We had breakfast at a random-but-delicious Greek diner in Nashville, then we went to the Parthenon. I’ve been there before, back when I lived in Tennessee for a few months. So for me, it felt less like touristing than it did being a local and showing a newbie the local sights. This, of course, in inaccurate, but it was nice to pretend.
The Russian isn’t really one for the arts, but he did marry a woman with an English degree, so he’s good at dipping his toes in. We milled around the art gallery under the Parthenon, looked at the collection of paintings based on Tennessee state symbols, and pondered how much of a hole buying two $7500 paintings would put us in. His favorite was a closeup of a ladybug on a leaf. Mine was a detail of juniper berries. Neither of us would compromise, so $15000 in debt it is.
It was a gorgeous warm, sunny day, the kind we probably won’t get in Pennsylvania until our annual February thaw. The place was full of people from everywhere, a mix of languages and dialects.
Hearing the Southern accent still makes me do a double take; I’m so unused to it, and I was even when I lived here. It reminds me that even though I consider Nashville an adopted city, even though I can get around without directions and show my husband the local sights, I still prefer a rugged Pittsburgh accent to a Southern one, a mess of damp hills to a dry plain of flatness, pierogis and sauerkraut to barbecue.
I’ve talked a lot about adventures this year. I’ve visited two new states and revisited three. This week I’ll be revisiting another favorite: Tennessee.
Nashville, to be exact.
I lived with my cousins in Nashville for several months almost three years ago (!). We had a bunch of adventures together and it’s one of the highlights of my life.
After Nashville, my cousin Ian and I went on a two-week adventure to Europe with some of his friends. Ian and I have always been pretty close, and it was tons of fun to explore the Old World together.
Funny thing is, the reason I’m returning to Nashville this time is for Ian’s wedding. And his wife-to-be, Julia, was also on that Europe trip. The three of us hung out a lot. We walked the streets of Florence, toured a medieval synagogue in Nuremburg, and had a sparkling New Year’s Eve dinner in Salzburg. And although I never told them, the whole time I was thinking, “it would be awesome if these two got together.” And now they really are, and I feel like a great matchmaker, even though I really had nothing to do with it.
It’s funny how adventures come full circle; you go off somewhere with the faith that it’ll change your life, and then you go on to the next adventure, never realizing that your life really has changed until you come back to the beginning and everything’s different. God seems to work in circles sometimes, bringing you back to where you started and making you laugh because you’re a new creation now.
This week is the revisitation of an adventure for me, but it’s the beginning of an adventure for my cousin. It’s a beautiful, terrible, exhilarating, frightening, clever, insane journey. And it’s going to be awesome.