sundays. Hmph. Margarita Sunday was thwarted.

- There is a mile stretch on the main road through town, and I think at least 3/4 of the buildings are churches. There are SO MANY CHURCHES in Knoxville. Seriously. I can probably think of 4 times as many churches in Knoxville than Encinitas. I don't know who is going to all of these churches, but there they are. Mainly Baptist and Methodist... I can't think of a Baptist church in SoCal.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Photo Of The Day-- Holy Cow, the Orange!

More than 102,000 people in attendance at Saturday's game. In the ninth largest stadium in the WORLD.
If you have never lived in the South, I don't think you can comprehend the football mania.

See that little patch of blue on the far right side of the stadium? That was cool... there was another one up on our level, just out of the picture on the right. They were LOUD. Sad that we weren't with the Bruin fans, but we got to rep in our section.

Tennessee is OBSESSED with the Vols.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Picture Of The Day-- I Made Mittens!

So, I don't like the pattern I used very much-- I think they are shaped more like oven mitts than actual mittens. But, it's the most complex thing I've ever crocheted, and I think they turned out alright. I've never owned mittens before!

It's amazing to think that in just a few weeks, it will start getting cold. So far, the high has been above 80 every day, and it has not dropped below 60 at night. I've never lived somewhere cold before and I am so so so excited for seasons. I'm secretly (or not so secretly) hoping for an extreme winter... there was a blizzard in '93 and I'd love to have another one this year. The lady who led our horse expedition said that a lot of the nature signs were pointing toward a cold winter, and I couldn't be more excited! I can't wait to start putting extra blankets on the bed, brewing hot tea nightly, wearing coats and scarves, and smelling fall in the air!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Photo Of The Day-- John and Beth!

John and Beth led Navs at UCLA Scott's freshman year and blessed him a lot. They've since moved to Texas, but we got to see them for a few minutes before the game. It wasn't long enough, but it was great to see their smiling faces. John, sadly, was disappointed by the UT loss (a few years at UCLA apparently wasn't enough to switch his loyalties to the side of light and beauty).

It was a great start to an awesome day... BRUIN VICTORY.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Photo of The Day-- GO BRUINS

In honor of tomorrow's showdown, I have pulled a photo from one of our last days in LA (I mean, obviously this is not Knoxville....) This is one of my favorite views in the world. The beach isn't as good as San Diego, but Santa Monica is full of memories.

Tomorrow is the big game (for us)... UT versus UCLA. We will be going in our UCLA Den shirts! Two little powder blue dots in a massive sea of orange.

The highlight of my day: I was walking in downtown after work and I saw the three buses full of the UCLA players. As they were driving away, I got to point at the Den shirt I was wearing and give them the thumbs up. I'm sure I looked like a dork, but I got some thumbs-up back!

GO BRUINS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Photo of The Day-- Sept 10

Thursday nights I'm by myself, so I took the quiet evening to cook, bake and do laundry.It was nice and rainy- a perfect night to be domestic. I made homemade refried beans (not bad), and a double batch of snickerdoodles. I baked one batch, and froze the other one for a later date. I love being able to fill the cookie jar to surprise Scott when he gets home :-) Total count: 40 baked cookies (5 didn't make it into the pictures, but they were delicious), and 22 cookies going into the freezer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Photo of The Day-- Sept 9

Crazy town...

University of Tennessee football is THE thing here. For the entire state. It is a craze. Bigger than any sports patriotism I've ever witnessed, for any team, at any time.

We were out of town last Saturday for the opening game, but we got to witness some of the fervor the day before. As we were driving home from work at 4 in the afternoon on Friday, people were starting to camp for the big game. Notice the three motor homes... camping... at the SHELL STATION? I have no idea what is going on. Why are these people here 24 hours before the game? Why are they camping at the gas station, in an apparently roped-off designated camping area? The world may never know.

But I do know this: this whole city bleeds orange and white. And we're going to the game on Saturday. In UCLA shirts. GULP.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Photo of The Day-- Sept 8

I got a birthday package in the mail from my lovely in-laws!! My mother-in-law is an Apron Maker Extraordinaire, and this HAPPENS to be the cutest apron that she's ever made!! I think I smiled for half an hour after I opened the package, and then I rushed to make dinner and asked Scott to take pictures! It is SOOOO well made, and it makes me dream of being in a condo by the beach, cooking a summery meal. THANK YOU LORI!!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Photo of The Day-- Sept 7

We had a long wait for the fireworks yesterday. By 2 PM, people were camping out in their spots. We finally staked a space along the river at 7, giving us 2.5 hours to chat. I played around with the features on my camera and found the feature that will let you select a color, and every color except for that color is in black and white. The sky was a beautiful dusky blue, and I liked how this shot of the bridge turned out. I wish it was a bit sharper, but I didn't have anything to use as a tripod and the light was low. And I wish it was well-framed, but I couldn't move through the seas of people around me. Still, pretty fun :-) I'm excited to mess around with this feature more!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Photo of The Day-- Sept 6

Boomsday Festival, the largest Labor Day fireworks display in the nation (ok, not too many people do fireworks for Labor Day, but still).

It was IMPRESSIVE. Tied with Disneyland for best fireworks show I've seen. Twenty minutes long, totally coordinated to the (awesome) music. They shot the fireworks from the main bridge over the river, so it was a beautiful location. The show included a sparkly waterfall of fireworks into the river, and some blasts being shot off from the water. Classic music such as The Eagles, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, "Rocky Top" (sort of our Tennessee patriotic song), and "I Can Only Imagine."

Tennessee loves its festivals!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Photo of The Day-- Sept 5

One of the best birthday presents ever-- Scott booked us for a Saturday horseback ride. We got to help brush the horses and get them ready to ride, then we rode from 10-2, ate lunch, and rode from 3-5. Then we got to feed the horses and clean them after the ride. It was with a really nice lady who runs a B&B and does trail rides, and we were the only two people on the ride. We learned about native flora and fauna, saw ruins of old cabins, and got to see the hills of Tennessee up close. Since I've ridden before, I got an adventurous (aka finnicky) horse. She tried to buck me off three times! I didn't die, or even fall off! All in all a fantastic, wonderful day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Orange Chicken

Now that I'm finally restocking our kitchen with the basics for cooking (slow going on a small grocery budget!), I'm getting to cook fun meals again. I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while, and I finally did on Tuesday night!

It is yummy orange chicken... I could tell the difference from Panda Express, but not much! I'd say it was just as good. Of course, it's fried so it's not health food, but it's probably healthier than Panda... I didn't dump any MSG in it or anything :-D I think next time I'd make a bit more sauce, and stirfry some onions, pineapple, and bell pepper. It was delicious with white rice. You should try this sometime. I halved the recipe for two of us, it made a bit more than enough, and it didn't take too much time!

Panda-Style Orange Chicken:

Photo Of The Day

Monday - Wednesday, Scott is done with work an hour and a half after I am. So I walk across the street from my work (the gorgeous church in the back ground) to World's Fair Park while I wait for him. I sit up on the hill above this fountain and I read my Bible and pray and journal and usually nap. It's one of my favorite times of day.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One of Those Moments

I usually love my job... but really.

Yesterday was a decently calm morning. Until...

There's one girl in my class who doesn't really talk, besides one word here and there (but somehow she still manages to be loud). We'll call her Blondie. Well, she's potty-training and she started to say "paah-eee... PAAH-EEEEE" which I have learned by now means she wants to put her training to practice. Well, the three-year-old class was using our adjoining bathroom at the moment, so her shrieks became louder and louder. After hurrying several playful three-year-olds through their pottying routine, I stood her at the doorway to the bathroom and yanked down her shorts and Pull-up. Now, usually I would check contents of said Pull-up before pulling it down, but I was just trying to get her to her target destination. Bad idea. Poop exploded all over the floor. And her leg. And pants.

But 4.2 seconds before this happened, a kid's mother walked in carrying him and happened to stand right next to where I was kneeling down. So she just stood there watching me while I had a heart attack over the Great Explosion.

So while I scrambled for paper towels and bleach, and stuck Blondie on the toilet, and tried to keep curious kids from entering the bathroom, and Artsy Mom stood right in my path, I heard shrieking from the other corner of the classroom. SHU-RIEK-ING. The smallest girl in my class had chosen this opportune moment to tormet the only three-year-old. Classic David and Goliath, except David is a teensy pink-dress-wearing ball of fire. For some reason, she was yelling "NO" to Three-Year-Old, which apparently made him so angry that he was howling, screaming, yelling, basically having conniptions and dying AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS in the other corner of my classroom. Which Peanut thought was so funny that she'd do it again (hey, I guess I'm trying to teach them about cause and effect and she's got it down pat).

Why do parents choose to walk in at these moments? And stand there helpless? Oh yeah, because they have one two-year-old. And I have seven.

I don't ever want septuplets, thanks.

Oh, and then we ate breakfast.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pedestrian Danger

I was on a run today, and I was pondering how decidedly non-hickish Knoxville has turned out to be.

Then I realized... there are seriously NO sidewalks in this city.

I'm running on tiny residential streets, lined with trees, and no sidewalks, waving at people riding their riding mowers through their lawns.

Ok, it's a tiny bit country, but I love this place.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Old Time Domesticity-- or, Despite What My Sister Thinks, I'm Not Really a Granny

There's something about Tennessee that feels... crafty.

I don't know how to explain it, really. But I've been much more inspired to do crafts since I've been here. I think part of it is that it's much more of the culture. Many people who crochet/ knit here do it because their grandmother or mother taught them... it's a passed down thing. Our first week here, there was a quilting expo at the convention center. For me, I was just interested (mostly because I liked wearing hats) so I got a book from the library. I love my mom, but she does not crochet.
I think another part of it is the scenery. The homes just look more... well, homey. They have big back yards, porches, and rocking chairs out front (yes, really). They're cute, brick houses with chimneys and flower gardens. Something about the look of a really adorable house makes me want to make something.
And... I'm finally not busy. I guess I'm working 40 hours a week, like I have for the last few years of my life, besides school. But for once... I'm not planning a wedding, I'm not dating someone long distance, I'm not managing a move, I'm not helping a husband apply to grad schools, and I'm not busy with family and friend obligations. I don't really have much to do. It is so nice!

So, this month, I've crocheted a hat and some mittens. That's unusual for me... I usually don't like crocheting in the summer because it just feels wrong. I'm itching to go onto other crafts... I would really like to learn knitting... and one of my life goals is to make a quilt (for which I will have to learn sewing). I'm even starting to think a bit about basic interior design (aka, making our apartment not look horrible).

Anyways, this is all to say that I did something awesomely FUN last week. I went to a crocheting circle! It was Scott's idea. How did I never think of this before?? I've been a bit lonely out here, especially since he started school. I mean, we know no one and we don't have a home church yet. There are 4 other people that work at my workplace, and I don't really hit it off well with any of them. We haven't really met too many neighbors. And now Scott has school friends. I was feeling a bit despairing about meeting people... since I'm not great at it, and it takes me a while to find friends. But Scott suggesting looking for other crafty people.

I looked online, and there is a group that meets up in Knoxville to crochet and knit! How cool. I went to a meeting last week. There were six of us, and we just sat in a coffee shop for 3 hours and chatted about craft stuff and life. They are my type of people, it seems. They meet once or twice a month, and they share craft ideas and advice. It's not a group of old grannies either... I might have been the youngest, but most of us were in our twenties.

So I am very very excited to go back. I can't go to the next one since it's on the day of the UCLA/ UT football game and we are definitely going to that. But I will definitely go back soon. After all, if I'm going to act like and old granny and sit around and crochet, I might as well make some cool friends while I do it!

Now I just need to find some friends who like to bake and eat ice cream and run :-)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Update

Please excuse the recent absence, but I am back... hopefully more permanently this time. I know every blogger has their excuses, but I'm going to go ahead and say that two weeks including me starting work, Scott starting classes and teaching, me coming down with the plague/ losing my voice due to germy two-year-olds, and passing such onto Scott would qualify me for an excuse. :-) Maybe.

We are still liking Knoxville. Ok, Scott is liking Knoxville and I am LOVING Knoxville. I tell Scott at least twice a week that I like Knoxville.

I started work. I am so thankful to have a job. I also pray that I don't spend the rest of my life working preschool, that God willing I am blessed to teach older children some day. Preschoolers are exhausting. I mean, for anyone who has ever had ONE two-year-old to deal with... imagine seven of them. In a little tiny room. For most of a day. Most of them have just turned two, so they are old enough to have definite opinions about everything, but young enough to need help with most everything. We've been doing a lot of coloring, playing with cars, having story time on the circle carpet, and playing on the jungle gym outside. Some of the children are very challenging, some of them are very cute, and they are all very active.

We are settling well into a routine. I work 7:30 to 3:30, right over by UT (about 6 miles away). We drive over and park at the church in the morning, and Scott heads to campus. He works on homework when he's not in class, and he's usually done by 4:30 or 5, when we head back home. The commute isn't really that bad... it's on the main street (other than the interstate) between West Knoxville and downtown. In the morning, there are no cars on the road! It's a very welcome break from LA and San Diego morning rush.

I will write more soon about why I love it so much here and how much I hope we'll get some visitors some day so we can show them the awesomeness of Tennessee... but it's bedtime. The morning comes early around these parts.

And yes... I do have a slight drawl now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Even Greater Provision

First news first: SCOTT GOT A TA-SHIP!! I'll let him tell you more about it later... but we have been praying for this for months. UT accepts more grad students than they have TA-ships for, which means some students are left paying for grad school while trying to be a full-time student. Which is a very difficult situation. We took out loans and we were all ready for it... but God provided at the last moment. I mean... he starts orientation on Monday, they couldn't have waited much longer!

I just know he will be the best TA in the world. He's a fantastic teacher and makes things really interesting. And I think he will enjoy teaching a lot! So this is wonderful wonderful news. We are both marveling at the provision we've received in the last three days. Now we can even buy some furniture!

I got to meet the little pip-squeaks today. Sometimes it really is amazing how little two-year-olds are. I was there for three hours, just hanging out while the teacher did her thing. I will do the same thing all day tomorrow, and then on Monday she moves up to the threes class and I have my own classroom for the first time.

On one hand, I feel so unprepared. I've never studied how to do this, I've never made a lesson plan in my life, and I don't have good ideas of fun activities to do with pre-schoolers. But on the other hand, I know that if I love them, that will impact them more than a really well-executed ABC lesson. I am excited to love these seven little children... 3 of them that I've met, and 4 who will be new with me. I'm already wracking my brain for ways to show them love and teach them well. I'm sure it will be a huge learning curve, but it will be so exciting!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A job, a mattress, and lots of rain

We are still alive!

And we have our own apartment. I guess I have been so excited about it that I haven't posted here in a while. We moved into our apartment 12 days ago. It's a great little apartment. You know, you worry that your first night in a new place, you will realize all of the terrible things about it and you'll regret your decision. Like neighbors upstairs who clomp around all night, or terrible water pressure, or cricket infestations, or something. Well, we are still loving this place. So far, it is perfect for us! (And I'm sure if I told some of you SoCal people our rent, you would fall out of your chair! It is a third of what we paid in LA) Unfortunately, we are still very unfurnished. We are building up furniture slowly as our finances become more stable. Our first week here was spent sleeping on our camping mattresses, which were SO much better than the floor, but still not the same as a bed. Well, we bought a mattress and box spring, so at least that is taken care of. It feels luxurious! We'd still like a table and chairs, couch, bookshelves, and desk at some point. But we're waiting at least a bit on those. Oh, the adventures of being young and poor.

BUT, there are two fantastic things.
One: a kitchen. In our last place the kitchen was pretty dirty, and it wasn't really ours, and we were on a super budget. So it was sandwiches for lunch and pasta for dinner, every day. It seems like such a small thing to complain about, because many people in the world would be delighted with that much... but for me it was very hard. I love to cook and to eat, hahaha. I think we were both cranky because we weren't eating very well. But now I have my OWN kitchen, with big cabinets and counter space. Our grocery budget still isn't luxurious, but it's enough to eat decently and even to eke out some homemade sugar cookies :-)

Two: a mall. This might be the ruin of me (or maybe of Scott haha). We are on the very end of the complex. Thirty seconds from our back door is a path through the grass and the trees, and at the end of that path is a gate leading into a parking lot. And in that shopping complex is an AC Moore (exactly like Michaels... lots of yarn!), a Borders, a teacher's supply store, an Off Broadway Shoes, a Bed Bath and Beyond, and a grocery store. Which is pretty much the only stores I need in life. Throw in H&M and I'd never leave. But in all seriousness, it is soo nice having a major grocery store a 4 minute walk away! Plus, right on the other side of that is a big indoor mall with a movie theater and lots of clothes stores. See, we don't live in the boonies!

In other news, Knoxville is very rainy. Locals say this is very unusual. Average rainfall for August is 2.9 inches... I feel like we've had that each week since we've been here. But it's let up on the weekends for us, which has let us have great adventures!

Let's see... any other news? Hmmm... I'm not sure... what am I forgetting.... oh yeah! A JOB!!! I have been applying to jobs since before we even moved out here, and now I have one. For a while when we moved out here I was applying to anything I was remotely qualified for, and I was starting to apply to retail stores and such. Which would be fine, but it wasn't really what I wanted to do. I had a talk with Scott, and we decided that I really should be concentrating on applying to schools. My dream is to teach elementary school. While I knew that I probably couldn't get a job in an elementary school this year, any school experience would be good. So I concentrated my efforts on that. And lo and behold, I am now a teacher. I will start Monday and have my own classroom of seven little two-year-old kiddies. I'll be with them for eight hours a day. I'll teach lessons, Bible stories, art, potty-training, and more. I think the most exciting part is after being the newest teacher in a classroom with SEVEN teachers at my old school, I'll get to run the classroom this time. It will be my first real experience with it, so I'll get to see how I like it. I am very excited about it. It seems like God just wants me to be reallllllly good with two-year-olds. They're a fun age :-)

I think that's about all the news for now. We are off to dinner to celebrate employment!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Did you ever see the beauty of the hills of Carolina, or the sweetness of the grass in Tennessee...

First person to name that song gets lots of high-fives from me.

Today was perhaps the best day in Tennessee. And North Carolina, for that matter.

We knew today was going to be super-hot, and we didn't really have much productive to do today, so we had an adventure. We wanted to find a swimming hole. Being from SoCal, swimming in rivers is a relatively new phenomenon to us. I think I've gone swimming in a river once with Maggie in NorCal... we have both been white water rafting once... we've gone swimming in lakes... but in LA, the concept of "river" doesn't really exist. The "LA River" is a concrete basin which is usually empty, and sometimes has a slight trickle down the bottom.

So we took our lovely apartment-mate Michiko and headed out to the Great Smoky Mountains. First stop: Sonic. I'd heard a lot about Sonic, especially from bloggers who live in the region, but none of us had been. It was pretty good. I liked the limeade. Not as good as InNOut, but you know.. nothing is.

Then we headed up into the 'mountains'. The trip up had so many cute little houses with rocking chairs and horses and Southern Charm. The mountains are really not that big, but they are so gorgeous. So many rivers and streams, tons of cool hiking paths with beautiful tree cover. In the park we saw so many white water rafters and horseback riders, so we can't wait to go back and try those.

We parked in a very crowded lot and hiked a mile and a half up Big Creek Trail to Midnight Hole. It was fun to see that there were so many people up at the top... kids everywhere and families just hanging out and swimming and relaxing. The hole was pretty large, maybe 15 feet across, with a waterfall coming in. It was surrounded by big rocks (maybe 10-12 feet high) that everyone was jumping off of.

It was a hard process getting in the lake. The rocks were very slippery, and the water was numbingly cold at first. At one point, Scott was in up to his knees, and turned around to see Michiko and I standing on separate rocks, completely avoiding the water. But we girls slowly crept in, and of course Scott headed right to the top of the rocks. Eventually he got both of us to jump in too, and it was amazing! The water felt so refreshing.

The day was just so beautiful! I love living out here, where we can drive an hour away and be in such a beautiful place. One thing that I didn't like about San Diego was that it was harder to get to beautiful mountain areas. If you drive north, you just hit city after city. If you drive east, you're in the desert. If you drive south, you're in Mexico. And if you drive west, you fall in the ocean. Which is beautiful, but salty. There are some pretty areas, but nothing close like this.

It was so nice to be out and smell nature and hear silence. The temperature was perfect, the swimming hole was perfect, and the company was perfect. So fantastic! I love living in Knoxville!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


There are a lot of blonds in Knoxville. It's strange, having moved from San Diego, where everyone is supposedly blond-haired, blue eyed. But it seems like Knoxville has twice the Norwegian population.

Also, happy birthday (yesterday) to Scott! We celebrated by eating real, non-pasta, non-sandwich food, at PF Changs. It was one of the best meals ever.

I'm ready to have my own kitchen again and to be able to cook. And to get my cookbooks out of storage. Because I read cookbooks like novels, you know.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A message from the husband - Driving in Knoxville

Hey all!
If there's one thing you've done a lot of coming from southern California, it's driving. Driving to the grocery store, driving to see friends, driving to/from LA. Everyone does it and, excluding those who are asian, elderly, female (choose two), everyone can do it pretty well. But driving in Knoxville is, to say the least, an adventure.

Let's begin. So say you're driving in the right hand lane on the freeway (say, the 405) and suddenly the dashes to your left become short and close together. This would seem to indicate that your lane has become an exit only lane. So if you're getting off at the next exit, no worries! Except suddenly you find yourself driving on the shoulder! What happened? Here, those little short dashes mean that the lane is ending now. Not in 1/4 mile, not in 500ft, but now. More than once I've been caught off guard by this bizarre method.

Nextly, you find yourself driving on a normal suburban road. Nothing in particular about it. Say it's a fairly busy street with many side streets coming off of it. Now your gaze drifts to one of these streets as a car comes towards your road at 30mph. You think, "He has a stop sign. He'll stop." But he doesn't. He keeps going. and going. and going until you think that there is no way they are going to actually be able to stop in time when the SLAM on their brakes, barely out of the way of the right-of-way traffic. Oh my gosh. This scares me every time. People seem to think that they should break at the very last possible minute here. Not just 18yo kids who think they are invincible, but everyone! I've thought several times that I was going to get hit. Scarytime.

So that wraps up this edition of Driving in Knoxville. I'm sure that there will be many more to come as I encounter many more things that just don't quite make sense to me.


Friday, July 17, 2009


We have made progress on one of two important fronts!

Today we went and turned in our application for the apartment we want. It's a great little place in Western Knoxville (the newer side of town). We decided this year to go with a small, inexpensive place. The apartment is not large (730-ish square feet) but it will be great for us. The living room was a decent size so we can at least have people over. It has a little porch, and they said we can garden around it.

We really liked the apartment complex. It is very large, with brick buildings and lots of open grass spaces. There's a big pool, lighted tennis courts, an exercise room and four laundry rooms. It's within walking distance of a grocery store and a mall. One of the decisive factors was that the staff was so friendly! You know, you can kind of tell when a staff member is being friendly just to get you to sign a lease, and when they are truly a friendly and fun person? We just got the vibe that the people who worked there were having a lot of fun. They were having Resident Appreciation Week when we were there. We first toured on Rootbeer Float day, and the woman who showed us around made sure we got some floats. Next month they're having a big pool party with a DJ and catered barbecue.

So, we turned in our application. We still have to get all the background checks done, and get our finances in order to show them that we are able to pay for rent, and all that... but hopefully, the apartment will be ours! As soon as we know, I'll let you all know so you can get the address for us.

Now, I can spend more of my time trying to find a job! Please be praying that God would favor me in this area, since things have not been encouraging so far!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Special Forces, Reunite!

I made the trip to Nashville yesterday to collect Scott from the airport. He made it to and from NorCal in one piece, although exhausted. I am so SO glad to have him back in Knoxville, and glad he had fun with the boys this weekend and that he could be there for Ben's wedding.

But I'm all done driving to Nashville. It's 2.5 hours each way. In the ten days we've lived here, I've made the trip 4 times. No more driving!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just Another Lazy Day Afternoon

I had my first taste of Southern church today. Honestly, it was less Footloose than I had pictured. It was a pretty traditional church (Methodist), so it was not like much I've experienced in the last few years. But there were very friendly people, and old ladies dressed up with hats and skirts and nylons, and a lot of food like doughnuts and sausage balls, so the South did not disappoint.

Also lived through my first thunderstorm. Well, I've been in them before, but never at my place of residence. It was always on vacation (with my parents), so it was always novel and awesome and we could play a family game. Today it was more like "I'm stuck in my bedroom and I'm all alone and if lightning comes through that electrical outlet, into the TV, out the antenna, through these keys sitting 2 feet beside me, and into my head, no one will know that I died." Maybe I should stop googling lightning safety websites and looking at the freaky possible scenarios. The thunder was pretty loud but didn't last too long. I don't think the storm passed directly overhead, but it still freaked me out. The rain afterward was intense and awesome though. I like living somewhere that gets rain more than 3.6 times a year.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Further Up and Further In


- At the coaxing of my fantastic Mother-In-Law, I went to the farmer's market. It's downtown in Market Square, which is less than a mile's walk. The produce isn't as varied and delicious-looking as SoCal, but what can you do? It was fun to walk around and see everything.

- It was noon and dreadfully warm, so I tried Rita's for the first time. Delicious pina colada italian ice for less than $3. MMMMM. Sat on a park bench and watched people.

- Walked around downtown. Found the visitor's center, where they broadcast a radio station and have free concerts every weekday at noon.

- Ran into Michiko right as I was walking into the apartment. She was cooking, so we talked for a while. We ended up hanging out for 3 hours and watching Memoirs of a Geisha, which we both really enjoyed.

- Applied to five more jobs. None looked thrilling, but all would pay some bills!

- Facebooked. Emailed. Read. Made dinner. Read blogs.

So, it's the most adventurous solo day I've had yet. I think I've become so used to having Scott around that I was scared to do things without him, whereas before we were married I think I would have been less timid about just doing stuff alone. I miss him bundles but I'm starting to thank God for some of the alone time I have.

Tomorrow, I'm going to church with one of Scott's family friends. She's a grandma but she says she talked to some 'young people' at church who said I can sit with them! It's the type of thing that I'd usually try to find some excuse to avoid out of shyness, but my Knoxville Melissa was bold to accept the opportunity, and I'm actually pretty excited about it! I've determined to make an attempt with anyone who reaches out socially here. And here's opportunity #1. After tomorrow, I will know more than 2 people in Knoxville!

Friday, July 10, 2009

I found it

I went for a run today, and I found it. I found the intangible reason why I knew I wanted to move out of LA and into Somewhere Else.

Near the very end of my run, I decided to take a detour into World's Fair Park. We're blessed to have a pretty large and very nice park a few blocks from our apartment (after living in LA, I have decided that I always want to live within walking distance of a communal green space). And as I jogged through the park, I came to a huge stretch called Festival Lawn.

And there were children. And they were playing.

Now, this doesn't seem very exciting or novel. But in West LA, where we lived, there were no children. That sounds strange to say, but it's basically true. There were babies, but there were no children. I think families moved to the neighborhood when they were young professionals, had babies, and then moved away to more family-friendly areas. So although I worked with children for a while, I never encountered them in their natural environment.

This park had a huge playground (that looked SUPER FUN... I want to go back when there are no kids there!). It also had one of those fountains that shoots water from the ground so that kids can play in it. It was the biggest one of those fountains I had ever seen.

There were entire families there, just relaxing. The kids were in their bathing suits, running through the water, the playground, and the grassy fields. They were just... playing and dancing and being exactly how kids should be in the summertime. And I realized how refreshing that was. They were not in ballet class or gymnastics class or modeling class or SAT-Prep-For-Elementary-School class. They were playing, outside, at the park, in their bathing suits. I feel like that is disappearing from places like LA, where the focus is so much on performance that kids aren't allowed to be kids.

And that is what I feel like I was after in wanting to move here. It was one of those sublime moments when you really feel like you've made the right decision. I know it wasn't my decision to move here, ultimately... it was up to God, and Scott. But I knew I wanted here. I want that slower life, to sit in the park with my family while the kids are free to run around. The humidity and the beautiful countryside don't hurt matters either.

I'm so glad that I shook the lack of motivation that kept me in the apartment all day to take a run at twilight. It was so gorgeous and peaceful. And I feel like I'm starting to see part of the way that I will be blessed to live here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's not pronounced "Knoxville" , it's "Knoxvull"

Observations on Knoxville thus far

- It is not as small as either of us pictured. It really is a city, with a legit downtown.

- Some of the differences in culture are not surprising, but they are still difficult. Two things we've noticed: friendliness, and speed. People here really are very friendly. Store clerks will just chat with you. Now, in LA, the clerk at the bookstore might make small-talk, but after 30 seconds you start to feel like you're wasting their precious time, and walk away to avoid staying too long and being awkward. But here... they will just sit and chat with you. Several times, I have started to feel like I should end the conversation and move away out of politeness, but I really do think that they are content chatting. That is totally different than what I have experienced in California. It is nice, it will just be very difficult to adjust to. I will have to lose that internal timer that tries to end the conversation, and just become content to stand and chat.
The other thing is speed. We went in to rent a storage unit, and the man behind the desk was in absolutely NO hurry to help us. Sure, he was helpful and very nice, but just not fast. If it was LA, he would have had us in and out in 5 minutes. He had us in the office for half an hour... printing out a page, looking it over, chatting, giving us the page to sign, giving us a packet of papers and pulling them all out and explaining them one at a time... As someone from the phrenetically paced LA, this is frustrating. But I think it will be sooo good for me.

- Tennessee has way more trees and thick vegetation than I expected. It is SO GREEN. I knew it would be green, but it is so tree-y. And humid. Which is fantastic. Just walking around, it smells like outdoors. It is so nice to be out of the miles and miles and miles of concrete that is LA.

- Grocery stores... where are they??
Seriously, I think the closest one to us is 2 miles away. Which isn't much, but it seems like in CA there is a Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, etc, on every major corner. There is a farmer's market close that I want to check out. But either I'm missing something, or everyone is driving to this one Kroger 2 miles away to do their shopping.

- It's not the freeway or the 40, it's the interstate. But I'm still calling it the freeway.

- Gahhh the mosquitos! Scott took me to play disc golf yesterday in a park and I can count 18 bites on my legs alone. See Lori! I told you when you left they would all bite me instead!

- Most of the girls here wear t-shirts and athletic shorts. Most of them are really cute, and athletic looking. And they all walk around looking like they were just playing soccer. Maybe they were, or maybe it's that it is so darn hot that those clothes are just more comfortable. Fine with me! And 80% of the boys are wearing plaid shorts.

- I think I am really going to love living here. But now that I'm 2000 miles away from "home" and most of my family and friends, I miss everyone. I know 3 people here so far (not counting Scott)... Michiko, and some family friends of the Carrs. It's lonely and fairly hard so far. Now that I have Internet AT HOME (revolutionnnnn) it will be so much easier to keep in touch. Send emails/ facebook messages/ blog comments/ IMs pleaseeee and tell me what is going on in your life. Yes, you. I promise I will try my hardest to respond.

Apartment 9203

I can't believe I haven't posted about Knoxville yet!

Well, actually I can. We got here last Saturday, didn't actually sleep in the apartment until Sunday night, and then we could not figure out how to use the Internets. We had no wireless signal that appeared to be the free Internet. So we were forced to try the burger chain Krystal (not worth it...) for their free wi-fi. It was just like living in LA, except we couldn't even walk to the Internet! But then last night, I was laying on the bed melting from the heat, and I looked down and said "HEY! What is that box?? Is that the Internets?" And behold, in true 2003 style, the box on the wall was the Internet. And life has been a lot more glorious since then.

Other than the Internet thing, the apartment has been pretty decent. It's a four bedroom apartment, and each bedroom has it's own bathroom. The bedrooms are pretty small, but livable. There are two other girls living here. The one who lives here year-round is pretty MIA. We've only seen her twice in the five days we've been here, and haven't talked to her at all. She seems ambivalent at best about our presence. But the other girl is darling. Her name is Michiko, and she's here from Japan for two months. We've gotten to talk to her several times. We help her with the English words she can't find in dictionary, and with pronunciation and grammar. We've had such fun conversations with her talking about Japan and sharing our experiences of moving to Knoxville from very different places. She's delighted that Scott has been to Kyoto, where she's from. So we're definitely looking forward to hanging out with her this month!

God's blessed us with a good apartment situation for sure.

Scott is out of town from today until Tuesday afternoon, so I have some serious time to myself this weekend. I took today to be totally lazy and stay in the room and watch TV and read blogs. I'm going to bed early, and then tomorrow morning I am going to wake up and start applying to jobs!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


The Carrs are officially in Knoxville, Tennessee! We rolled in tonight around 9 PM, and had several adventures with getting into the apartment where we are staying. We went and saw the place, but we're staying with Scott's parents in the hotel for tonight. Tomorrow it's off to Nashville for the day to return the car and explore a bit, and then we'll finally get some much-needed rest. I'll post more about our adventure in the next few days, but until then, I'm going to bed. Thank you all SO much for all of your prayers, texts, emails, and love. This has been a crazy and AMAZING adventure, of seeing God's amazing glory in his creation of this beautiful world. None of us would have traded this adventure for anything. We are truly blessed, and so glad to be here!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A message from the husband - Estes Park!

Hello readers!

We are currently in Wind River at the YMCA of the Rockies located in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado. The Y was my home for a 10 week span approx three years ago now. I was here with the Navs for a summer training program with about 20 or so other college kids from the west coast. We spent the summer studying John, playing disc, climbing mountains, cleaning rooms, setting up chairs, playing BANG! and all sorts of other fun things.

To be honest, it's quite surreal to be back here. It's kinda like when you or someone special to you leaves and you have a really drawn out emotional goodbye only to see them the next day to pick up that book you lent them... Kinda like that.

So much is the same and so much has changed. When last I was here, Melissa and I had been dating about ten months, now we've been married for nine. Then, I was leaving friends and family for only ten weeks, now I am not sure when I'll be back. Last time I came with a big group who I hardly knew, now I'm here with only three of the most important people to me.

The Mountains are still here. The sky is still huge. The trees are still green. The storms are still powerful. God is still good.

Life is great at 8000 feet.

The journey thus far...

Well, we're 2/5 of the way there! We are currently at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. This is our main detour... Scott spent the summer here 3 years ago and loved it so much that we all had to come see it. It's absolutely gorgeous here. We are at 8000 feet, and every direction you look there are huge peaks around you... up to 13 or 14,000 feet. It's crazy, you'd think we were at sea level from how huge the mountains around us are. They all have snow on them too... in July!

So far the drive has been pretty fun. I have entertained myself by keeping our travel log. I have taken a picture out the front of the window every ten minutes, and have written a blurb for each one in my journal. Between that and navigating and reading some blogs and eating candy, I haven't been bored. I haven't fallen asleep once on the drive, and if you know me, that is an AMAZING feat. I will post a link later tonight to the first of our pictures/journals later tonight, hopefully.

Getting out of LA was exciting... Tom and Lori (Scott's parents) had a nail in their tire, when we were ready to leave. So our first stop was a Tire Depot to get that fixed. But that has been the only ordeal so far. It's been smooth sailing. The first day, LA to Green River Utah, was rather warm. I think it got up to 115 degrees outside or something. But amazingly, our air conditioning worked! That is a huge accomplishment for our car. The scenery in Arizona and Utah were so interesting. I can't even describe it. Green River was fine, although I had heard it was awful. It had a very comfortable Holiday Inn, which was the best thing ever after 700 miles of driving.

The second day of the drive was breathtaking. Up, up, up the mountains. I had never seen the Rockies before, so needless to say I am enamored. It's a majestic area. I love all the rivers and streams. And the best part of it all... the car made it up the hill. We have the car packed so full that you could not fit one more thing in the back or the trunk. It is so low to the ground! The car is so heavy, and it goes rather slow up the hills... but we made it.

We will sleep well tonight, and then off to Hays, Kansas for tomorrow. Now, I will get the Flickr stream up for our pictures!

I miss you all so much!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Route!

Day One: LA to Green River, UT: 673 miles
Day Two: Green River to Estes Park, CO: 404 miles
Day Three: Estes Park to Hayes, Kansas: 395 miles
Day Four: Hayes to St. Louis, MO: 514 miles
Day Five: St. Louis to KNOXVILLE: 485

Monday, June 22, 2009


As excited as I am for new beginnings, beginnings are always coupled with endings. This was our last weekend in San Diego. Scott and I both grew up in San Diego. We’ve both lived as long as we can remember in Encinitas or the surrounding areas, and our parents’ houses are a few miles apart. And we both LOVE Encinitas. I am thoroughly convinced that it is one of the best places on the planet. It has the perfect personality, the greatest people, such interesting culture and buildings, and it is just a beautiful place. If you grew up in Encinitas, you know that you cruise the coast highway and see the waves and the surfers and Lou's Records, and you eat a Rico's burrito, and you're home. I couldn’t bear to drag myself out of San Diego for college, and Scott didn’t go far. When I joined him in LA after graduating, we were both relieved that we could still visit San Diego (100 miles from LA). We’ve gone down once or twice a month ever since I moved up to Los Angeles a year ago, to visit family and friends, and just to be in Encinitas. We love it so much, and at this point we want to eventually raise our kids there. It was such a good place to grow up.

But, today we said goodbye. We had one last great weekend in Encinitas. I got Thifty’s ice cream with my sister, which we love doing as our special sister outings. Scott and I got to hang out with great friends and play games and grill burgers at his house. He went out with the boys to consume burgers and beer. We ran errands all over Encinitas and got some time to hang out at Barnes and Noble. We drove all over San Diego taking pictures. We had dinner with my family, and I said goodbye to my sister and Dad (I'll see my Mom on Monday, so I didn’t have to say goodbye to her yet). We said goodbye to Scott’s sister and to his aunt and uncle. We said our goodbyes to the city and our houses, and we drove away. Simple as that: leaving San Diego to drive to LA, just like we’ve done so many times this year, but also completely different. We won’t be back for a long time. God willing we’ll be back at Christmas.

It was a busy weekend, which was probably a blessing. I didn’t have much free time to dwell on the sheer immensity of the changes and goodbyes that are happening. As sad as the endings are, and as much as I cried today, it is also exciting. Turning my back on Encinitas feels like setting my face toward Tennessee. We leave a week from tomorrow!

Some pictures from our drive (I didn't have time to edit them, so pretend I touched them up before posting them):

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Housing... or Where the heck are we going to live?

One of the BIG THINGS about the move was the complication of finding a place to live.

Since neither of us had ever been to Knoxville (or Tennessee for that matter) we didn't really want to just sign a lease blindly, without seeing the apartment. We don't know what area of the city we want to live in, especially since we've heard some areas are a little seedier than others. Taking a trip to the area was out of the question... for a while we didn't even know if we would have the money to get us and our stuff out to TN, so extra plane tickets weren't in the picture.

But we are blessed... God has provided what seems like a pretty wonderful solution. A lot of UT students travel home for the summer, and they sublet their apartments. We found an apartment that we are subletting for June and July. We won't move in until July, but we wouldn't have been able to find a place without paying for both months. So we're paying for 2 months and living there for one... and rent for both months combined will be about half of what we pay in LA for our apartment monthly! It will definitely be an adventure since it is a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 other girls living there, but we will have our own bathroom and bedroom. At least it's only for a month.

While we are living there, we will hopefully find an apartment to rent, and we'll be able to move in the beginning of August!

Praise God for having somewhere to go when the car rolls into Knoxville in a month! We leave in 25 days!

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Hi family and friends!
A lot of you have been asking me for details of our move to Tennessee, so I wanted to use this as a place to keep you all abreast of the happenings.

So, it’s true! Scott and I are moving to Tennessee soon! Our scheduled moving date to be on the road, driving, is June 30th… that’s in a month!

The question I get most often is “Why?” As in “Why the heck are you moving across the country to a state you’ve never even visited, when you were so blessed to be born in San Diego?” Fair question… I wonder myself sometimes. Scott graduated last spring with his BS in Physics, and he wants to pursue a PhD (yes, I know… I married a genius). He actually got into two PhD programs, which was amazing, considering how many people are going back to school with the terrible economy. He had the option of University of Tennessee, or Virginia Tech. The decision came down to several factors: VT is in a very small town which basically just consists of the university and supporting businesses. This would make it super hard for me to get a job, and it would limit our social options to students… and especially since I won’t be a student, this would be hard for me. Also, UT has a national lab connected to it, which means Scott will get some amazing research opportunities. We both just felt a gut feeling to go with Tennessee after doing some research… the culture seems really cool, the state is beautiful, and we were ready to go!

I feel like God has been preparing us for this move for a while. I know a lot of you were confused, because I always said I loved the city and wanted to move to Manhattan. In the last few years, we have both just been feeling like we’d rather move to somewhere a little more slow-paced. Our lives aren’t too boring. We don’t like the frantic pace of Los Angeles, or the hyper-fixation on media and image. We like to do crossword puzzles, play games, and hang out with people. I think to both of us, a place where people relax, sit around on their porches, and just chat sounds good to us. Not saying that Knoxville will be like that… but it’s more likely than New York, right?

And there you have it… we’re moving to Knoxville, Tennessee. Not to be confused with Nashville. Knoxville is the third largest city in Tennessee (Memphis and Nashville are bigger). If I remember correctly, it’s about a 3 hour drive from Nashville, 3.5 to Atlanta, 4.5 to the coast, 6 to Chicago, 10 to Tampa, and 11 to New Haven. Not that I’m already planning out a road trip for every weekend and vacation…
It’s crazy to me that it’s the third biggest city because the population is 180,000 people. That’s more people than are in Encinitas, but unlike Southern California, it is surrounded by nothing. Not by other suburbs. I constantly wonder if it will seem like a city, or like a small town.
It was founded in 1786 and I am very excited to explore the historical sites in the area. Not as many as areas like Virginia or Massachusetts (this was actually a big draw of Virginia to me) but I think there will be cool sites to discover.
It was once known as the Underwear Capital of the World due to the textile industries there.
They love bluegrass and the Vols (UTs mascot).
There is an annual bluegrass festival, as well as huge outdoor concerts throughout the summer. It seems like a pretty artsy place, and also a pretty healthy place. There are several health-food grocery stores.
There is no Chipotle, Ralphs, Souplantation, Ikea, Jamba Juice, or H&M. Oh my goodness. There are, however, several Targets and a Michaels. But I might have to enlist California friends to overnight chicken burritos with rice, pinto beans, corn salsa, sour cream, and cheese, with a root beer with no ice to Knoxville. And if you’re an Encinitas local, you’ll definitely get calls for a Rico’s California burrito with 2 containers of tzatziki sauce. I digress…
It is right on a river, and this is mystifying to us. LA has a “river” which is a concrete basin which sometimes has a little trickle of water running through it. River is a term designated for hikes and vacations. It is crazy to think we will be living near one. We even looked at it on google maps street view, and it is indeed a wide, moving body of water right next to the school.

I could go on and on about Knoxville (I’m a wikipedia expert), but the reality is, I have no idea what to expect. My experience with the South is limited to 2 days in Atlanta doing a scholarship competition, a day in Killeen, Texas and the drive to and from Killeen, and various trips to the gulf coast of Florida. Scott has even less experience with the region. So basically we’re moving on blind faith. At this point, I’m not anxious about moving to Tennessee, which is possibly a great indication that I have no idea what a change it is going to be. At other times, I think “Oh my word, what are we doing? Is LA really that bad that you have to move away?” But I’ve always wanted such a grand adventure, and God is granting us one while we still have the freedom and energy to take it. It will be very interesting to see how the picture I’ve formed in my head matches reality, and hopefully I can update you all on the process.