Monday, May 12, 2008

Things That Are My Favorite About Memphis

Also known as: Why Memphis is Starting to Grow on Me OR Reasons I'm Happy I've Decided to Stay In Memphis

Well, much to everyone's surprise (including my own), I've decided to stay in Memphis for another year. Earlier in 2008, I went through the process of applying for post-doctoral fellowships. For those not in psychology, this is somewhat akin to a medical fellowship (with my current internship being sort of like residency). Although I will officially be Dr. Butzon on August 2, 2008 (Can you believe that?! I can't.), I will not be able to become a licensed psychologist in most states without some additional supervised work experience. In other words, most states aren't quite ready to unleash me on the unsuspecting public quite yet. Thus, I had to apply for a post-doctoral position to gain additional experience. I applied to several great places, and I received interviews and job offers from some of my top picks. Among them, I was offered a position with Emory in Atlanta (at the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Clinic/Maternal Substance Abuse Program at the Marcus Institute). Now, everyone (and I mean everyone) was sure I would take this position because (a) it's closer to home (i.e., family), (b) it's Emory, and (c) it's not Memphis. BUT, I was also offered a position at the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities in Memphis. This is the place where I've gotten my feet wet with a type of therapy I've been interested in for years (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, aka PCIT). Staying at the Boling Center would not only allow me to get much more experience in PCIT, but would also allow me to train some other folks in this type of therapy (which would allow me to train people on my own when I'm a "real" psychologist). In addition to the rockin' PCIT, I'd also get great assessment experience at the Boling Center, particularly with young kids and kids with suspected developmental disabilities. So...after much stress and debate, I decided to stay in Memphis for my post-doc. This means that I will be in the Blues City until at least August 2009. However, given the list below, I'm not yet packing my bags for my exodus.

So, without further delay, my favorite things about Memphis:
  1. Memphis in May: For this one I don't just mean the great month of festivals that take place every year in May (although my experience with them so far has been quite wonderful). The weather in Memphis this May has been phenomenal, and it makes me just want to be outside. Spring is one of my favorite seasons, and I think May will take the cake for my favorite spring-time month this year.
  2. Central BBQ: Amazing barbeque! The ribs are delicious, pulled pork to-die-for, and the homemade potato chips are terrific. This is just a great place to go for lunch, dinner...whatever. (Plus, the smell of the smoker outside is enough to make your full belly yearn for more delicious pork.)
  3. Good BBQ in general: Now, I'm a true Southern girl, so I'm kind of particular about my bbq. I don't get into the arguments of dry vs. wet, vinegar-based vs. ketchup/other-based (although in SC the bbq is mustard-based), I just love good pork barbeque. Thankfully there is plenty to be had in Memphis. I don't know what I'd do if I moved some place that didn't have good barbeque and sweet tea.
  4. Good food in general: And while we're on the topic of my stomach, let me just say that Memphis has some truly delicious food. At first, I was disappointed because I wanted food that was familiar (like some Barberito's tacos or Cups coffee or Big City Bread raspberry muffins). However, once I gave Memphis the chance to show me her own take on the culinary arts, I have not been disappointed. I've had great sushi, awesome steaks, delicious fish, and even killer muffins (at the VA, no less!) all in Memphis.
  5. Walking along the Mississippi: Can you think of anything cooler than walking your dog along the Mississippi River as the sun is setting over Arkansas? It's pretty great.
  6. Interstate commerce: Given Memphis's proximity to Arkansas and Mississippi, it is sometimes necessary to go out-of-state to do my shopping. I still think it's quite funny to head over the river or go south into Mississippi to go to Wal-Mart or the pet store.
  7. Living downtown and walking to all sorts of fun places: Now, unfortunately, I'll be moving out of my prime location downtown in a few weeks. However, I've loved living within walking distance to the Peabody, Beale Street, the Mississippi River, and great restaurants. I'm excited to move to a bigger place in Midtown, but I have certainly loved living downtown.
  8. Not having to follow the speed limit: One positive aspect of both #1 and #2 of the "Why I Hate Memphis" post is that, with all the bad drivers and crime going on, cops really have more important things to do than pull me over for speeding. I mean, I don't drive insanely fast, but I don't even bat an eye going 10 mph over the speed limit on the highway.
  9. No state income tax: For folks who pay taxes, it is nice to have that little bit of extra that you're not giving to the government.
  10. Living in the past (aka-Central time): I still get a kick out of the fact that I'm an hour behind most of my friends and family "back east." I love leaving messages saying "It's five o'clock my time, six o'clock your time." I enjoy staying up to watch the evening news and a little late-night TV and still going to bed at 11:00. The downside: I don't always make it home in time for the six o'clock news because it comes on at five.
  11. Great music: I mean, the home of the Blues and Elvis Presley?! As one of my friends often says, even mediocre musicians in Memphis would be considered great musicians anywhere else.
  12. Nice places to run and workout: I'm so happy to have a great Y downtown where I can workout and train. And running around downtown and Mud Island is wonderful! Now, I have to admit that the Memphis facilities can't hold a candle to the Ramsey Center at UGA, but could any place really do that? I don't think so.
  13. The wonderful people I have met here: Save the best for last. This really is my favorite thing about Memphis. I've met some great people here, and I am so thankful for that. I think about what life might have been like if I'd taken the post-doc in Atlanta. Sure, I'd be much closer to the amazing friends that I have back in GA/SC/NC. Sure, I'd still have met great people here. However, I wouldn't be able to put in the time and effort into truly getting to know the people here on more than a superficial level. I feel that there is most definitely a purpose for me staying in Memphis, and this last "favorite" thing could be a big part of that.