Tennessee

This summer while I was home in the US, I was incredibly busy, scheduled to go here or there almost every day.  One of the things I squeezed into my travels was a trip to Tennessee.  I am very lucky to have two of my best college friends living in the same state. 

I flew down on a Friday, and was supposed to arrive in Nashville at about 4:30 pm, when my friend would be getting off from work.  After a hellish bout of “How long will that delay be?” with U.S. airways I arrived just at 8:30 (EST).  My friend was very patient with the whole situation and entertained with the fun texts from me.

“We are boarding the plane.”  “We are de-boarding the plane”  “We  boarded the plane!”  “We are leaving!” “Just kidding, we are missing paperwork”  “We landed!”   “We have to wait for a gate” “We are going to get off….oh wait…still no gate.”

 

  After all the delays and waiting on the plane for what seemed like forever (for a gate), we ended up just going down the stairs of the plane and walking across the tarmac to a lower level door to the airport.  Which we could have done when we first landed.  Mmmph.

Despite the inauspicious beginning, the trip was fantastic!  My friend Kate lives in Nashville, the plan was to visit with her, then we would drive down to Memphis to visit our very pregnant friend Katie, or depending on the fates, Katie and her new baby.  

After Kate picked me up from the airport, we stopped by her home to drop my things off before we went out for dinner.  Waiting for us was a package from our other friend friend from college, Katie, who lives in Colorado.  She had sent us a gift basket filled with treats for our visit!  Can you feel the Wellesley love?

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The next day we left for Memphis. Memphis is a three hour drive, so we were able to chat the whole way and had a great time.  Katie politely stayed pregnant while we were in town, so that we could catch-up.  I haven’t been able to see my Wellesley friends as often as I would like.  We are scattered all over the US, and living in Turkey complicates visiting even more.  However, when we do get together, it is as if no time has passed.  I am hoping that soon they will plan a trip to visit me!  In Memphis we relaxed, visited, played with Katie’s dogs and took turns feeling her belly when she was having contractions.  Kate started to time them, but then Katie pulled out her phone to do it.  Apparently there is an app for that!  She didn’t have the baby for another week, but we didn’t let that keep us from getting some snuggle time with the baby.  Katie and I were room mates, so she knows I am pretty hands on. 

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We drove back to Nashville and the next day we played tourists.  Kate took me downtown to the Honky Tonk bars and the tourist areas.  We wandered around for a while, listening to the country singers preforming on the street.  We went to the Johnny Cash museum as well.  Nashville is fun city, with beautiful green spaces, navigable, a vibrant downtown and nightlife and great food. 

Now when in Tennessee, it is best to stick to local cuisine. BBQ.  Kate knows I love barbeque and went out of her way to create a culinary experience.  They have some of the best barbeque I have tasted, very different from other regions such as New England or Texas.  Here, the pork is cooked slowly until it falls apart, and is served dry.  You can then add BBQ sauce (here with a vinegar base) if you would like. 

Pulled pork dinner from the iconic Loveless Café in Nashville, served with fried green tomatoes.

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Pulled pork tacos with roasted corn from the Acme Feed & Seed in downtown Nashville.

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OHHHHH.  The best BBQ I have ever had is from B&C (full name: Bacon and Caviar). 

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It is not a fancy place, but you wouldn’t want it to be.  They have several locations throughout Nashville.    I loved it, the food was fresh and delicious and the people behind the counter friendly and personable.  I am not that familiar with southern food, and they were very patient with all my food questions, some even unrelated to what they were serving.  At B&C you choose your meat (pulled pork sandwich above) and then your sides.  They had many sides, but I asked the girl behind the counter to serve me what she would have chosen herself.  The sides are squash casserole, a sweet corn and summer squash bake topped with a little cheese, and the grits of the day.  Yes, that is right, grits of the day! They have a different one each day of the week, in addition to the regular cheesy grits.  These were buffalo chicken grits, slightly spicy, with vinegar and bits of chicken.   DELICIOUS!

My trip to Tennessee was one of the highlights of my visit home.  Not only did I get to see TWO of my dearest friends for the first time in years, but I also got to be a tourist in my own country and take in a bit of Southern culture.   I would highly recommend visiting Nashville if you have a chance, even if you are just driving though. 

Wellesley Mini-Reunion! Three 2006ers and a future 2032er!

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My Roomie’s Wedding!

My sophomore roommate from college was great.  Katie and I were very different.  She was organized, I was not.  We had a line down the center of the room, as long as my things did not escape the line, it was not an issue.  She was an art history major.  Her side of the room was always lovely, as was she.  She had a talent for putting together outfits.  Once, I was going out on a date.  She asked me, “Oh, is that what you are wearing?”  My response was, “No, apparently not.”   She dressed me like a doll, and I encouraged it.

So she got married in February.  I had a very complicated relationship with her wedding.  Not her—Her wedding.

1) I got the wedding announcement and was totally depressed. One of my BFFs was getting married and again I was out of the country.

2) My dad was terminally ill.  I was going to take care of him, so I would be in the country for the wedding.  I could GO! Yay!

3) My dad was SO ill I couldn’t plan on going because his death was imminent.

4) My dad died way before I thought he would.  So…Wedding was on.

My friend asked me to be her bridesmaid.  Through out the entire #1-4 she was awesome.  She told me she would love for me to be in the wedding.  All she asked was to let her know when I knew, a few days before the wedding would be fine.    Katie is amazing in that way.

While I wanted to be there for her I had hesitations. I hadn’t done anything social since my dad died.  But I had already bought the tickets.  It was hard for me because it was only a year and a half ago that my parents walked me down the aisle at my on wedding.

But I went anyway.  And I had an amazing time.  I saw some of my friends I hadn’t seen in five years.   While I was a little sad, I was also so happy to be there for my friend.  Also, it was not my wedding.  It was Katie’s.  Katie’s wedding.  The weekend was not about me—It was about Katie (and Pete).  A woman who we all wanted to celebrate, and share in her experience.    Every moment of that wedding day, I was fiercely glad I could be there with her.

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To start the Wedding Weekend, I flew to Nashville,  from where I made the road trip to Memphis with my friends Kate and Ben.  The weekend started off on an interesting note.

First, waiting for my flight to Nashville, I recognized a woman in my gate.  I knew her from some where, but could not place her for a few minutes.  Waiting for my flight was made much more interesting by sneaking peeks at this woman and racking my brain for where I had met her.  Then I realized, I hadn’t met her…I knew her from her blog.  Yes, at the Charlotte airport was Mr. Lady!  An auspicious beginning indeed!

I got off the plane, and Kate jumped out of her car, there was hugging and shrieking and then Kate started doing both as well.  Then, we got a call from our friend Ben.  He had dislocated his shoulder right before he left for the airport…What should he do?  Well, because the theme of the weekend was “Everyone Loves Katie!” he sucked it up, got on the plane and asked the flight attendant for ice.  We had a sling waiting for him when he got off the plane.  113.large

Every aspect of the wedding was a lot of fun. Seeing old friends, making new ones. Blind Mississippi Morris performed at the rehearsal dinner, blowing us out of the water. Also, it was at Fire Museum of Memphis, where they served martinis that smoked.

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The whole weekend was amazing, and really a journey.  There was time with friends, a beautiful wedding, and I think some healing too.

Wellesley Reunion! It’s like returning to the womb!

This weekend was Wellesley College’s reunion weekend. Every year the first weekend in June Wellesley alums swarm the campus and return to the mothership.  Wellesley the bastion of feminism and sisterhood.  I loved my time at Wellesley, the stimulating classes, the independence, the amazing people I create lifelong friendships with.  Since I could not go, here is an homage to Wellesley!

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There were popped collars and fur hats and impromptu mall runs…

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Trips through Europe where we stayed in co-ed hostels, had lockers fall on us and were attacked by pirates.  We were so fabulous that since it was cold we would tie our bread and cheese in bags and hang it outside the window to stay fresh.

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Beginning of Senior year…

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There were hugs and tears and boys and girls and break ups and new relationships.

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There was wrestling in Tower Courtyard.

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There was hoop rolling by Lake Waban…

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There were mini-reunions in Phoenix and San Diego…

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Mini-reunions in San Francisco

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They are the friends that fly in all over for your wedding.  Who come back early from countries like Japan, who drive up a week early to help your family organize your wedding.

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My friends knew I was disappointed I could not go to the Wellesley Reunion so they included me in their celebrations.  My friend Kate printed out a photo of my face and brought me along to the reunion.

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Flat Jules as they called her, had an amazing time at Reunion.

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With friends as wonderful and thoughtful as them it is no wonder that many of my best memories take place on Wellesley’s campus or with the people I met there.