The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is a beautiful campus. Most of the buildings, with an exception of a few modern ones, are brick with gorgeous details. It looks quite like Hogwarts.
The art building is in the middle of renovations, with an expected completion date in a year and a half, so Derek and his colleagues are in a temporary setting, the Collins Annex. It’s at the edge of campus, and interestingly enough, there is a Confederate Cemetery right across the street.
I have spent the last week in Chattanooga. It was good to be back with Derek for a full week, and not have most of our time taken up by unpacking, which left more time for exploring.
The reason for my visit was twofold – of course I wanted to see Derek, because we had been apart for three weeks, but then I also set up a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of communication and marketing at UTC, and I registered for a job fair. I was trying to be productive in finding a job.
Unfortunately, nothing panned out. I knew that there were no positions available at the university to begin with, but it was still disappointing to hear that confirmed. The job fair was disappointing. I was in and out in 15 minutes. There were only 12 companies represented, and only one of them was looking for “resume writers.” I went to them first, feeling hopeful. The website that the job fair was listed on said “interviews and hiring on the spot.” Maybe I could land this job? Maybe not. The man barely looked at my resume, handed me a pamphlet about the company, and told me to check them out online. I felt pushed aside. I guess job fairs don’t really fit into this type of world anymore. I’ll stick with searching online for now.
Regardless, it was good to be here, and it was good to get those things done. I can’t say I’m not trying.
I worked remotely for my job in Houston for the week, from our home office computer. I shifted my hours a little later than usual so I was working when Derek was working. He teaches two night classes. One of the nights I went to campus with him and worked from the campus library. We spent the mornings together going out to breakfast, watching movies, and setting up the apartment a little more each day.
We checked out a few coffee shops and restaurants together, as well as a bakery. We went to City Cafe, which is a 50s style diner. The place was packed, which told us it was a good, popular place. I ordered Greek food: stuffed grape leaves, salad and pita bread, thinking it would be a light meal. The plates of food were enormous!
We wandered the Riverfront one afternoon and came across a Naval ship on display. We also saw the Trail of Tears fountain. We also stumbled across a little flea market.
I’m going back to Houston tomorrow and I truly feel stuck between two states. I am glad that there will only be 11 days more until I can drive home to Chattanooga for good.
I’m back tracking a bit with this post. I had originally wrote this entry in the beginning of August, and I wanted to wait to post this.
Derek moved to Chattanooga on Wednesday, July 31, and somehow, everything worked out in a way that I was able to go with him, and help him get settled in.
In the middle of July, I applied for a copywriting position. The position opened up on a Friday, and I applied for it on Saturday. They contacted me on Monday. I had an initial screening interview. Then I settled in for an unknown waiting period.
I was just starting to think that maybe they didn’t think I was good enough for an in-person interview, when they got back to me with hours to spare.
Derek and I were up early, out to breakfast at one of our favorite places. The time difference was on our side. It was 8 a.m. in Tennessee, and 7 a.m. in Houston. I got an email saying they wanted to see me for an in-person interview.
We scheduled an interview for Friday afternoon. I called my boss in Houston at 7:30 a.m. to tell him that yes, I was going to Chattanooga that day. It’s okay, he knew it was a possibility, and he and my coworkers had planned for it.
So, to reiterate, I got the email at 7:15 a.m., and we left at 9:30 a.m. Derek loaded up the last few things into the truck and I quickly packed a duffle bag.
I drove our one car while Derek drove the truck and towed the second car on a trailer. It was a long 12 hour drive, made longer by having to tend to cats in the car, and Derek not being able to drive the speed limit with a large load.
We arrived in Chattanooga at 1:50 a.m., and I felt like I was arriving home. We crossed over the Tennessee River and we could see the other bridges all light up, with the lights reflecting in the water. It was beautiful. And we didn’t even get to see the mountains all around us yet because it was nighttime.
Our apartment is nice, and an upgrade from what we have in Houston. It is bigger, and townhome style with two floors. It’s also cheaper too. That’s the nice perk of moving to a smaller city.
I was in Chattanooga for three full days, and we packed them in full (and unpacked as well, ha.)
We visited the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga campus, and got to see where Derek’s office is and meet his colleagues. They were all nice and welcoming. The campus is beautiful too.
We also drove around a bit and got the lay of the land. We found the local grocery store, Walmart and tons of restaurants and coffee shops to check out in the future. We live north of the city proper, but Derek will still have an easy commute. Everything is a quick drive away.
We found a coffee shop that we both liked, called Milk&Honey. After eating there, we checked out nearby Coolidge Park, which is is a large green area on the banks of the Tennessee River. There is also a carousel in the park! We also checked out a couple of stores and found an ice cream shop. This was all in a neighborhood called Northshore.
On our last night together, we were coming home from shopping and Derek took a back road the last few miles home. It was heavily wooded, and the homes back there were gorgeous. On one front lawn we saw a deer and two babies. I thought, “Welcome home.”
By the time I left on Sunday morning, almost everything was in place, aside from things in the second bedroom, which is to be the office, and wall hangings, which Derek can get to in his own time.
As of today (August 21st) I am still waiting to hear if I got the job. I followed up earlier this week and they told me they are still in the process of interviewing candidates.
I am happy that it worked out this way though, even if the outcome ends up not being what I hoped for. It allowed me to come out and help with the moving process. While I am in Houston, I can picture where Derek is, both at home and at work. This also made the total separation only 38 days and not 42. And now we’re down to 22 days!
My husband Derek got a job as a full-time lecturer of graphic design at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, so we’re moving!
Derek had three applications out, one to Chattanooga, and two others
in the Houston area. He made it to the second round of interviews for
all three positions. I’m proud of him.
The other two jobs did not work out, and staying in Houston certainly
would have been easier, but we are both happy with this outcome.
For as long as I can remember, I have said that I would like to live in Tennessee, and now that’s happening.
I can’t speak for Derek much, but Chattanooga seems like the perfect place for me.
I am glad that Chattanooga is still south enough that the winters are mild, but there will be more variation in the seasons now. I am most excited to see some decent fall foliage. Chattanooga is nicknamed Scenic City, and what could be more perfect for someone who loves the outdoors?
There was also a series of Civil War battles in the area during the
Chattanooga campaign, in Oct-Nov. of 1863. As a Civil War buff, I am
excited to get to explore these places.
Chattanooga is a travel hub, being close to many different cities. Atlanta, Huntsville, Knoxville and Nashville are all about two hours away. I am looking forward to exploring a new and wide area of the country.
I also love trains, and seeing the Chattanooga Choo Choo is top on my list. Not to mention the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and their excursion trips.
We are originally from Pennsylvania (where we went to college, met and married) and of the things that I miss the most about that area is the mountains. Chattanooga is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and one of the Civil War Battles occurred on nearby Lookout Mountain. I will be happy to have this scenery again.
There is a Riverfront area – the Tennessee River flows through
Chattanooga – with farmers markets, restaurants, parks, a pedestrian
bridge, kayak rentals and summer concerts.
Yes, I think I will like it there.
I know that Derek will like the fact that Chattanooga has the fastest internet in the United States and at an affordable price too. Chattanooga is also the first city to have its own typeface – an interesting fact for someone who loves typography.
I will definitely miss Houston, but knowing that I will like Chattanooga makes it easier to say goodbye.
There is a lot that we did not get to do in Texas. Unfortunately, there was not enough money, and not enough time. Perhaps we can come back for a visit someday.
Hopefully this will be remedied, with us having two incomes, and Derek not having to work on his master’s thesis on the weekends anymore. Plus, we hope to stay in Chattanooga for longer as well. We were in Houston for three years, for the duration of Derek’s master program.
Derek left on July 31st. He took mostly everything, including the cats, with him in a rental truck, and towed one of the cars behind it. I have been sleeping on a cot in an empty apartment.
We had to sign a 60 day vacate notice, and because we had little notice ourselves, this means we have our apartment in Houston until Sept 12.
If I can’t find a job before then, I will keep working at the Houston Chronicle, where I am a production editor, up until that date. I have been applying for jobs, but so far no luck. I do hope that we do not have to be separated for the full amount of time.
My name is Rebecca, and my husband’s name is Derek. We have spent the last three years in Houston, Texas, while Derek pursued a master of fine arts degree in graphic design at the University of Houston. Before that, we met and married in rural Tioga County, Pennsylvania, where we also received our undergraduate degrees at Mansfield University.
Derek is a full-time lecturer of graphic design at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
We are both excited to explore our new home, Chattanooga. We
are an adventurous couple, always finding something to do on the weekends. Neither
of us had ever been to Tennessee before this opportunity.
Follow us as we see what the Scenic City, and surrounding areas, has to offer!