Sunday, September 25, 2005

Leaving Nashvegas

I have noticed that some ex-pats seem to have spent the last few months in their home city paying homage in some way – favorite museums, restaurants, parks, etc. – and that they made a conscious effort to say goodbye to their home before leaving.

But not me. I spent the last months working, packing, and stressing about the big move. I spent time with family and friends, but I ignored Nashville. I ignored Centennial Park, I forgot about the Riverfront, I drove through Music Row without a care. I didn’t spend time looking out my windows and remembering my town. I drove around the city streets, oblivious to the fact that I would soon no longer pass these well-travelled routes. These were pictures I’d seen for over 20 years, why did I need to look again?

I’ve said before, I had what you might call a love/hate relationship with Nashville. I spent the most formative years of my life there. It was a city I refused to leave to go to college. It was a city I tried to leave for years, for various reasons. I spent so much of my time thinking I hated it there, I couldn’t appreciate what character Nashville had, in fact, I saw it as a soulless city, part of the music business machine, without any real love for the musicians who fostered its reputation. Nashville couldn’t seem to breed a culture of it’s own, it was a city that simply…existed.

Despite my seething hatred for Nashville, I often enjoyed what the city had to offer: Shakespeare in the Park, Radnor Lake, live music, good restaurants. But these were simply by-products of life in Nashville, these weren’t things that made Nashville a good place to live, or so I thought.

The last week leading up to my departure was extremely busy. There wasn’t enough time to do the things that needed to be done. I slept every night in horror that something, somehow, would be forgotten, lost forever.

Finally, I was on the plane headed for Detroit, it would take three flights to get us to Athens. The cats were safely on board, all our luggage had managed to fit, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was all over, and everything was done.

As the plane started moving down the runway, I had a last minute fear that something had been left behind. As the plane started to take off, I looked out the window, and realized, I had left something behind. My city. The place that had been my home for the best and worst years of my life. As I watched the city disappear beneath me in a swirl of clouds, I began to cry. Nashville was gone. I didn’t know when, or if, I would return. As the plane kept going higher, farther away, I finally realized that Nashville was the city I loved. It was home.


wandering-woman said...

Beautifully said.

Stella said...

This is great! Oddly enough, I could've written the same exact words just last night.

I left Nashvegas, as well, and headed for Hollywood, following my dreams. And although I look ahead with great anticipation, I am going to miss my home of fourteen years (that I too, had a love/hate relationship with) and my family more than anything.

Good luck to you in Greece. As I said on NIT, there is a time for everything and that time is now. You'll look back on this as being one of the best adventures of your life. I'm sure of it.