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.