Being new to Trustedhousesitters I chose not to be picky about my first few sits, knowing that the site depends and operates on a reference basis. I was lucky to pick up a few sits pretty quickly after signing up, and would up with a road trip beginning in Nashville. Unfortunately, my best friend moved out of Nashville last year, but I knew I'd have no problem entertaining myself for a week, and the company of Betty White, a big floofy, old white dog didn't sound too bad either. I'm technically working this summer, but it's only 10 hours per week, remote, and unpaid, so the pressure is pretty low which made for the perfect set-up to drive across the country. I'm also digging for motivation to tackle my GRE Prep book this summer, so I figured a big quiet house might help that cause.
The maintenance of this dog was pretty low, feed her in the morning, take a walk after lunch and give her love when she wants it, my kind of dog involvement. Betty is super friendly, or maybe even a bit senile, as she walked right up to me when I entered the house as if she were expecting me. I don't' know if this is part of my curious nature of if I'm just nosey, but I love seeing how other people live, the neighborhood, the home, décor, all of it - and yes I did watch a lot of HGTV and TLC as a kid. I appreciated the simplicity of Betty's home, lots of natural light, and plenty of places for me to set up for working and studying.
Although work was on my agenda, I welcomed the interruption of my friend Brian, who's currently living in Chattanooga for his summer practicum (much more involved than my 10 hours a week musings). He drove over Saturday morning and we took off almost immediately for some nature therapy and a hike through Whites Creek. The afternoon was more chill, a walk with Betty and entirely way too much time devoted to trying to decide on a place for dinner, as is the new norm with the internet, social media and review culture at our disposal. After dinner (which was amazing so A+ to our efforts), I decided to indulge Brian with a walk through the strip, a place I have been, but have no desire to return to. It was still before 8pm when we strolled through downtown, but the drunks were already out in hoards, bars were trying to outplay each other with horrible music, and party buses (trucks, boats and trailers) lined the streets. I'm thankful that Brian didn't make me stay longer, and instead we returned home and watched A Knights Tale, one of many DVD's in the home collection.
Sunday morning, before Brian made the trip back to Chattanooga we decided to wander around downtown, unsure if it was going to rain and not wanting to get stuck in a downpour mid-hike. We unknowingly walked straight into the weekend market, a scene I am always a fan of supporting and love seeing the creativity and drive from small business owners. The second great surprise was the discovery of Deep Sea Vegan, a pop-up in the food hall we went to for lunch, and the businesses of two awesome twin brothers, also makers of delicious vegan seafood creations.
Betty is an old lady and can only handle a walk around the block before she's too tired and ready to be home, but the walks were cool because this neighborhood was filled with character. Every house on the block differed from the one before it, in terms of architectural style, size, décor, landscape and residents. I felt like I saw all walks of life in this neighborhood, which was a much welcome occurrence having come from the suburbs and near cookie cutter homes. Something I hadn't thought of before taking off on this adventure, but quickly revealed itself was the value of living and experiencing different environments. Knowing that I only have one year left in Milwaukee before it's time to choose a new home, it's cool to get some time to compare homes to apartments, cities to suburbs and various degrees of culture, public transportation, food and entertainment. Nashville definitely ticked a few of these boxes, but having my downtown turn into a garbage dump of drunk bachelorettes every weekend is a pretty big mark on the 'con' column.
I feel like this is one of those states that is forgotten, known only for it's most popular city, Nashville. I too never thought it'd be on my list of places I've been but my best friends relocation changed my plans.