about More Musing

We are focusing on building a community, bringing the Mortal Muses photographers together, and making the world a bit smaller. On this page, you will find mission: MUSE, muse university and special features.

Friday, October 15, 2010

where i live - knoxville, tennessee, usa

mission: MUSE - "where i live"
by guest muse lydia


I live in Knoxville and spend most of my spare time in the Smokies. It is a gorgeous place, but the move from Europe was a huge culture shock for me. I arrived here from Oxford in the UK. I was born in The Netherlands and lived in a place called Leiden. The Netherlands is one of the most libertarian nations on the planet and Oxford extends incredible intellectual freedom. Oxford is also a very hospitable place where it was very easy to make new and deep friendships. Knoxville is a very friendly place, but making connections to people has been a very slow process for me here. The Smokies have give me solace for being so far away from home and have added balance to my life. 


We found a playground yesterday. You'd be forgiven for thinking this is not noteworthy.  Playgrounds are everywhere right? Well not as far as I have seen in America. There are playgrounds with schools and churches yes. This country however is sadly lacking the local neighbourhood park with playground that you can walk to and meet other parents at and chat while your kids engage in rough and tumble play with other kids.  For a European person, this really is a sad state of affairs. I am so conditioned to the idea that when the sun comes out at the end of a long rainy weekend day you whisk your kids into their coats and out you go for the 5 minute walk to the local playground so your kids get some much needed outside time. Playground equipment behind your own house not only is a needless extra expense for parents, it also does not give the children those much needed negotiating and social interaction skills. If you do buy it, you find that your kids do not get nearly as much out of it as they would get from a weekly visit to the local playground, that sadly for most of us here, does not exist. The playground pictured is a 30 minute drive from my apartment. We will be back.

Go Vols mini!

Knoxville is a football town. You cannot get away from the game. UT games are part of the rhythm of local life here with people wearing orange, attending tailgates (food served from the boot of cars) and talking football all the time.  Some people even give their cars special paint jobs.

Summer Life

The first year I arrived here I remember walking outside in April and nearly dying from the heat. I am after all a northerner accustomed to long cold wet windy winters and extremely short summers.

Here the bulk of the year seems to be taken up by summer with for me very high temperatures. The first year we were here we spend the bulk of our outside time at the pool, as it was the only place we could be outside that was bearable.

The jumpoff

These days I'm so used to the heat that I can go and do a long hike in the mountains during the heat of the day. This was taken from a place called the Jump Off of the Appalachian trail. The hazy view of the Smokies is very characteristic.

Thank you for visiting where I live. Please feel free to visit my flickrstream to see more about my life in Tennessee.

Until next time! Lydia.

We would love to see where you live. 
If you would like to join in, send an email to mortalmuses [at] yahoo.com.


  1. I'm really enjoying this series. Your photos from the smokies are beautiful. I had a bit of a giggle about your experiences with the weather. I recently moved to Germany from Australia and am having the opposite adjustment - trying to cope with long, wet winters with little sun after growing-up with hot summers where you "escape" the heat rather than embrace it.

  2. This was a wonderful insight into the very special *you* !

  3. the photos of the smokies are so pretty.

  4. Lydia's one of the reasons Knoxville is so great.

  5. I really enjoyed reading about your town, I love the pictures.

  6. Thank you so much for the friendly comments! Special thanks to Tammy for adding the links. I produced this piece in a spare moment just before getting consumed with my house move (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/dieirdra/5081224452/) and it didn't get that final polish from me. Luckily Tammy stepped in!

    If you want to see more about Oxford: http://www.oxfordcity.co.uk/

  7. I just returned for nearly a year in Kentucky - and visits to the Smokies and Appalachian mountains were one of my very favorite parts of my time there. Your photos capture it beautifully.

  8. Nice to see your home! Beautiful shots.