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Changing the routine

The place where I work has a very tumultuous schedule. My boss tries to give us something set in stone, but there are new people cycling in constantly, and my days off are never the same. I may have Monday and Saturday off one week, and that could change to Tuesday and Wednesday the next. And yet, even this small variety feels like a cycle.

Each evening is always a quick exchange of:

“What do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t know… I guess we should run by the grocery store.”

“Want to go on another bike ride tonight?”

“Yeah! Want to watch another episode of that new show tonight?”

“Sure.”

And the things that we do are certainly not dull. Or bad. But they are usually the same. I have come to appreciate routine and constancy. I love coming home at the end of every day to the same person, the same cat, the same kitchen with the same food in the fridge. I could eat (and have eaten) the same breakfast of fried eggs and toast with strawberry jam each morning, with a cup of hot water and lemon to drink.

But there’s also something to be said for changing the pace a little. For trying something new in the evening after another long day at the same job.

The other night, the boyfriend and I went to our local indie movie theatre. They play a lot of movies that don’t run in the popular film circuit (think My Neighbor Totoro over the new Avengers movie), so we try to keep up with the films they’re showing because there’s usually something new we haven’t heard of or something we’ve been meaning to watch that definitely won’t be at the other theatres. We recently watched The Big Sick there and loved it!

So the night before last, we did a quick search and saw the film Lucky was showing, and after reading a brief synopsis and checking Rotten Tomato’s review, we decided to give it a try, and we were not disappointed. It was a sweet film with a very likable main character named Lucky on a journey of spiritual self discovery, grappling with the realities of age and loneliness. It reminded me a lot of my own grandfather, so it was an immediate success with me. With minimal dialogue and no action scenes, it caters more towards someone looking for an introspective film.

Changing our usual evening routine was as simple as picking the movies over a bike ride down our favorite greenway, but I think it made a big difference. The boyfriend and I have both been feeling like our routine had gotten in the way of our own enjoyment, so it was a nice reminder that it doesn’t take a lot to switch things up a little.

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Chattanooga Film Festival

I live in a really great city. I would say I’m a little biased, but I moved here last summer because I already knew it was great. But I am still constantly amazed at how wonderful it actually is. There’s a huge local scene here that values the importance of community and knows what being a neighbor means. I work at a local coffee shop, and I often see our regulars all around town. I walk down the street and pass by countless restaurants that incorporate local food sources in their fare. I pass by shops where the owners sit behind the counters and are always willing to start up conversations with you as you browse through their wares.

This community finds itself located on the Tennessee River, and they have done an amazing job at creating something that feels just like home. As my friend Jenna would say, “It’s the biggest small town I’ve ever lived in.” Most importantly, this town offers an endless supply of opportunities to be involved in, and that, I think, is what makes people stay.

Chattanooga’s annual film festival happened recently, and I was able to attend the Tennessee filmmakers block where the only stipulations were the film either had to be made by a Tennessean or it had to be about Tennessee in some way. I’m sure there were many entries, but in the end, only 10 films were shown. The directors ranged from amateur filmmakers with minimal equipment to old hats with Hollywood ties.

film fest

Each one was different from the one before, but they were all so well done. Some were dialogue based, some visual, and some let the actual plot guide the story.

There was one that had me completely captivated called Persimmon Ridge, directed by Paul Marchard. This one was 20-minute black and white film that followed a woman around her farm through the spring time. There was no speaking, but the sounds of the farm and the surrounding woods gave the film a soundtrack that brought back memories of visits to my own family’s Georgia farm. With its seemingly simple elements, it told a beautiful story of family, history, and hard work.

Another was a mockumentary about a band of two whose only instruments were pillows. And they only played covers. (Get it?) This one had great comedic timing and was a light-hearted addition to the collections of films. You could just tell this film was fun to make, and the director (Sylvia Zdunek) was praised by an audience member for her comedic talent during the Q & A.

A third stand-out called The Little Stage featured a forgotten building sitting on the edge of Bon Aqua, TN. Directed by Will Berry, it showcased some lost footage of Johnny Cash dating back to the 1970’s that showed the importance of this old building. The film follows the restoration of this structure from its decrepit state to its newly refurbished form as a small music hall and museum, paying homage to its former talented guests.

I consider myself lucky when I think about the things I have been able to do and see since I moved here.

Guys, Chattanooga is so great. The people. The mountains. The food. The coffee. Everything. I’m just so glad I get to live in a place like this.