Urban Graffiti around the World

I spent part of last Saturday afternoon walking around downtown Knoxville. It was a perfect summer day, with non-threatening clouds and a gentle breeze. As I headed from Gay Street towards Market Square, one block away, I passed an alley that travels between the two…and did a double take.

Graffiti, alive with color, adorned both sides of this urban alley, and a dozen or so tourists were snapping pictures. When in Rome, the saying goes…and so I did.

Graffiti Alley Knoxville 1

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A Day Trip to Knoxville

Last Monday I joined my parents on a day trip to Knoxville, Tennessee’s three-time former capital and the biggest city in the eastern half of the state. My parents travel to Knoxville (about an hour away) every eight weeks or so for Target and Publix runs, and this time their destination was a high-end international grocery store called Fresh Market.

Fresh Market is a stone’s throw from downtown, so when they asked me to tag along, I suggested adding on a visit to the East Tennessee History Center, with the caveat that we could grab lunch somewhere near Market Square, a center of pedestrian activity and a gathering place that is flanked by sidewalk cafés. (Market Square also plays host to countless Knoxville festivals, including the annual “HoLa Fest” that celebrates Latin food and culture. I attended HoLa Fest last year and blogged about it here.)

East Tennessee History Center 51

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Six Months In: Tennessee Livin’

Happy New Year, Loyal Reader! A new calendar year begins and I am excited to make 2015 a good year. As it happens, I am also coming up on six months as a Tennessee resident. Where does the time go?!

I thought you’d appreciate an update about my life in the Volunteer State. The last time I really wrote about Tennessee was four months ago; you can read that optimistic blog post here.

Because I’ve had several months to take in my surroundings, for this entry I’m going to comment in bullet form about some things I’ve noticed that are unique to the south or unique to the state of Tennessee in particular. Several of these points are generalizations, and much of this is written with tongue firmly in cheek, so I hope I don’t offend. 🙂

Rural Morristown 1

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Two Months In: Tennessee Livin’

Last December, I flew to the U.S. for an extended Christmas break and spent three weeks with my parents at their eastern Tennessee home. The weeks flew by. Flash forward eight months and one permanent relocation later, and I’ve completed another two months of Tennessee living. Somewhat to my surprise, I like it here.

I live in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, 40 minutes east of Knoxville and roughly mid-way, as the crow flies, between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. I am in a regional town that is small enough to be safe and quiet but big enough to serve as a feeder town for the dozens of small farm villages in the area. We have a shopping mall, a cinema, a junior college, the requisite Cracker Barrel, and – yes – a Walmart.

Okay so I’m not wild about the fact that there’s a Wally World in my town. It doesn’t really matter. My point is that as long as I’m here I can enjoy everything that a slower pace of life has to offer, while still being able to get out to enjoy myself, whether it’s to the movies or to the hiking trails.

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