Looking back, I was a wanderlust kid living in Wrigglyville, (a neighborhood inside Chicago) working at a classic rock station called, 97.1FM The Drive and working as a bartender/ karaoke host at a real shit hole Irish bar that I secretly adore in Lincoln Park (also another neighborhood inside Chicago, very old school part of town).  Living the big city life with a great group of friends and support system. I lived with my best friends, drank with my best friends and did a lot of illegal things with those best friends. It was my gang, my tribe, my people. Looking back, I miss those moments and experiences we all had made together, it gives me euphoria just thinking about it.

Time passed, seasons got colder and I became restless in a city that I knew better than the back of my hand.

Some say, change is inevitable and impossible to fight, and they're damn right about that. I was scrolling the radio job boards and I found this cool little alt station in the middle of nowhere. So I submitted an application, three weeks later I was hired.

There I was, at O'Hare airport a year ago on this date, a balmy 35 degrees, leaving the city I knew and loved.

Arriving in Birmingham, I was greeted by my new boss and future best friend. The ride to Tuscaloosa was quick, lots of small talk and she let me in on the southern lingo and do's and dont's down south.

Living here in Tuscaloosa, I've learned 8 things:

  1. A stranger will be a friend sometime soon.
  2. Never say War Eagle.
  3. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  4. "Roll Tide" means anything you want it to mean.
  5. Try not to be a jerk, it's a small town, people talk.
  6. People gossip like it's their job down here.
  7. BBQ is king.
  8. People drive so damn slow.

The city itself is beautiful, most tree's I've ever seen in my life, rolling hills, a stunning river that cuts this town in two like a knife. It's like a time machine has taken me back to the 1970's where things were more simple and enjoyable. People here are genuine, loving, accepting and true and honest story tellers. I feel like I've made my family down here and that's something I wouldn't have expected to have only lived a year here. Tuscaloosa has made me a more genuine person with a bigger heart. I feel welcomed here and I love it.

Thanks for everyone who has made feel at home 800 miles away from my real one. Tuscaloosa will forever be my home away from home.

Roll Damn Tide.

-TAB