This has been the most asked question I’ve received these last 6 months: “Why Memphis, Khrystal?
Why would you want to leave a high-functioning school, where students, families, and teachers love you so much? You don’t know anyone in Memphis, so why would you even think of moving there?” Or my all-time favorite: “It’s so dangerous there, why would you want to live there by yourself?” As if coming from an urban-city school in Oakland, CA was so much safer. It definitely hasn’t been an easy question to answer. For the sake of short conversations, a few responses included “The food – duh!” or “To fully experience the southern hospitality, the irrefutable value in the cost of living, for a slower paced lifestyle away from the large city life, or just to try something different outside of California.” I guess all of those responses are part of the larger umbrella to my “Why Memphis?” answer. I was going into my fifth year of teaching, I just turned 30, and had this steaming geyser inside of me waiting and yearning for a new challenge and growth opportunities that Memphis was opening up for me – growth in my teaching practice, spiritual life, and with myself. How was I supposed to calm that drive and desire? Only way I knew how was to see what Memphis had for me.
The past 6 months have been one of the most emotional and toughest times of my life, thus far. Deciding to leave my babies (students), family, dearest friends, all the routines, familiarities, and a huge part of me in The Bay Area made it more exciting and thrilling to move to a completely new place where none of the above existed. Memphis is my blank canvas. I hope that it develops to be a place where I can build new relationships, learn from new challenges, create new experiences, and fall in love with this humbling city. Has it been easy? Absolutely not! From the outrageously late movers, to the joining of a school 3 times the size of my last school, and to the sporadic homesickness from my mom’s cooking, I can safely say that I have brutally yanked myself from my comfort zone and catapulted myself hundreds of miles away from everything I know. Do I regret it? Most of the time, I can safely say no. Other times, I think about the life I chose to leave behind and what it means for me to build a life in Memphis.