Officially two weeks now I will be starting my 30 hour journey back to the great state of Kentucky and ending my biggest adventure yet. I grew up in Kentucky and call Louisville, in a sense of the word, home since that’s where my family and cats reside. But to me home is more than just where your family and pets are, it is where you are genuinely in love with your city and do not dread going back. It is a place where you can find yourself and never get tired of exploring. Even though I went to school in Knoxville, TN for a year and a half, I always regretted returning to Louisville because a vast majority of my college friends in Tennessee. When people asked me about Louisville and Kentucky I went as far as to say that I hated it. I guess it took me nearly 10,000 miles to figure out that my family and cats are not the only things drawing me back to Louisville. It took me exploring a new part of the world, meeting new people, and exploring so many different cultures to realize that I didn’t hate Louisville or Kentucky. Rather, I never fully appreciated where I lived since being only three and a half hours away for the past year and a half gave me the chance to go back every few weeks or so. While in Australia I have missed my favorite time of the year to be a Kentuckian, Derby and all the festivities surrounding it. So with this, I have made a list of what I miss the most about Louisville and Kentucky.
This one is obviously a given since I have not seen my family and cats in nearly three and a half months. I always forget to tell my family how much I actually do miss them whenever we are facetiming, but I cannot wait to give them all a giant bear hug once I get home. I also miss all the craziness and drama that accompanies my family at all times. With my family there is never a dull moment as something is always happening. As well, I am sure my five cats are missing me (annoying them) immensely.
The past two years I have attended the Oaks, which takes place at Churchill Downs the day before Derby every year. We always go to the infield, since that’s where the real party takes place, and spend all day watching and betting on the races, getting sunburned, and eating overpriced Derby food. Although Oaks is quite fun, the events during April and May leading up to Derby weekend are what I really miss. The Chow Wagon, Pegasus pins, the hot air balloon race, and Thunder Over Louisville are some of the most notable events, just to name a few. Of course the events are not just what makes the Kentucky Derby Festival memorable, it is also the people. Over 150,000 people attend the Derby alone, with most of them being out-of-towners. It is always interesting to see the types of people wandering around Louisville trying to make the most out of their Derby weekend and doing all the cliché things.
While there are a multitude of local restaurants that I frequent here in Australia, none of them can compare to all of the ones in Louisville. More so, Louisville is constantly rated as one of the best cities for foodies. From the Comfy Cow to Jack Fry’s to Wild Eggs, Louisville has some great local restaurants. Personally my favorite is the Comfy Cow. If you are ever in Louisville or visiting their new store in Brentwood, TN, make sure to get a scoop of the bourbon ball ice cream and taste a little bit of hometown glory.
The Quirky Bits
Louisville is quite the odd town, even our slogan is Keep Louisville Weird. From that weird part on the Gene Snyder that uses kilometers instead of miles to the random Derby clock in the middle of downtown to Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville is chock full of the weirdest odds and ends. If you ever get a chance to visit make sure to visit the Big Four bridge that is now turned into a walking bridge and has a great view of the skyline, Presentation Academy which is the oldest school in Louisville and is still in the building that was built in 1893, and the largest baseball bat in the world at the Louisville Slugger Museum.
Everyone you meet that’s from Louisville or Kentucky has an insane sense of pride in where they come from. Just the other day I saw a post on Facebook about a catfish in a public restroom and how Kentucky is the only rational place for this to actually occur. State pride runs deep. Although I was not born in Kentucky I do have the immense pleasure of saying that Kentucky is home. Although I am returning home for the majority of the summer, my time in Kentucky is coming to a close as I will be attending college in a completely new state soon that is even farther away than Tennessee. I will always try to come back as much as I can but for now, Louisville is home and I will always be a Kentucky girl at heart.