Thursday, July 8, 2010


This afternoon it hit me all over again that I really live here now.  I'm closing in on 7 weeks of Southern living and so far it seems to agree with me.  I've noticed a little drawl slipping in to my speech, especially when I'm at work and especially when I'm talking with my "born in the South" coworkers.  I predicted I would pick up an accent fast and this appears to be holding true.  Surprisingly there are a lot of Midwest transplants in Nashville.  I seem to run in to people from Illinois just about everywhere I go.  This is still a different pace of life for me.  The friends that I have here are mostly married and mostly with kids, meaning their first priority is not hanging out with me.  I feel blessed that I get to hang out with them as much as I do!  While I continue getting to know new people, I still have a good amount of solo time.  I'm taking advantage of it, seeing as I have a few things left on my 31 Things list.  Yesterday after work I joined some of my fellow social workers for happy hour.  I seriously enjoy the people I work with!  It was fun to get together outside of work and get to know some of them better.  They have all been so helpful and great about answering my million questions.  Plus, they're just plain fun!

While things continue to progress here, I can't help but think about what I'm missing out on back home.  I was seriously bummed that I couldn't go to my hometown 4th of July parade.  I've probably only missed it once or twice in my life.  This is a parade that gets all the Illinois political bigwigs and even had Bob Dole (presidential race) and Barack Obama (Senate race) come through.  It's huge, runs way too long, and I love it.  The floats are always creative and the parade gets a great turn-out.  It's fun to people watch and find old classmates and kids I used to babysit for.  People who didn't grow up in my hometown don't always understand our love of the 4th of July parade but that's their loss!  Nashville didn't have a parade, just fireworks.  I guess one out of two will do.

This Sunday marks our big family reunion at the farm.  Something else I've only missed a couple of times in my life- once while I was in Thailand and once for a White Sox game.  My Cubs-fan cousins never let me live down missing the reunion for a game!  We get well over 100 people at the reunion and it won't be long before we hit 200.  It's surprising it's not any bigger considering my grandpa was one of 13 kids.  It's so fun catching up with great-aunts and uncles, cousins twice removed, and of course my more immediate family.
 Everyone brings a dish to share so there's tons of food.  (I'm really craving Trish's Taffy Apple Salad.)
Adam demonstrates the 2-plate phenomenon
There are games for the kids and a hayride for families.  

Plus, the illustrious Chicken Poop Lotto.  

And if I was lucky, there would be kittens in the barn to play with.  Mostly, it's just nice to be together, catching up on life and relaxing in the sun while the cows graze nearby.  I hope they miss me!

It's strange not going to White Sox games.  My partial season tickets with Brooke have been a defining part of the last 5 summers.  I can still catch the occasional game on WGN but otherwise I'm left to checking scores online.  I already have permission from my boss to fly back if we make it to the post-season and I hope I can keep coming back for the home opener.  It would be a shame to break my streak!

My dear friend Jill is getting married in less than a month.  I'm honored to be a hot bridesmaid.  But I'm disappointed that I haven't been around to help her with wedding stuff or go to her bridal showers and that I'll miss out on her Bachelorette party.  Normally I'd look for an excuse to get out of a bridal shower but I am so excited for Jill that I haven't wanted to miss out on a moment!  At least I have the time off for the wedding.  I can't wait to celebrate!

Finally I wish I could go to another Pitchfork Music Festival.  I've gone the last 3 or 4 years and have picked up a few favorite bands this way.  I'll never forget the first time I listened to Fleet Foxes, the zany Flaming Lips performance, or seeing Yoko Ono and her crazy "flashes of love."  So many memorable moments.  Plus, I'll miss seeing my Pitchfork friends- the people I usually only see at Pitchfork.  This year has a fantastic line-up of course.  Ravinia has had a ton of shows this summer that I would have for sure attended.  Is there a Nashville version of Ravinia?  Every state needs a good outdoor concert venue where you can bring your own picnic and wine.  Alas, I am here and not there.  Let me assure you I still think this is a good thing!  While Chicago has a great music scene, it doesn't compare to Nashville's in terms of cool venues, cheap tickets, and awesome new artists.  That's not to say Chicago doesn't try- it's treated me well all these years.  Nashville just has the upper edge.  Plus there's the Hot Chicken Festival!  I'm having a blast checking out new restaurants, thrift shops, and more.  While I wish I could transport myself back for some of my regular summer routine, I'm sure I'll make it back for a few of these things next summer.  By then, I'll actually have vacation time at work and a better handle on how to manage my time between two states.

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