Thursday, May 1, 2014

Tennesseek and Ye Shall Find Me In Detroit


The picture above is of my supervisor Jeff just like flaunting how his socks match my shirt. Seriously. Look at him. He is sooooooooo excited that we match in some capacity. Too excited. He demanded we take a picture of it because it was such a dream come true for him. He yelled to everyone in the office to come look at it. All the participants had to see it. What a weirdo. I was very embarrassed, to say the least. It's really weird how important matching can be to people.

All right. I'm filibustering. You caught me. I don't actually want to write another blog or say things that matter to me. I just want to watch another episode of Bates Motel or continue to read the Ron Burgandy autobiography. But I'll write for you anyway. Just for you. Because I love you that much.

You're welcome.

Okay. Enough. Let's play catch up.

Detroit, bab-ay!

I've decided that next year I'm heading back to Michigan to live in the D. Being close to loved ones back home and in Chicago is a plus, but I'm definitely doing it because I feel called to be there. I always hear two things about Detroit:

1.) It's in terrible shape. Don't go there. You'll get murdered because everyone there always is a deprived and deranged killer.

2.) It's being revitalized like crazy.

And that's what I want to be a part of. I definitely want to be there during such an interesting time and contribute something positive. So I'm going to look for some nonprofit jobs there and work more on my writing. See if I can get things published and some plays performed.

More Detroit

My soft spot for the city started in Belfast, strangely enough. People would ask where I'm from and I'd say Michigan. Some people knew what I was talking about and would smile and nod their heads and say "Ah, yes! Mitchigan." (They would always add a "t" to Michigan. Don't ask me why.) Anyway, then there would be people who didn't know Michigan, and so I'd say "It's the state that has Detroit."

That would, without fail, always garner some type of reaction. Someone always felt a particular way about Detroit, or had something to say about it. People from another city. From another country.

I found it a little funny when people from Belfast would look down on Detroit. Detroit is considered by many to be a downtrodden city that completely flopped from its prime instead of aging gracefully, and receives a large amount of negative press on the daily. This negative press puts it in a bad light for the world and doesn't make many people want to visit it.

Sound familiar, Belfast?

Chattanooga, TN
I know this picture is irrelevant to what I am saying in the blog right now, but isn't this just a wonderful view?

Obviously Detroit and Belfast are in different places--and I'm not just talking physically--but I find a lot of parallels between the two. When I'd go to other places in Ireland, everyone had something to say about Belfast, and it was usually negative. People would refer to its riots, paramilitary activity, the tension in the air there, etc. And to a degree, they are right. There are riots, paramilitaries are pushing around a lot of drugs and general crime, you do feel a unique tension in Belfast that I've yet to feel anywhere else.

But I personally know there is a lot more to it, and that a lot of the rude stereotypes said about Belfast aren't true. The people there are lovely, the city itself is unique and beautiful, there are tons of fun things to do, it's very safe, it's near a ton of gorgeous and interesting places, etc. It's like everywhere: there are good things and ugly things. But since Belfast and Detroit have more obvious and dramatic issues, they get pissed on more, which makes me root for them more.

I'm not used to a place like Nashville. Middle-Tennessee is all very thrive-y. It's thriving all over the place! (Control yourself, Middle-Tennessee!) I've lived/worked/been a part of communities and/or places that are dying, or are doing just-kind-of-all-right-could-be-better. But thriving? Never.


It's weird. People want to live here. People move here left and right from all over the country, especially the south. And I definitely get it. Nashville's great! I'm just not used to it. I didn't know what to expect living in a hotspot, so it makes sense that I'm still baffled by it. I never have to stick up for Nashville. Everybody loves it! That's why some people who live in Nashville think I'm crazy for wanting to live in Detroit. "But...everyone is coming here...?" Hahaha!

Jeni's: Best Ice Cream in Nashville or just anywhere period?

Also, everything here is going well. I can finally announce that I get to go to Detroit for the PC(USA) General Assembly this year as a YAV Representative! Wooooooo! I'm so pumped! I've never been to GA before and I can't wait to see what it's like, especially in Detroit. Also, April was a wonderful month that I'll talk about more in another blog, but I got to go to Florida and Lexington, KY. And I got to participate in this:

The Tim & I

I ran the Nashville Half-Marathon! It was awesome! That's me and Tim, a participant at Room In The Inn. I parked there, so after the race I went in and said hello. I ran into Tim. He and a bunch of other participants were really encouraging about how much I ran, so he and I took a picture to capture the moment. It was a good day.

Before I leave this blog, I'd like to share something I wrote for the upcoming Northern Ireland YAV site's 20 year anniversary event. It's not really relevant to this blog at all, but I had to write a brief statement on how my years of service have impacted me and this is what came out:

"Countless places in the world have rough struggles with no end in sight. Being a YAV taught me that God is present in those places, God puts people there that care, and that good things happen even in the bleakest of predicaments. God will always have a plan and I will always have hope."


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