Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My homecoming trip to Nashville is one that I've been putting off for (get ready for it) a year and five months. I've tried several times to put to words my feelings about a town I used to feel great attachment towards, and I just can't. In short, I felt as though my post-college plans and life were hijacked by group of people I was eager to leave behind. A city that once represented new beginnings quickly fell victim to personifying regression.

Regardless, Thursday morning acted as the catalyst to my overdue return.

It was also a red letter day for another reason: we were woken at 3:30 in the morning to catch our 6:00 am flight. Somehow, we made it there a bit early and took off just in time to see the sun rise.

Upon our arrival, we were met by one of my dearest friends Edwin, who also happens to be my personal airport chauffeur each and every time I land in Tennessee. We ventured out to Joy Mansion, where his work space is set up. It's a cool place that serves a million uses -- recording studio, offices, and plenty of couches to nap on. If you live in Nashville, chances are you know someone who works here.

We went back to Darien's house -- which will mark the first time I've ever been to my own boyfriend's home. However, before the Internet scoffs at how unsupportive of a girlfriend I am, his touring schedule and traveling lifestyle land him in Los Angeles often enough where I truly haven't needed to venture far out of California to make our relationship thrive. So, chill.

Fast forward to that evening, where we met up with some friends of mine at a bar. Within hours, the cigarette smoke in the air enabled my weakened immune system to develop a striking case of bronchitis. I was then bed-ridden for the rest of the evening, with no voice or will to live.

Darien had to work on a show downtown the next morning, so I spent the day with friends around town until he stole me away around 4:00. We ate Thai food at a place Darien boasted to have seen Jack White previously. If I looked surprised, it was because I couldn't believe I was eating decent Thai food in the South. Through my coughing and sneezing and hoarse voice, we decided to go spend some money at Target to re-decorate his room. A flat screen TV and red shag rug later, my throat was on fire and I went to sleep.

Saturday morning was the same with Darien needing to set up a show. Although instead of roughing it and venturing out of bed, I stayed and christened our new flat screen with an America's Next Top Model marathon. He dragged me out of bed around 2:00 so we could take a journey down to Franklin for their annual pumpkin festival. We parked along residentials covered in unique holiday decor. Franklin seems to take Halloween very seriously -- it is a small, wealthy town with a Southern charm and just 15 miles outside of the city. I'll go ahead and say it here: when I move back to that part of the country, I will most likely try to settle in Franklin.

After walking through the vendors at the festival, we decided to drive out to Leipers Fork -- a miniscule town a few miles down the road. We passed a few mansions-in-progress and actually broke into one to look around. We conjectured that the homes were being built pre-flood, and production halted. Overall, the homes were completely finished sans a few light fixtures needing to be bolted to the walls.
We then visited a few shops in town, art galleries, and walked through some of the neighborhood. After the dosage of culture, the sun was setting and we chose to head back into town for special dinner reservations. Darien chose to treat me to the Park Cafe, which was a huge house that had been converted into a fine dining experience. Bedrooms were now decorated with small tables and low lighting. The entire experience was interesting and the food was incredible. We stuffed ourselves on a three-cheese souffle, steaks, and potato raviolis.

After dinner, I listened to a heartbreaking voicemail from the family I work for, letting me know Deuce, the two-month-old English Bulldog we'd been raising, had passed away. I was in shock. He had been suffering from pneumonia for a week, but as far as we could tell (and with proper medical treatment) he had recovered. Just two days after I landed in Tennessee, the doctors think something either bit him, or he ingested something that sent him into anaphylactic shock. His lungs filled up with blood and within a half hour, he died.

We finished the night with drinks and laughs at Melrose -- a comfy bar that seemed to lack its typical Saturday night crowd.

Sunday morning included breakfast in bed, a quick trip downtown to pick up some honky tonk gifts for family, and some time spent in East Nashville, the area where I spent the majority of my Nashville experiences the past several years.