Tomorrow will mark three weeks that I have been living in Knoxville, TN. The first time I ever came to Knoxville I was a junior in high school. I went to a Vols game, ate at Cookout, and left. Neyland was awesome, but I was thoroughly unimpressed by campus and “the strip”, the busy, classically collegiate road where the slightly more impressive Cookout was located. Based on that experience, I thought that Knoxville was dirty, crowded, and full of construction and drunk people. Later that year when I started applying to colleges the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (not to be confused with the obviously more prestigious University of Tennessee-Chattanooga) wasn’t even in the running.
Fast forward 6 years. I live two blocks from the dreaded strip, and my girlfriend is a stinkin’ Vol. I’m not really sure what happened or what I did to end up in this situation. I know that God calls people into all kinds of treacherous places to do mission work but Knoxville? Really?
The only thing more surprising than me moving to Knoxville is the joy that it has brought me. You see, it turns out Knoxville isn’t just an ugly college town with a mediocre football team. In fact, there are actually some pretty awesome things about this place. Here are just a few:
- It’s a Monday night and my girlfriend is sitting next to me as I type this. She lives a whole four blocks from me, which is approximately 34,587 miles closer than she used to be (estimates may vary).
- Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, my new place of employment, is a pretty rad church full of really rad people.
- It’s about a 45 minute drive to the Great Smoky Mountains.
- One of my closest friends from a summer camp I served at three summers ago just happened to be looking for a roommate right around the time that I was moving to Knoxville. Crazy huh?
- There’s a system of greenways all the way from my apartment to the church and on a nice day I can ride my bike there.
- Maker’s Donuts. A specialty donut shop that’s open late on weekends in a cool part of town. Their churro donut changed my life.
- Max Patch. If you haven’t been, I would love to take you.
- There’s an REI on my way to work.
- I get to experience the frustration of Vol’s fans first hand.
Sure, I miss Chattanooga. It became home to me over the past four years, and with my family there, it will always be home. But for now, I know that this is where God has me. I’m still in the process of moving and getting settled, but three weeks in, all I can say is that I am grateful. For the places I have been, for the people that I know, the things I have done, and the places I have called home.