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10 People You MUST Know When Moving to Knoxville

June 12th International Falafel Day

10 People You MUST Know When Moving to Knoxville

10. It

9. Doesn’t

8. Matter

7. They’re

6. All

5. So

4. Nice

3. Laura Fangman

2. Yassin Terou

1. Dolly Parton

Allow me to explain.

10-4: It doesn’t matter, they’re all so nice. Now, I understand that no one is immune and there are always exceptions -I don’t live in a bubble- but there truly are so many great folks around here! It was one of the first things we noticed, when we were considering our move. General friendliness was our introduction; strangers who looked you in the eye and smiled, people driving by who wave like they know you, the person ahead of you waiting to hold the door open. We were pleasantly surprised, at first but, the longer we were here, the more we accumulated these stories of random kindness.

For instance: on a trip to Target, an employee asked me if I needed help. (As in, I didn’t have to go hunt someone down and feel like I was ruining their life by asking a question, as is the case other places.) Well, I *did* need help and, after I described the product with the same animated explanations and general unhelpfulness normally reserved for my friends at American Automotive, when Kevin asks me why I brought my car in this time, she took me straight to what I needed. (Dry shampoo, don’t judge me) and then told me if I needed anything else, to let her know, she’d be over in the shoe department.

The. Shoe. Department.

People, that’s two departments away from where we were. Now, if I had a dollar for every time someone (read:my kids) asked me a question and my response was, “That’s not my department,” we could have a pretty good Saturday night. Yet, this lady, who could have literally used my line, with a straight face, chose to help me, instead. It’s not an isolated incident. I’m at Target all the time. (I told you not to judge me.) They’re helpful all the time.

That’s just how people around here are. It’s kinda weird at first, but you get used to it.

3. Laura Fangman. This one is really a function of necessity. If you’re moving here, whether sooner, later, buying, renting, whatever -you need help. Professional help, from an experienced Realtor. If you like tacos, we’ll get along fine.

2. Yassin Terou. This guy is peak Knoxville niceness. He owns Yassin’s Falafel House, which is verifiably the nicest place in America. As in, everybody voted, Reader’s Digest made it official, Good Morning America got involved, Robin Roberts came to town …it was a whole thing. It needed to be a whole thing. Mr Terou has a classic story of struggle and triumph and he is pursuing his American Dream, right here in Knoxville. In doing so, he is making our community stronger, by spreading a message of inclusion, providing employment opportunities and keeping us supplied with the friendliest falafel in town. (I’m not actually sure if falafel can be friendly, I just like alliteration.) Make sure you make this one of your first stops, once you get to town.

1.Dolly Parton. There is no margin of error on this one. When you’re moving to Knoxville, TN, you need to know that you now bleed orange, you’re expected to know -and sing- the words to “Rocky Top,” and you must have the unwavering dedication to the understanding that Dolly Parton is a National Treasure. I’ve never seen a set of pearls clutched so fast as the time I heard someone say, “she’s alright and all, but I’m just not that into Dolly.” Perish the thought.

While Dolly Parton is known for her contributions to country music, movies, and her incredible theme park, Dollywood, she is also known for her philanthropy. My very favorite initiative is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, where she supports literacy through a program where she “mails free books to children from birth to age five in participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Republic of Ireland.” Teaching a kid to read is like that “teach a man to fish” analogy, only WAY better. Once they learn to read, there is no limit to the things a kid can learn to do.

Get to know the people in East Tennessee. There’s no limit to what we can do, together.

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