Where to even begin with this place?
I arrived on Easter Sunday and my cousin Kathleen took me over to her friend Nora's house for brunch. I felt like I was stepping into a Kentucky Derby party. Everyone there was dressed so nicely- sun dresses, pearls... and I had the choice of a mint julep or mimosa to drink. Nora cooked everyone lamb while wearing pink high heels.
Everyone was so sweet and welcoming. Southern charm and hospitality sure have stuck around Memphis and I felt like I knew these girls already.
"Today is the best day EVERRRR" -Lappy
All of Kath's friends are employed through Teach for America. TFA is a 2 year program for recent college graduates to earn a teaching certificate while working in a poverty level school. I have so much respect for what they do.
The students in Memphis have it pretty rough. It's impossible to ignore the huge economic and education gap here and all of the issues that don't seem to be improving very much, if at all, because of it. Stories of neglect, physical and sexual abuse, abandonment, and mostly how the system has failed these kids completely, break my heart. I can't imagine having to go through what they face on a daily basis.
After visiting Kathleen's classroom we went to the Civil Rights Museum downtown, where Martin Luther King Jr was shot. It was a pretty heavy day. This area and city are obviously still very much affected by America's appalling and violent history of racism. I will never forget those sweet kids in her 1st grade and I sure hope they somehow beat the odds stacked against them.
Tuesday I woke up and visited Graceland. When I walked in one woman was crying. Everything in the mansion is almost exactly as Elvis left it... it's one of those places you just have to see.
Even though it has it's problems I loved this city and could live there in a heartbeat. Huge thank you to Kathleen and her wonderful friends for showing me such a great time.