If someone had told me ten years ago that one day I would live in a small town outside of Nashville, Tennesse, I would have given them the stink eye. Life is one of the most bizarre rides, isn't it? Life is lovely, poetic, and yet full of twists and jarring turns that indeed no Pulitzer Prize writer could contrive. So I find myself today, living in a town called Franklin and enjoying every single minute of it.
I was born and partially raised in California, I am a West Coast girl through and through, from my non-dyed hair that is kissed with a few age-appropriate greys, to my ubiquitous black flip-flops on my tanned toes. I will always choose a salad or lightly steamed vegetable (never fried) over a casserole or fast food. I will always be that one person to bring a hearty salad to any gathering…or my cinnamon rolls.
I baby my garden like a child, make my own soap, bake my own bread, and prefer the powdery smell of a used paperback to anything digital. Growing up like a whole-grain hippy was commonplace, but once I moved to the South, it became very apparent, that I am definitely the odd one out. The other part of my early childhood was spent living in Daharan, Saudi Arabia; my little sister was born there (can you imagine the fun teasing that allows a big sister?!). Again, I thought that was normal too. Overseas, I got to spend my summers living on the coast of Spain, Winters in Germany, and stints to places like New Zealand.
Cooking up a Storm
I grew up idolizing the PBS persona of Jacque Pepin. As I studied my dream father figure on the TV, along with Julia Child, Yan Can Cook, and Great Chefs of the West, I honed my culinary skills to that of a professionally trained chef. Instead of MTV and 16 Candles, I watched cooking shows, old movies, and musicals. I studied cookbooks and listened to The Beatles endlessly, and I still do the same thing today. My single mother loved nothing more than supporting my culinary experiments especially since that meant she wouldn't have to cook dinner after work. I adore good food, and there is nothing I prefer to do with my spare time than spend it in the kitchen.
Back to The Future
Fast forward many lightyears into the future, I am now married to an Albanian I met whilst attending art school in Florence, Italy. You can read all about that bizarre journey on my (someday it will be a book) personal blog shemarriedalbanian.com. My lovely Italian souvenier and I were married three separate times and never divorced (it's all explained on the blog), and then moved to Las Vegas, Nevada…where all the world's degenerates go to hide. Perfect for starting a family no? Well, we had two beautiful boys in Vegas…jackpot! Now we all live a wonderful near normal life in Franklin, TN. I've worked in everything from a bakery, assisting in special education, selling Andy Warhols at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and being a Realtor, to becoming the Editor of Content and Head Writer for Southern Travel + Lifestyles Magazine - a nationally printed and online travel publication. Whew! What a ride!
Why I Moved
It's hard for me to look back at my family life in Las Vegas. There were just too many signs telling us to go. I saw a shooting out my front door, cop raids in houses nearby (I couldn't call them neighbors because I didn't know them), and search helicopters looking for suspects near our home.
We were living to work and not working to live. Life there didn't support the ideals I wanted so badly for my family. I wanted my boys to have friends living next door, and neighbors who knew them by name. I wanted neighborhood cookouts, I wanted to be able to ride my bike and end up "somewhere," like downtown and not just around a dry ravine. I wanted to be surrounded by green, my parched soul yearned for it. I wanted to see growth not only in a garden that I had only been able to dream about until then, but I wanted that lush growth for my boys. I didn't want my boys to know that strip clubs are common, that slot machines in a gas station or grocery store were the "norm." I wanted them to know that community and impromptu bonfire gatherings in our backyard could be something normal when reflecting back on their childhood.
When we packed up and left, my soul exhaled and I didn't look back. Franklin has been an adventure for me every day. There is not a day that goes by where I don't thank God for answering my prayers and giving our family the second chance of life only He knew we needed.
Our life in Franklin is totally different from the one we left behind and it's encouraging every day.
What I love
I love Franklin, writing, not following recipes in the kitchen, coaching soccer, DIY updating everything in my home, gardening, watching the squirrels outside my window, organizing my succulents, watching DVR PBS, collecting ingredients for my kitchen pantry I'll probably never use, and avoiding folding laundry like the plague.
Enjoy this new venture of mine on DiscoveringFranklin.com. I hope you will uncover a few moments of peace here, relish in a few laughs, and get excited to explore with me as I discover everything there is to love about Franklin, Tennessee.