Fiery and brown, leaves and trees lining the sidewalks. A charming little coffeehouse tucked inside an old historic home. Sunset setting the gray skies on fire. An elderly couple to my left and a group of twenty-somethings to my right, all enjoying each other’s company and taking time to just be. People working, learning, creating everywhere around me.

I love my city.

After living half an hour away for the past 5 years, being able to call Chattanooga home just feels right. It’s the perfect city for me right now: not too big, not too small. Modern, but moves at a pace that is just. slow. enough. Outdoorsy, creative, and in the mountains. It’s familiar and close to the people I love, but far enough way that it still feels new, independent, mine. It feels like me. It feels like home.

There is only a month left in this year, and I can’t help but be relieved. It has been one heck of a year, full of work and planning and lots of changes. All good things, but between getting married and working to finish my masters degree, I am in desperate need of a break. My thesis is due in less than one week and I defend it in less than two. Graduation is only three short weeks away, but it still feels so out of reach. I am progressing, but the amount I have left to finish feels so overwhelming.

But today, I’ve found a little corner of peace amidst the crazy. I’m supposed to be working, but something about today makes me want to rest, to embrace the slower pace around me. The slow picking of guitar through my headphones, the coziness, the smell and taste of coffee, the sunset. I just want to be here.

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