I love this place. Knoxville, Tennessee. I am SO lucky to call this home. There really is no place like this. This is where my family is. All of my immediate family (minus my brother, but he's just temporarily in Chattanooga- I hope), half of my grandparents, three aunts, three uncles, and five cousins all call Knoxville "home" too. This is where my friends are. I went to high school here in Knoxville and have yet to make many better friends then I did there in those four years. This is where my school is. I've grown up cheering for the Vols, and continue to do so here in this town- along with 100,000 other people in the stadium. This is where my life is. And I love it.
Two of my classes have mentioned how Knoxville is not a "city." Something else I never knew. One professor described it as a "town with a big university in it." At first I thought no way, but now, I'm kinda embracing it. Life is totally different between living in Knoxville growing up and not going to college here. In Knoxville, so much centers around UT, but there is still so much more. It embraces that small town feel so well. It's impossible to go out to eat, or to the grocery store, or the mall without running into someone you know. Whenever I have people come in town from other places, they are amazed at the community. Knoxville is still the place where drivers let other drivers out in front of them, businesses close to go to high school football games, strangers wave to each other, everyone leaves their doors unlocked (in fact, I don't ever remember knocking at any of my friend's doors in high school), our area code got changed to 865 standing for VOL, we drink sweet tea by the gallon (preferably from Mason jars),
everything is fried (something else I didn't know, most places don't fry okra- how the heck do they eat it then?!), ride around in trucks, I spend almost all of the days in summer barefoot, Sunday mornings the town heads to church, we've got an amusement part practically in our backyards- Dollywood, we make bonfires and spend hours sitting outside talking by them and in general people are just, nice.
I feel like I'm quoting some country music song.
Knoxville is definitely not perfect, but I'm hitting on the good points :) I really do feel like Knoxville is kind of stuck "back in the day," where life is still just... simple. Some people went away for college, they couldn't wait to get out of this place. I used to think that way, but when it really came down to it, I'd much rather stay right here.