Friday, August 30, 2013

Football Time in Tennessee

Although I am not typically a die-hard football fan, it is one of the things I really missed while I was living in Germany. I love the comraderie as the fans cheer for their team, I love the social side of the tailgates, and I love the low-key nights that follow a fun day of football.

So, needless to say, I was stoked for my first game as a Vanderbilt student. Although they ended up losing to Ole Miss at the last minute, it was still a fun evening with friends new and old.

And, because we were such enthusiastic fans, Bizzell and I made it onto the jumbo tron for a few seconds of fame [and lots of text messages from friends saying they saw us!]

I am excited about this fall and all the fun football games and tailgates that will ensue. But before the craziness of game days really hits, for one last weekend of summer, I am beach bound!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy National Dog Day!

Happy National Dog Day to my favorite little furry friend, Aunt Bea
You might be a spoiled pup who snatches food off the table and sits on the couch all day, but you are adorable and we sure love you!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Radnor Lake

One of the [many, many] things I have enjoyed about being back in Nashville is the cool August that we've had! Last night my mom and I went to Radnor Lake for a quick walk before sunset and we were both taken with all the beauty around us!


I wished I had my real camera on hand, but these iPhone pictures will have to suffice!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School...

Although I celebrated my "last first day of school" both my senior year of college and my senior year of high school, I did, in fact, have another first day of school today. And, as always, my mom made me pose for a photo op before I left the house.

Back in the day I had siblings to pose with, but today all I had was little Aunt Bea who refused to pose without her stick. And next year, it will officially, once and for all, be my "last first day of school"!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Reliving Childhood as a Summer Closeout

On Thursday, my childhood [and lifelong] best friend arrived for a few fabulous days in Nashville.
It was a wonderful way to close out the summer. We relived our childhood by returning to favorite restaurants and places from years ago [including our beloved treehouse, pictured above], but also explored plenty of new trendy places around the city. 

Upon arrival, we went to donut den and then Alison had the pleasure of accompanying me while I babysat for my favorite family. We walked to the park, ate delicious kid snacks, and played with the adorable puppy next door.

Thursday night we met friends for dinner at a Nashville favorite place, Taco Mamacitas, then went downtown for Live on the Green, a free concert that was featuring Matt Nathanson. It was a blast and a good taste of Nashville.

Friday we went thrift store shopping and of course, made our daily stop at Las Paletas, the best treat around.

Friday night we had a delicious home cooked meal before heading to Holland House to grab drinks with friends.

We woke up bright and early Saturday to participate in the Tomato Dodge. It was absolutely hilarious! The race benefited Big Brothers/Big Sisters, so my dad, Alison, and I participated. We ran a 5k while others (including my mom and my dad's little brother Trey) hurled sliced tomatoes at us! After we were exhausted from the run and covered head to toe in tomatoes, we returned home for showers and relaxing.

Since we both went to CPC back in the day, it was fun to go to church there and see how much has changed. There was a fun picnic afterwards with food trucks, too, so that was a fun addition. 

Next we ventured to East Nashville to explore....this neck of the woods is right up Alison's alley and we had a blast exploring coffee shops, a vegan restaurant, vintage stores, and admiring houses.

Sunday night we had a delicious dinner at a favorite Atlanta resturaunt that just came to Nashville, Tacaria del Sol, before a hilariously entertaining Dirty Guv'nahs concert. 

And, of course, we concluded the night with a stop at the lovely Donut Den.

All too soon, I was dropping Alison at the airport and heading to my first day of graduate school. But this weekend was a wonderful cap to a wonderful summer...and I am thankful for the blessing of Alison's friendship.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Orienting Camille to Nashville

This week has been dedicated to orienting Camille to the wonderful city of Nashville. 

This included [almost daily] trips to Las Paletas, Jeni's, Donut Den, Fido, Taco Mamacitas, the Purple Cow, etc. and tours of every trendy Nashville area...including fun places like East Nashville and Radnor Lake.

Camille already fits right in in this beautiful city...and we can't wait to have her!

It was a pleasure for me, seeing as I am obsessed with this city. It was also a good introduction for Camille, since she plans to move here in the coming weeks. And, most importantly, Camille finally won over Aunt Bea's love before she departed yesterday. 

Aunt Bea awaits her move to Nashville!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Post Travel Thoughts

It is crazy to think back on my life 6 weeks ago when I was still fully immersed in  life in Wald-Michelbach, teaching the dragons by day and hanging out with my German friends by night. It is even weirder to think about where I was a year ago, just meeting my students and wondering how I was going to survive a year in a country where I knew no one and only about ten words of the language.
Departing Nashville on July 19, 2012. Clueless on what lay ahead.
But today, I am far from both of those places. Adjustment back to life is Nashville has been incredibly easy, certainly due to the welcoming friends and my accommodating family. It also helps that I have had zero responsibilities these past six weeks. But I have been soaking in all things America and loving it, to say the least.

As I think back on everything that happened in the past 13 months, I am overcome with feelings of thankfulness and gratitude to the people in my life. The encouragers, the visitors, the friends who avidly skyped and sent e-mails and loved me well through this roller-coaster of a lonely but fun adventure. 

These two quotes accurately sum up how I feel upon my return to Nashville....I could not pick just one because they both capture my feelings so well.

“No one realises how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”
Lin Yutang
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 
Terry Pratchett
Another humorous part of being back in America is the communication with the sweet dragons. Many of them have e-mailed and WhatsApp'ed me, and I have responded and sent cute Nashville postcards to them. Today, I woke up to this hilarious e-mail from sweet 9 year-old Eva...
I think this e-mail alone should nominate me for world's best english teacher...right?!


Monday, August 12, 2013

A Lovely Weekend of Sendoffs!

This weekend was packed few days of doing exciting Nashville-y and really made me thankful to be back in this wonderful city that is filled with people I adore. 

The past few days have been full in the best sense of the word. I tried to capture moments and fun outings courtesy of my iPhone, so here is a glimpse of the fun that was had these past few days.

Paletas with my parents for a Friday night treat :)
Giving tandem rides to my precious neighbor kids who adore the cat that I despise.

Friday night reunions with cookie dough to celebrate Grace's return from the west coast!

Showering Lucy, who will be getting hitched in October, with fun gifts and spending time with old friends all the while!

The Nashville hear has suddenly taken a turn for the worse, but the shaved ice truck makes it so much more bearable!

Saturday night we ventured to East Nashville for one last American burger (a delicious one!) before Emily leaves for a year in Asia.

We walked the walking bridge to soak in the beauty of Nashville.

Sunday afternoon we had a sweet prayer time and send off for Em, blessing her travels and work across the world!

Another dear friend, Claire, is about to move to Sunday night was a music filled send off party full of Nashville talent and fun old friends.

This weekend really solidified how much I love this place and the people that occupy it....I am glad to be where I am :)