Time and place are a funny thing. That odd feeling that days are long but years are short. That when you watch a pot starting to boil it takes hours but the moment you occupy yourself with something else it’s suddenly boiling. And now that odd feeling that I moved in yesterday to the Memphis College of Art dorms, but realizing I’ve actually been a part of the TI Fellowship for over two weeks. Two excitement filled, activity packed weeks that are probably the reason the time has flown by.
As a fellowship, we have been taking full advantage of Memphis, not only through the Fellowship programming but also on our own. As for programming, we recently attended Underground Shabbat, where ConnectTI lead a wonderful service followed by Memphis famous Ricki’s Challah. YUM. Throughout the service we read quotes of wisdom, the crowd favorite being “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky” – Michel Scott, The Office. As a group, we’ve met after-work for workouts at the JCC, we have walked together to the Levitt Shell for free music, and we have had many nights out enjoying local music and each other’s company at Lafayette’s Music Room. A few things we are looking forward to at the end of the week and into next week include a tour of the Church Health Center, a cocktail hour hosted by Elkan and Laurie Scheidt, and a late night tour of the FedEx Hub.
The TI Fellowship has given me the opportunity to experience the place I call home in a different way. As a young Jewish professional living independently in Midtown, the heart of Memphis, I have already learned a lot about this city and myself. For myself, I’ve learned that I like waking up in the morning with enough time to make a full breakfast (the most important meal of the day), I love working in Marketing and Advertising (shout out to my super cool internship, Sullivan Branding), and I can see myself living in Memphis (something I never thought would happen). I have taken some steps back to look at Memphis, my home, and appreciate the small things that make it so special.
It really is the small things that make us appreciate something, it never really is the big things. Ya, we can root for the Grizzlies, and have pride in our city’s BBQ. But it’s not the Grizzlies team as a whole that makes Memphis so special to someone, it’s smaller, specific experiences you remember having at a game at the FedEx Forum or watching at home with friends. It’s the small moments that make you stop and smile just for a second to realize this place really is special. It’s having havdalah on a rooftop downtown looking at the mighty Mississippi, it’s watching the sunset at the Levitt Shell while sharing a blanket with your best friend, and it’s a simple trip to the Paradiso movie theatre with a walk to YOLO afterwards. These are the moments that shape this city into home and make me look to the bright future this city has for me and make me look to the bright future this city has for me and other young Jewish professionals alike.
As the rest of the fellows and I came into week two, we began to find our place in this foreign city. The work schedules became routine, the lunch spots became favorites, and the fellows became neighbors. This week we had our first networking event with the New Memphis Institute. Having already had a first rate network training during orientation, we were set to make contacts. As the night wore on we felt that the only contacts we would have is the fellows we already knew. However, by the end, a few of us interacted with a guy that just moved here from Florida and was Jewish, looking for some familiar faces. We’ve spent many evenings over food and drinks with him since. I would say our networking was a success!
We’ve also found a little weekly fun in Overton square. In week one, several of us wanted to watch the US soccer game. So we walked to Huey’s and enjoyed the game and a burger. After a few hours of sitting around, we realized that trivia was beginning. We decide to play and we’ve gone ever since. It’s become a great highlight to midweek. Also, we win a gift card every week we win. We’ve been banking the cards for a nice end of summer dinner.
As we came to the end of the week, we began Shabbat with fellows and ConnecTI. That night we explored the city and ended by at Aldo’s pizza with some fellows and new friends. As we set around that table, I began to think of the many different people and walks of life that were all around. Many were from different states, walks of life, upbringings, ect. It brought me back to a quote I ran a across early this week in my readings. “And man is under the duty to express his individuality. For bearing the divine image, he bears it uniquely. No one in all the world exactly duplicates him. Therefore he is obligated to discover and develop his uniqueness. Otherwise, to all eternity some aspect of the divine nature shall have been left latent and unfulfilled” (Milton Steinberg). Everyone in the fellowship is very different. We all bring something new to the table, to Memphis, and more importantly the world. The more I get to know the fellows, the more I see the way we express ourselves and interact with this beautiful city.