Cass to Nash

In a pleasant departure from weekly FaceTime dates, I closed out summer by visiting Mimi, one of my best friends from Israel, in Nashville. If I were half the tourist that I (sometimes) wish I was, this post would be stacked with detailed descriptions of salty/spicy/sticky BBQ meals, a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and wild evenings of live music. Alas, I am ashamed (though not entirely disappointed) to say that I experienced none of these southern trademarks. Instead, Mimi and I poked around Vanderbilt and the city and lounged at her apartment…while talking endlessly about “The Jewish Book of Why”, minimalism, water filtration, and which IKEA shoe rack to buy for her entryway. (Is this what all long-distance best friends do when they visit each other? Please let me know.)

Putting mundane conversations aside, though, I’d like to start by saying that Tennessee was immediately and indubitably FREAKING gorgeous. I had never been to that part of the country, and the airport Lyft ride to Mimi and her boyfriend Cody’s apartment had me smitten: rolling hills, expansive skies, scattered clouds, renovated brick houses, bleached white steeples, and more greenery than my drought-stricken Californian eyes had seen in years. Before even saying hello, my first words to Mimi were, “Wow, it’s surprisingly beautiful here!” (In retrospect, *palm to the face*…I need to get off my high Californian horse more often.)

We spent our first evening catching up while sharing an eggplant doused in tahini with mismatched silverware and steak knives (apparently Vanderbilt Jewish Studies masters students don’t have time to find butter knives for their kitchens). The following morning I accompanied Mimi to her “Social Movements in Modern Jewish Life” course at Vanderbilt. We discussed the intricacies of European antisemitism and class structure, reviewed different forms of Zionism, and explored the privatization of kibbutzim throughout Israeli history. While these topics would bore 99% of people, they fascinated me, and I thoroughly enjoyed nerding out with Mimi, the expert herself!

We rounded out the day with a heated yoga class at a house-turned-studio before driving to Nashville’s factory district to visit one of our favorite clothing brands, Elizabeth Suzann. (Sidenote: Mimi and I have become obsessed with slow fashion, radical transparency, and thoughtful consumption over the past two years…Elizabeth Suzann dominates all three). It was an ABSOLUTE DREAM to meet their employees, tour their workspace, and learn more about their women-owned business.

The rest of the weekend we spent meeting up with friends, grocery shopping, visiting the flea market, having ridiculously long conversations about hemming pants and SquattyPottys, and of course, EATING. While BBQ was not on the menu (Mimi is vegan, and I’m…well…difficult), an array of artsy-fartsy farm-to-table restaurants were. We spent one evening at “Little Octopus,” an Instagram-worthy-interior-decorated restaurant downtown, enjoying coconut-lime ceviche, trumpet mushrooms with tofu sauce, waxed black beans, koji chicken, and wagyu strip steak (an odd, yet absolutely delicious combination). Another day we tested out Eio & the Hive, where I ordered a salmon-kale caesar salad made with almond butter, but forwent the CBD-infused juices and gluten-dairy-nut-free-rabbit-food desserts. Ugh, sometimes I disgust myself with how much I enjoy it all.

After a weekend well spent (and a tummy well fed), Mimi drove me to the airport in the pouring rain Monday morning, and I headed home to start my “cherry on top” of a fifth year at Davis…There is little more to say besides a big todah rabah to Mimi and Cody (for feeding me and letting me sleep at the end of their bed like a dog for four nights) and that short, domestic trips are rad. Nothing beats seeing the people that you adore in their element…so, when in doubt, #buytheflight.

P.S. I promise to eat some darn BBQ next time.



a change of pace

My time abroad has come and gone. If left to my own devices, I’d probably talk about it for eternity. Alas, life goes on. This upcoming year, the big, wild world of possibility will knock on my door louder than ever. And with a spur of motivation and spark of creativity, I’m compelled to answer (and cope) by doing what’s always felt most natural: writing.

In truth, I’ve delayed the metamorphosis of my “abroad blog” into a general blog for months. As therapeutic as writing is, the process is endlessly daunting. And putting words out in the world to be seen, judged, and contemplated by others is petrifying. But yesterday I was sitting at our kitchen counter (simultaneously listening to a Tedx podcast on death, eating leftover branzino, wrangling a ten-week old puppy, and Googling how to have a “life conversation”) when the jolt of inspiration hit me. It was time to take the plunge! Expand my horizon! A $48 yearly subscription (bye-bye WordPress ads), a new name, and a leap of faith later, here I am.

My blog posts will (continue to) be sporadic and infrequent and likely consist of photos from weekend trips to random cities and remote mountaintops, some stories about dogs, audio-recordings of “life conversations” with old/young/cool people, interviews with friends about navigating this weird age, and general ponderings on how scary/wonderful the world is at 22. If any of this remotely interests you, I encourage you to follow along by subscribing in the corner.

For now, I’ll leave you with this picture of Taxi. Because what Monday morning isn’t bettered by a puppy in a bathtub?

So long, “A year from here.” “Earth to Cass” is born.